Friday, July 30, 2010

Mac Books and Distractions

First of all, I am typing from my kick ass new get up: my new Mac Book.

My old computer had a good run.

It had been a gift from some friends of ours before Chris left for Iraq. He took it to the desert, used it over there, schlepped it back and forth several times and eventually gave it to me.

Chris' gizmos that he no longer has any need for (i.e. he buys the "newer" and "better" versions) always are passed on to me. I am the sloppy-second-picker-upper in our fam.

The PC predictably began to have issues shortly after it became mine.

It regularly overheated and shut off and was maddening to me, as you can well imagine. I went through about a half a dozen cooling pads I bought off of Ebay, all which broke after an average of one week.

Then, Maggie got a hold of it and flicked off every single key off the keyboard. If it wasn't completely jacked up before then, it was after that point.

The panic began to set in about my Itunes account and my pictures, as it usually does. No one wants to lose precious mementos of their children's births, nor does one want to lose such catchy ditties such as "Ms. New Booty" and "Sexy Bitch."

I sat down originally to look up "Caprese Salad" on my computer. However, the thrill of being able to open up a computer and not have it take twenty minutes to "wake up" was so damn exciting, I had to sit down to blogger to write about it.

There was no delay in typing, I didn't have to wait for the cursor to show up. I'm just so excited I could pee my pants. Thank you for sharing this little bit of joy with me.

I have to go prepare my Caprese salad now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bumper Stickers and DB's

The other day as we were driving down the street, we passed a group of children. One child stood out.

He was holding a basketball and had a vapid "I've-played-too-many-video-games" look on his face. He was slack jawed and I do believe I saw a drop of drool hit the pavement. He stared at us as we drove by.

It drives me BANANAS when kids do this.

"Wait, stop the car," I wanted to say to Chris.

I thought about hopping out of the SUV, yanking the basketball out of his hands and bouncing it off his forehead, just to see if anyone was home.

Instead, I turned around to Wesley.

"Wesley. Don't ever do that," I ordered.

"Do what?"

"Stare at cars like an idiot," I said, pointing to the kid.

He nodded, knowingly.

He has heard me rant about kids looking stupid like this he knows the drill. He probably does it all the time anyway.

I think a lot about appearances.

No matter how much my husband preaches on Sundays that "it is what is inside that counts," I can't help it. I still worry about the outside.

For example, I don't do bumper stickers with messages. It causes me to judge and make assumptions.

I drove home from the gym this morning behind a Honda CRX with a bumper sticker that said "Illest."

Really? Are you the "illest?" As in cool? Usually, if someone has to tell you that they are the "illest," they aren't.

The other day on the way home from the beach we pulled up at a red light next to a black Bentley. Wes "ooooh'd" and "awwww'd" because in our area one does not see that many Bentleys.

At that moment, we heard hip hop music begin to boom from the car, and the righteous dude driving the "Bentley" rolled down the tinted windows. He was approximately 22, was wearing a pink shirt, a plaid fedora and had "douche-bag" written all over him.

In our busted up "Mercedes-Benz" with no AC and various service lights flickering, the discussion ensued that by the time one is at the place in life to own a Bentley, one should act like one has "been there." One should not act like a douche.

We came to the conclusion it MUST have been a kit car.

My very favorite bumper sticker, however, is "Animals Don't Leave."


I find it fascinating because a.) it is a naked statement baring your bleeding wounds to everyone you come into contact with as you tootle around town. There is no need to open your mouth or speak a word. Those who see you and "read your car" already know you are an emotional wreck and are, at least at this very moment in your life, are broken enough to plaster this statement on your car.

And, b.) I honestly believe that the majority of animals dream of escaping in their wildest of wild dreams. I don't care if you are the Mother Teresa of pet owners; your animal still wants to escape you. That's why you have to keep them in the house, on a leash and train them not to run away.

All of our animals have felt this way, I'm sure: the cats, the bird, the dogs...even the goldfish, if we would have remembered to feed them and they lived long enough.

The only reason that Ragnar the Viking dog hasn't tried to run away yet is that he is a puppy, and hasn't gotten over his phobias of the world. He's afraid of the sound of crickets at the moment. It doesn't bode well for an adventureous tromp into the nearest freshwater canal for him.

We had a Cairn Terrier who tried to get away every chance he could, and out of obligation and "good pet owner responsibility" we took him back in after every angst filled escapade. We fed him, bathed him and gave him treats and rawhides bones. Yet every time he saw an open door, he would be gone...and I imagine that if he had fingers, there would be a little middle one sticking up on his way out the door. A little doggy f-you, if you will.

It is interesting about our feelings about bumper stickers at this stage in our lives because on our first date, Chris picked me up in his Ford Escort with personalized license plates that said "Viking7."

He had a "Sigma Pi Epsilon" sticker in one corner of his rear window, a "Bucky Badger" sticker in another corner, a Denver Bronco sticker in yet another corner.

His car only has several magnets/stickers on it at the moment but nothing that can be overtly mocked or can be considered overkill.

As in, nothing that looks douchey or needy.

We are, indeed, from the Midwest and are extremely uncomfortable with drawing undue attention to ourselves or our children. Although we have moved to a new area, our children must be guided and directed in the ways of the Scandinavians: always be slightly aloof, quiet, reserved.

"Act like you have been there" if you ever become successful enough to own a Bentley. For God's sake, never ever buy a bumper sticker that says "Animals Never Leave."

And certainly never stare at a car as it drives by and for goodness sake, shut your mouth and don't look like a slob by drooling all over the street.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Secret Crazy S&*$ and Lilly Pulitzer

I have a secret to share with you.

It will most likely be that nail in the coffin of your perception that I am one hundred percent, certifiably insane.

But that's okay.

I'm telling you because I am pretty certain there are others of you out there who, like me, have some weird, quirky book in which you you keep track of weird shit.

My book contains measurements.

As in, of my body.

I keep track of my waist size, hip size, under my arms, under my bust, etc. I've been doing it for eleven years. I don't know why I started...probably some sort of mail order catalog sizing OCD thing gone hideously awry.

I can tell you that in October of 1999, my waist was exactly ten inches smaller than it is today.

I can tell you that in 2003, I had one entry. I don't know why...perhaps it was a really abysmal year and I just gave up.

In 2006, it went from "Measurements" to "Measurements, Weight and Notes"...telling what I was doing, like "I ran 4 miles today and felt good." "I drank too much wine." "Chris is in Iraq and here are my goals before he comes back."

I fear my kids are going to find this book after I die and will pass it around in horror, shake their heads and say, "Our mother was one sick bitch."

So, obviously, I have issues.

In my twenties, I was neurotic about my issues.

Now, I embrace them.

I discuss them, make fun of them and write about them on the Internet. Surely, there are others like me.

It's like going to the doctor with a nasty, oozing pustule and fretting about showing him because you think he will judge you. Inevitably, last week he saw something far oozier and dealt with something much more horrendous than your puny little pustule. There are others with nastier shit than you. Always, always, always.

Same thing with bathing suits. There is always someone who looks worse in a bathing suit at the beach or pool then you who the frack cares? Take the damn t-shirt or cover up off and just let it hang out.

This is precisely why I like to watch Hoarders. And Intervention. Wow...people mess up their lives something awful.

So, there. I have issues. It's out, in case you didn't know it anyway.

Yesterday morning I was kicked out of my house.

My husband said he did it nicely, but I thought the tone was sort of a "get the hell out of here."

HE thought it was more like, "Hey sweetie! I love you so much, that I will take care of the kids on my day off so you can go off and do whatever you would like," followed by lots of blowing kisses, hugs and "I love you's."

However the tone was, he didn't have to say it twice.

I dashed out the door before he could change his mind and headed to the first thrift store.

Thrift stores always have made me happy. I got away from them for awhile (read: when we were moving and I wasn't allowed to bring more crap home) but now that we are not moving anywhere for a long, long time I can thrift store, garage sale and dumpster dive until my heart is content.

(My husband, if he read that, probably just fainted dead away. He does not approve of any of it. Particularly dumpster diving.)

I arrived at the thrift store at the perfect time. I stood as a chatty elderly woman unloaded a fresh bin of fat girl clothes. "Here's another extra large for you, honey," she said as she handed me another pair of Columbia capris (SCORE).

I almost pissed my pants when I rifled through the bathing suits and found a Lacoste cover up and a Lilly Pulitzer tankini set. The bathing suit was a size eight, but I plan to be a size eight one day and I am in love with Lilly Pulitzer.

I carry a Lilly Pulitzer bag, and when I can fit into her clothes, I plan to wear them, even to bed. I vow to give up thrift storing immediately and only wear Lilly Pulitzer clothes, even if it puts my husband in the poor house.

As I checked out the clerk (another elderly woman) folded the clothes and put them into a bag. "Oh, these are nice," she said, in a New York accent.

"Yes, they are," I said, excitedly.

" can't fit into this," she said, holding the bathing suit up.

From this point, I entered into a conversation that would never, ever, ever occur in the Midwest.

"Not right now...but I will someday," I said.

"Are you doing the lap band surgery," she asked.


"No, I'm exercising and watching what I eat. I just had a baby," I said. Like two years ago. But what the heck bees wax is it of hers?

"Are you getting the lap band surgery," another one came up behind me. Apparently lap bands were a source of great interest.

"No, I'm not."

"Oh, my friend just did it and she had to follow a book of instructions this thick," she held her hands apart at about the space of a Stephen King novel. "She lost a lot of weight, though."

"Interesting," I said.

What universe was I in?

"She was about your size when she got it done," she said, looking me up and down. "She brought all of her 2x's over here because they didn't fit any more. She had to buy a whole new wardrobe!"

"Wow," I sort of wanted to slap her.

"Okay...well...have a good day," I said as I slunked out of the store.

I drove over to my friend Beki's house and told her what happened.

"Make me pretty," I said.

Some highlights, hot rollers and nice smelling gel later I had my head between my knees and she was tousling.

"Am I going to look like a prostitute?"

She laughed. "No."

"A stripper?"

There was a pause. "No."

Maybe a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader," she added.

Same difference.

I headed to Ulta and sprayed perfumes. If I didn't look like a hooker, I smelled like one. I bought some Urban Decay bonus buys.

I headed home after my day to myself.

"Mom," said Wesley. "Why is your hair blond?"

"I had it highlighted. Do you like it?"

He nodded.

"Will it stay that way?"

"It grows out. Do you want me to keep it like this?"

He smiled a little and nodded.

"Do you think it's pretty," I asked.

He nodded again.

After dinner, out of nowhere he looked at me. "I like blond better that dirty blond."

"I'll remember that, Wes."

At least my kids think I'm pretty, even when I don't.

I need to remember that's what is important.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Neuroses and Crazy Voice Mail Greetings

Yesterday I changed the voice mail greeting on my cell phone.

My cell phone was originally intended to be nothing more than a way for my family and close friends to reach me.

We ixnayed the home phone years ago because it was such a waste of money. Not to mention a pain in the butt.

No one of any importance would EVER call us on it except politicians, alumni associations asking for money and bill collectors calling for someone who we didn't know/had never known/and no, we did not know where they were.

For awhile, I was very picky about who I gave my cell phone number to.

Then, after I awhile, I began to treat it like candy thrown from a float to greedy, sticky hands of children at a Fourth of July parade.

I began giving it out to doctor's offices, retail stores at check out counters, writing it on warranty cards and product registrations.

So...the reason for changing my greeting yesterday was in response to being hounded by the local library.

Apparently I returned a damaged book way back in March.

Perhaps I did, I don't know.

I didn't even notice because at that time we were closing on our house and moving; therefore, a herd of cows could have trampled our library books and I very well may not have taken notice.

Either way, I feel bad about damaging someone else's property and am willing to rectify it. Just not over the phone. I hate the phone. It's a phobia. I don't DO the phone.

Especially after the first message that was left about the situation. It had the predictably nasally and snippy, "how could you" tone to it.

It went something like this:

"This is Ms. Blah calling from Blah County Library. You returned a book "Blah" by "Blah Blah" this past Friday and it contains damage that was not present before the book was checked out of the library. We can't possibly put it back in circulation in this condition. You will need to pay for it. Please call me back at blahblahblah..."

You get it.

I'm not calling someone back who leaves a snotty message. The Des Moines Public library would quickly send out and invoice if a book was damaged. So I hoped that is what they would do.

Yesterday, I noticed I had about 15 messages in my inbox on my phone. Most of them were from my husband, a couple from my mother, my brother. The usuals.

One of them was from the Blah County Library.

"This is Ms. Blah, calling from the Blah County Library. Calling again about the damaged book you returned back in March. We need to rectify this situation so we you need to call us back as soon as possible. Thank you."

I mean, come on. What the heck?

SEND ME A FRICKING INVOICE PEOPLE. I'll pay for the damn book!

I wish, on the application for a library card, after the phone number I would have written "Do not contact me at this number. Please send all correspondence through the mail."

This is a lesson for the future. I'm going to start writing this on every application for anything in the future. "Do not contact by phone for [crazy-ass] personal reasons. Please direct all correspondence through the mail."

It is a bit neurotic, but I AM neurotic.

Since I can't ask my husband to do it because he would relentlessly MOCK me, I'll have to ask my friend Meghan to call the library and impersonate me to tell them to send me an invoice for the book.

Oy, I might as well write "WIENER" on my forehead, because it is the ultimate in weiner-ific requests.

But... I've done it before. There. I've said it. I've made someone else impersonate me on the phone. If my husband didn't know about it, he does now.

It was my mother. I made her call about my car loan once and it worked out splendidly, although she stumbled over a password and had to take a quick time out, "What is your online password," she whispered to me. The customer service person didn't even notice. It was seamless.

So, yesterday,I changed my voice mail message to the God's honest truth. It goes something like this:

"Hi! You have reached Mary Ann's cell phone. I'm going to be honest with you and just say that if you leave me a message, I probably won't check it. So, if you have my e-mail address, send me an e-mail. If you are my Facebook friend, send me a message on Facebook. If you have my mailing address, send me a letter or an invoice and I will respond to you via mail. If you STILL choose to leave a voice mail, just know that I will probably listen to your message in two weeks when my mailbox is full. Have a great day!"

My husband will probably be mortified, but whatever. His phone number is the alternate number on almost everything. They'll just all call him, instead.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hypochrondia and Puppy Parties

The external temperature reading on my dashboard read 99 degrees Fahrenheit today.

The temperature on the inside of the car was pretty darn close to 99 degrees, too. This was because my air conditioning is currently broken. It hasn't worked since the end of last summer.

This pretty much sucks monkey butt because a.) we live in Florida, b.) it's blazing hot here, c.) and it is July, which means it is never less than 90 degrees.

I have completely given up trying to look even remotely cute, like, ever. I'm resigned to being a big, sweaty slob.

I guess that's okay. I'm not trying to impress anyone.

The heat feels hideous because I have picked up a sick bug...again.

I am hacking in a very un-ladylike fashion and my throat feels like I swallowed a small kitten that didn't give up easily.

This "new" coughing thing ticks me off because I just got over a cough last week. The "old" cough was a side effect of a blood pressure medication, so I was switched to a new one.

It took weeks to get the first wicked junk out of my system. Every time I coughed ~ not even kidding ~ I pissed myself and my brain bounced around inside my skull. It thought my eyeballs were going to fall out at the end.

The only good thing brought about the entire debacle was the cough syrup. It made me pleasantly zingy and tres productive. I could understand why people became crack heads.

So, I literally had a two days reprieve from my side effect cough.

Then my husband got sick. He shuffled his butt to the doctor and I was all, like, "Thank Gawd that ain't me, y'all! Yeee-hawwww"

I woke up with a wicked sore throat the next morning.

Then I started coughing. Last night, I coughed so hard and long that I wet my pants.

I think that I am just going to give in and buy some of those Poise or Serenity pads. I don't care any more, as must be apparent to you all as you peruse my blog and note my obsession with bodily functions.

I dragged my butt to the doctor this morning.

I heart that I PAY this dude to listen to my hypochondriac tendencies, whereas my husband merely tells me that I am a hypochondriac, then tells me what I need to change. It's all very un-fun to be told what one needs to change. Sometimes you just want someone to smile, nod and humor you.

Oh, and also my doctor can actually order scientific tests and gnarly stuff like that. He can tell me if there is a physiological reason that I am fat. And I'm certain it is physiological.

Perhaps ~ just perhaps ~ it isn't the bottles of wine I "occasionally" enjoy in the evenings. Maybe there is something jacked up with my hormones which can be fixed with medicine. I loooove it when things can be fixed with medicine.

"I think there is something wrong with me," I said to my doctor this morning. "Like, other than my sore throat and cough."

"Oh, now, what do you mean," he asked, all concerned-like. He coddles, instead of dismisses me like someone I know. I love it. I need a live-in person to coddle me, nod and look concerned. Like someone "on staff." That would be radical.

I explained that I am up to running almost three and a half miles 3-4 times a week. I'm kicking it on the Bridge to 10 K program on my way to a half marathon. I asked to have some more blood work done, including thyroid and hormone levels.

Because I'm eating boat loads of vegetables which is causing explosive diarrhea. On our last grocery run we bought three to five pound bags of frozen fish. I don't even like fish; I have spent weeks trying to make fish taste better. I also spent about twenty bucks on cans of low sodium tuna, which I DO like. I could ~ and do ~ eat tuna every day. All of my problems with blood pressure and cholesterol will be solved soon, I'm sure, when I die of mercury poisoning.

Something I just don't understand is why all of this "low sodium" crap COSTS more? My low sodium tomato soup ~mmmm~ and low sodium tuna is waaaaaaay more expensive than the normal stuff. I mean, they take some of the salt wouldn't it be cheaper? It makes me angry.

I hope there is some easy explanation for this whole thing, because I think that I am the hardest-working, healthiest-eating fat girl on the planet.

After my appointment at which I was sufficiently coddled, we took Ragnar to the puppy party.

It was interesting to see him come out of his shell around the other puppies. The other puppies all happened to be females, which was an added bonus for Sir Ragnar. He attempted to hump every single one of them. Good boy.

We also heard him bark for the very first time today.

He has a very deep bark that will hopefully be very intimidating if we can train him to only bark when the doorbell rings

I'm so psyched; it's a very satisfying bark ~ like that of a big, beefy truck horn. Hopefully he will make a very good watch dog. We have an alarm system, but it will just be good to have extra protection in a town where the most prevalent crime is burglaries.

We drove home in the blazing heat. The thermometer read 101 degrees.

I got home, put the tot to bed, the puppy in the kennel and ripped off my clothes and laid in bed under the ceiling fan. I slept for the rest of the afternoon. I didn't go out again because to do so would be cruel and inhumane. I thought about those people who work outside in the heat every day and said a pray of thankfulness for our blessings.

It is thoughts like these that make me NOT want to get my air conditioning fixed. It is a good lesson to me ~ a great reality check ~ that we have it so good.

Fifty percent of our cars have air conditioning. Our house is air conditioned. We HAVE a house. My husband has three jobs and we can pay our bills. We HAVE our health (with only minor, fixable and cosmetic issues going on). We have food in the pantry and the fridge. We have clean water.

I think I will choose not to fix the air conditioning in my car, just to stay aware of all of the issues above. God has given us so many blessings and we often take them for granted. Perhaps if we don't have something and it results in a little bit of temporary discomfort, it will help remind us of what we DO have...which is a lot.

We are most definitely blessed.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Chillaxing and Sir Ragnar the Viking Dog

I lost my keys the other day as I walked into Petsmart.

Not like an, "Oh, crap...I-put-them-in-some-obscure-compartment-in-my-hpurse-so-now-I-have-to-seriously-dig-to-find-but-oh-yes-they-will-be-found."

It was a, "My keys have completely disappeared, **poof**, into thin air. They are no where, no where, to be found. They are gone. Gone."

Chris was pissed, but secretly I think that it is just a little bit his fault that he makes me carry the keys anyway because I NEVER can find my keys when we come out of a store. He can put them in his shorts pocket (he wears CARGO shorts, for goodness sake!) and he would know EXACTLY where they were.

Instead he always is like, "Got the keys?"

And I am always like,"Sh**, no, I don't," as I am carrying the baby.

Then I start digging through my purse.

I purchased a hobo bag that is a bottomless pit, and is by no means a fashion statement. It was a stupid purchase. It's not even cute. It is where items: wallet, checkbook, pens, lipstick, gum, etc., are dropped to be lost into an abyss. I envision they fall, fall, fall...sort of like Alice, down the rabbit's hole.

I wonder if I stuffed screaming toddlers, whiny nine year olds or annoying husbands they would disappear, too? Hmmmmmmmm.....

So, we usually end up standing in the boiling heat of a Florida parking lot. I dig, dig, dig some more. Impatience oozes from him. Honestly, I can feel it.

"Patience is a damn virtue," I say in my head (I say lots and lots of really, really nasty things in my head sometimes. I confess. Usually it is at Walfart.).

"It's a freaking fruit of the spirit. So is kindness, goodness and self-fracking control." My keys gets the blood pressure rising every single time.

This particular afternoon at Petsmart was Really Super-Duper Unfortunate. It must be capitalized because it really was so.

I will get to the reason we were at Petsmart in a short moment, because we are truly not Petsmart people.

It was so dire that we had to call a friend to come pick Chris up (eeek, he was mad at me), take him home (oops), pick up the spare key(**cough) and come back to get us the heck out of that parking lot. By the time all that hadoccurred, the parking lot was no less than Hades.

, I tell you.

"I have a busy day," he said again.

"I don't have time for this. Look in your purse again."

I pulled out a lip gloss (Buxom Bare Minerals gloss in Sugar, LOOOOVE it), my wallet, some gum (huh! didn't know I had that!), my checkbook (not balanced), my Ipod, my phone, a pen, another pen, adoption papers. Notoriously missing: keys.

In the backseat of the car, we had a crying nine year old, a crying two year old and a puppy, who SHOULD have been the one crying. But was oddly NOT crying. It was boiling hot back there.

Say what?

"Wait," you exclaim. "What happened to Sven, the Cairn Terrier? The one who licked his butt all day long?"

If you have read my blogs, you knew that Sven ran away. Like, all the time.

He a crazy ninja eye on all doors at all times and if any possibility at all presented itself, he would tear out of our house like a bat out of hell and rejoice in our inability to catch him.

He had a unique contempt for us. We knew he did. He hated us. We saw it in his eyes.

So, with our move to a house closer to a busier road, he escaped exactly three times in forty-eight hours. Those last three escapes were harrowing, because I watched the traffic halted on the road behind our house, Sven weaved in and out of traffic, and bounced merrily down the middle of the road.

I was so incredibly mortified and frustrated.

Moreover, I was terrified ~ TERRIFIED ~ that he was going to kill someone trying to avoid running over him. I had the entire scenario played out in my mind that some innocent individual would be driving down the road on his/her way to work, when an crazy Cairn Terrier would dart out in front of him. S/He would swerve, directly into oncoming traffic and either s/he, or someone in the other car would die or be seriously hurt or maimed.

And if you know anything about Florida, you know there is no shortage of car dealerships or attorneys. He had become a serious liability.

The last time Sven escaped, Chris gave him to the people who caught him on the road.

They were visiting the area and proudly told Chris they had a farm with dogs and cats and goats. And the goats were (***cough) allowed in the house, too. God bless 'em, and God bless America. Happy trails, Sven.

We had been doing research about dogs.

Chris has had his heart set on German Shepherds, because seriously. How cool are they? Some friends of ours are members of a group in which the puppies are trained in German. It's all just so bad ass, Chris was beside himself. I think it appeals to testosterone.

We searched on the Internet, did our research. Then earlier this week, I went to the humane society. And I came home with this:

Not really a German Shepherd...but he is mixed with Lab.

Chris wasn't exactly mad, but I made my friend Carmen call him from the parking lot of Flagler Humane Society to tell him what I had done. I took Carmen with me because she knows dogs. She knows dog training and rescues dogs from the streets. She knows animal control's phone number by heart and isn't afraid to use it. She knows what to look for in puppies. I don't.

I deferred to her.

I had already scoped the place out once before that day. I had heard that you could ask to be put on a waiting list if you were looking for a particular breed. I marched up to the front desk. "I would like to be put on a waiting list for a German Shepherd."

"There is a litter of German Shepherd/Lab mix puppies back there right now," she replied. "Look in number ten."

A couple of the puppies had the shepherd look. One was more brindle, but had magnificent blue eyes. One didn't get off of its bed to even bother to greet us.

We asked to see the blue eyed puppy. In the room, it promptly went for Maggie, tackled her and wouldn't let her get up. Probably not the one for us.

I called both Chris and Carmen. Carmen came back to the shelter with me first.

The puppy who didn't get up to greet us STILL didn't get up to greet us. Either it was sick, or it was uber laid back. But... I like laid back. I encouraged him come over to see me and he was immediately mauled by his brother and his sisters. He was super skinny and was a lot smaller than the others. We asked to see him.

He gently nuzzled Maggie and used one paw to get our attention. He got down on all fours in front of us when he greeted us. The kids hugged him and kissed him. He looked at me and I hugged him. He stank worse than Calvin after football practice.

I am not a Labrador person. But there was something special about him. Perhaps it was his gentleness. He looked wise, calm, intelligent.

The attendant began to put him back into his cage and I looked at the panicked look on the puppy's face. He looked at me and I couldn't do it.

"I'm taking him home."

"You're what," Carmen asked in her Long Island accent.

"I'm taking him home."

"Don't you want to call Chris?"

"You can call Chris from the parking lot for me, Carmen," I said to her, as she vehemently shook her head and wagged her finger at me. It's the Puerto Rican in her.

So, later, as we walked up to Petsmart I had a puppy, a nine year old, a two year old and my freaking keys. The keys disappeared somewhere between the car and the department store. So sue me.

Yes, I know this particular flip/panic button costs a ka-jillion dollars to replace.

Yes, I know my house key, as well as fifty other keys which I have no idea what they are for, are on it.

And yeah, I know that my gym membership card and the Winn Dixie card is on that key chain.

We have one key left to this car. It has a dead battery, so it will be like the old days when we have to manually unlock the damn car door. What a pain in the ass.

This key will be guarded with our lives.

Or by our bad ass guard dog. Except he doesn't even bark.

His name is Ragnar, which is a Viking name that means "Strong Army." Except he's totally not.

He sleeps all day under the kitchen table and is the laziest, calmest puppy I have ever encountered. I thought something could be wrong, except I took him to the vet this morning and they said he was perfectly healthy. He just has a chillaxed personality.

"That dog fits in with your family PERFECTLY," exclaimed my friend Meghan yesterday as we walked back to the cars as we were leaving the beach. I looked at "Ragnar," and he was walking calmly next to me.

I wanted to ask her more about why she said that, but their ADHD Siberian Husky, Bruschi, was doing backflips trying to get off of his leash and making noises that made conversation utterly impossible. Bruschi sort of fits in with their family perfectly, sort of a high strung/on-the-go/schizophrenic (in a good way) sort of way.

"It is sort of like being reunited with an old girlfriend," Chris said the other night, as we were lying in bed.

"We had our freedom, and it was nice. Now we can't go anywhere or do anything. No Space-A trip to Europe to us this summer," he sighed. The ball and chain effect that comes with pet ownership is back.

Our home is now our vacation. The beach is good enough for me. Give me a margarita and I will happily sit out on our lanai with the kids, my husband and Ragnar.

My life is good; we are now the All American Family, dog (one that likes us) and all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Disappointments and Pastor's Wives

I believe that I am often quite a disappointment to those around me.

No, no! Don't disagree with me. Humor me...and read on.

My mind house is in a constant state of disarray. The painting I began in my foyer has never been finished. Don't even ask about the rest of the house.

After ten years of marriage, my husband confided to me that the dishes in the sink cause him anxiety. I talk to my brother about once a month, if that ~ bad sister.

My kids will tell you all kinds of stories. With a look of glee in his eye, the oldest child will tell you about the time when mommy lost what small amount of cool she had left and hurled a plate across the kitchen. It left an indentation in the wall that was easily patched. No one was hurt. It makes for a good story. Win-win.

So, I have been making an effort to attend a TRX class every Thursday. I went once in March and was literally unable to move for days. Needless to say, I was uber discouraged and didn't go back.

Then, I saw that the Real Housewives of Orange County were doing TRX. This motivated me to go back. I kid you not; yes, I am am that shallow.

So, for the third consecutive week, I went to TRX class. I began speaking with another woman there and we quickly discovered that we are both pastor's wives. Her husband is the senior pastor of a larger church in the area.

She looked very excited to have met me, and she told me that she mentors another pastor's wife in the area and mentioned me joining them sometime. I felt an icy vein of anxiety swirl around my belly.

I hear the word "mentor" and it immediately conjures up visions of crushing disappointments (on her part) and and exhausting amounts of obligatory false enthusiasm to be expressed (on my part.) It sounded exhausting and wholly, unbelievably unnecessary.

Because...I had a preacher's wife mentor and she was a lunatic.

I had to live with her 18 years. She could clean, cook, organize crap, tell people what to do , sing in the choir, DIRECT the choir, play piano WHILE she directed the choir, SING AND DIRECT the choir while SHE played the piano, etc.

Most fascinating to me, she could cook for crowds of hundreds of people because of some obscure cafeteria experience at a large University in the Midwest. One could tell her "We are having chicken and dumplings and chocolate cake for two hundred people. Here is the recipe, which needs a conversion from 12 servings."

And she could convert the recipe, IN HER HEAD, and go buy the ingredients ~ IN BULK.

I actually did this with her once. I was visiting several years ago and this exact scenario happened.

My head would inevitably explode if such demands were placed upon me and I would flee somewhere, preferably out of the country, while two hundred people were wondering where the hell their chicken and dumplings and ~ more importantly~ their chocolate cake were.

We had friends over recently and I stressed out at the Publix meat department dude about how much shrimp I should or should not buy. He probably got home that night, kissed and hugged his wife, thankful he didn't pick a histrionic head case like yours truly to marry.

Or Bethenny Frankel.

Is anyone else watching her? She is just as neurotic as I am. Except she is driven, goal oriented and a kick ass business woman. I'm just neurotic, and a little lazy.

Really, Bethenny Getting Married is eeking up on my ranking of "favorite shows." But nothing can really top Real Housewives of New Jersey this season. And now I have Flipping Out, Rachel Zoe and A NEW Real Housewives of D.C. to look forward to this summer? God is smiling on me. He is.

I digress.

Anyhoo. Where was I? TRX class. Pastor's wife. Mentoring. Quelle horreure. Disappointment high fives all around. Aching cheeks and dry teeth from excessive smiling forecasted for my future.

Because I am ~ by far ~ the most disappointing pastor's wife you will ever find.

I try not to swear too much, yet fear my two year old is saying "oh, shit," sometimes when she drops her toys.

I don't really do choirs, or circles. I don't volunteer a lot. I can't remember peoples' names a lot of the time and honestly am TERRIFIED of calling someone by the wrong name. I don't organize events, I forgot my secret sister's birthday, forgot the church's only graduation party and yawn through the preacher's sermons.

Yet, it blows my mind that these people seem to like me. If they don't, I suppose I haven't heard. That's okay. I love each and every one of them and don't know how we were so blessed to end up where we are.

I'm trying to look on the bright side, so here it is:

On the bright side, I have NOT disappointed Publix Pharmacy with my ridonkulous number of prescriptions every month.

I didn't disappoint my son, Wesley, this afternoon for lunch because I "let" him eat Ramen Noodles. I told him he had to make them himself ~ because I was on my way to take a nap, which disappointed him a lot. Yet he looked very happy about the Ramen Noodles initially.

I also haven't disappointed these little bugs called earwigs that are taking over my house. I don't know what I am doing to make them very happy and feel at home, but whatever it is, it is going to warrant a follow up call to our pest control company to take those bad boys out.

And to everyone, I hope you do not have a disappointing fourth of July. We are blessed to live in our country. It is disappointing at times ~ at least the leadership is ~ but I am still proud to be an American.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Floundering Fatties and 12 Miles

So yeah, I took a break. I needed to fall back and re-group. To like, re-assess what I was going to write about, instead of aimless floundering about.

Except...that whole "aimlessly floundering thing?" That would describe, like, three-quarters of my entire life. My favorite word is "whatever." My favorite item of clothing is a tank top with a shelf bra and I go pantiless in my drawstring shorts 99% of my day and elastic waist stretch pants.

It might be surprising to know that one of the most disciplined areas in my life is exercise. (The bummer of this is the LEAST disciplined area of my life is food.)

It began when Wes was about three years old (now nine).

Chris joined a gym in 2005. I was super fat and super pissed, because at that point in our young lives we were super in debt and super broke.

He got into it big time and met his friend every morning at four a.m. to exude testosterone and drink protein shakes.

One day I decided to get my body fat tested. My decision to do this came after a convergence of external and internal factors: I was hen pecked encouraged by my husband to become healthier. I am sure I wanted to use the gym membership to get my money's worth...sort of a "might as well join 'em" mentality.

I also recall numerous bouts of tears about the small assortment of fugly fat clothes in my closet.

After the (predictably, horrifying) body fat test, I mounted the elliptical machine. At five minutes I was, again~predictably~winded.

Five minutes turned into ten, then fifteen, then twenty. Then an hour. I worked at it, and I was running miles, doing classes, and kicking ass. Then because I was so hot with my new bod...I sorta got knocked up again and took a leap (or fifty) backwards.

So, a couple months ago I started the Couch to 5 K Program.

I had always been jogging ~ albeit off and on ~with no real direction. Again ~ SURPRISE! ~ "floundering."

Since beginning C25K, I had been encouraged by a friend of my brother's whom I have never technically met to do the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon with her in October. She has no idea what sort of hot, smelly mess I turn into when I jog. She is in for a rude, RUDE awakening.

She pops up on my Facebook page approximately once a week, like a deranged cheerleader, and cheers at me reminding me of the twelve mile suck-a-thon that I may or may not have agreed to. It has only one redeeming quality which is the promise of alcohol at the end.

This event has been in the back of my mind as I completed the C25K program and began the Bridge to 10K this past week.

So, the seemingly floundering fatty on the treadmill at Thriv Fitness in Flagler County, Florida isn't floundering anymore. She is making a statement as of today, folks. She is training for a half marathon this fall.

She is going to stink it up, sweat and bring on the wary looks of onlooking paramedics, as her partner (whom, she has never actually met) glows. Because I have seen pictures of her. And she looks like one of those people who glows.

I'll keep everyone posted on my progress. I ran 3.25 miles yesterday at an astonishingly slow speed. I suppose a glass half full person would say I am 1/4 there...but I thought I was going to have to be carried out of the gym and there was a moment in which I might have seen Jesus ~and my Grandaddy ~ beckoning me home.

(Post note: I just looked at the details of the Wine and Dine and I have several issues with this race. One being the date. Another being the time of day. If I run at any other time of day other than the morning, I burp uncontrollably. If I don't run this particular race, I will run a race. I vow to run a race. <3)

(Post Post Note: That photo is TOTALLY me, in case you wondered. It's a MIRACLE! I have no cellulite and I have a WAISTLINE!!!!)