Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fifty

Today I celebrated my 50 pound weight loss at my surgeon's office.  Fifty pounds.

I'm not going to lie, I feel like it took a long time to get here.  After my lap band surgery in January, the weight seemed to melt off much faster than I had anticipated.  However, a couple of months back my inner child and I got me into some trouble with the band.  My stoma actually closed completely due to a lot of unresolved stomach irritation.  It was not fun.  Because of that, the surgeon opened up my band for a month and I got...hungry.  So I gained a couple of pounds back.  Not much, but enough to do the following: slow me down, open my eyes and get me back on track.

And so it is, 6 months after my surgery, I am celebrating the loss of 50 pounds.  It's pretty monumental for me.  I feel so much more energy than before.  My knees no longer hurt.  My feet don't get shooting pains.  And it's no wonder!  Fifty pounds is a lot to carry around on a daily basis.  Let's contemplate, for a moment, a few things that weigh 50 pounds:


This freaking anvil!


This giant bucket of chlorine.

This ridiculous burger.
This huge bag of potatoes.

And FIFTY of these piles of fat!!
 I feel proud.  Amazed, really.  And for anyone who may want to poo-poo the effort because of the surgery, I assure you - it is HARD work.  The surgery was, for me, the only way I was going to get the work done, but I still have to put it in.  For now, I'm taking the day to congratulate myself.  Tomorrow, I'll be getting back on my horse for, in the words of Robert Frost, I have, "miles to go before I sleep."



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Say What?

Language continues to be a very entertaining undertaking with our daughter.  The more she learns, the more she creates and adds to the English language.  She's a little Shakespeare, this one.  A few of her entries from the past couple of months:

1.  She can turn any noun into a verb by adding 'ing'.  She says things like, "It's nighting" when it's dark outside or "It's wintering" when it's cold.

2.  Our dogs bark.  A lot.  That could be a whole post in and of itself.  However, if there's one thing more irritating than the dogs barking, it's The Nugget screaming at them to stop.  We've talked to her repeatedly about how dogs sometimes need to bark and get it out of their system and then they'll stop.  Now she says, "The dogs just need to take a little bark."  Love.

3.  She practices what sounds her letters make when reading her books with alphabets, however she doesn't always quite get it right.  I heard her the other day saying, "mm mm is the sound of B".  I guess we have a little more work to do in that department!

4.  She's starting to lose it, but she still says her "L's" like "W's" most of the time.  It's absolutely adorable.  I've made her practice saying it like she is supposed to, and she can, but I don't push it too hard because I'm going to miss her saying things like "wittle" and "wuv" instead of "little" and "love".

5.  She's created a whole new word for forgetting things, a hybrid of forgot and left.  If we leave something behind when we go somewhere or if she finds something belonging to another child she will say, "Oh, no, Mommy!  They for-left it!" It's even cuter with the whole "L" thing because it comes out sounding like "fer-weft".  Adorable.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Happened on the Way to Our Play Date

As we neared our exit, I turned off the children's music that filled the car so that I could concentrate on my directions.

"Mommy, why did you turn off my music?"

"So I can focus."

"Mommy, why do you need to focus?"

"I just do.  Mommy needs to think about where she is going.  Give me just a minute.  We are almost there."

Oh no.  Road construction.  GPS does not match actual road.

"Are we almost there yet, Mommy?"

"Almost, honey.  Just hang on a sec.  Mommy missed her turn."

"Why did you miss the turn, Momma?"

"Well, there was construction and my computer didn't know that.  Just let me think here, babe."

Re-routing. 

Okay, simple u-turn and we'll be back on track.  Except...the turn still isn't clear to me.  Is it this one or the next one?  There is construction everywhere.  I feel sweat starting to form on my upper lip as I turn on onto the first exit and immediately realize that it is a mistake as it veers off in a completely different direction than I want to go.

"Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!"  I cry.

"Mommy, why did you say that?"

"Mommy is just frustrated.  I'm sorry.  That wasn't a nice thing to say.  Mommy took the wrong turn.

Re-routing. 

Okay, we can do this.  Just turn right up at the next spot and then take another right and we should be there.  Except the next right that GPS tells me to expect is not the name of the road I see.  Cue text message from friend we are meeting:  "We're here and sitting at table in the middle!  See you soon!"  At the stop sign I text back:  "R f-ing lost.  Be there soon."

Re-routing.

"Mommy, why are we lost?"

"The construction just had us turned around a bit honey.  Just let mommy think and we'll be there soon."

"Mommy, I want to see my friend!"

There's nothing like a three year old's anxiety to help keep you calm while driving.

I decide to give up on the GPS and follow instinct which tells me to take a left.  Miraculously, it is the road we are looking for.  It leads into a sprawling outdoor mall which holds the mecca that we seek.  Half GPS and half guess work take us through the maze of a parking lot to our destination right as I receive a text from my friend again: "Can I help?"  At this point, the only way she could help would be to pour me a stiff drink because the stress from getting here has overwhelmed me.  We struggle out of the car and into the building where we pay for a pass and hustle to the table.  I look at my friend, all open smiles and hugs.

"Mommy is grumpy and overwhelmed." I tell her with a scowl.  She frowns and smiles all at once.  As another mommy, she gets it.  Thank heavens, she gets it.

Let the fun begin.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why Game Night is Like a Cage Match

I've mentioned before that family game time is pretty popular at our house these days.  The Nugget absolutely loves playing games of all kinds and, thanks to the generosity of friends and family, we have lots of games to choose from.  She is especially keen to play a game any time mom and dad are both home at the same time.  The other night, I opened the game cabinet (which I keep locked because DEAR GOD there are only so many games I can play and I can't have her bringing me one every 37 seconds) and picked something new for our family to play.  Slap Jack.

The three of us gathered around the coffee table and divied up the cards.  We took it slow so that we could teach The Nugget how to play the game and, frankly, to remind ourselves as I can't say how many years it has been since either of us has played it.  In an unusual turn of events, however, it wasn't long before The Nugget had retreated to a chair to watch what was left of the video that was playing and The Mister and I found ourselves in a heated battle over Slap Jack.  Seriously.

"You looked!  You looked before you put your card down and now even if you win you know it's a lie!" I found myself shouting at one point.

"Cheater!  You keep flipping your cards faster than I do.  I can't see them before you've already slapped!  Nugget, your father is a cheater."

The Nugget from her perch on the arm chair: "Cheater!  Daddy, you're a cheater!"

The Mister: "Thanks a lot.  That's just great.  What a great thing to teach our daughter."

The Nugget, continuing her chant: "Daddy, you're a cheater.  Cheater!"

All the while the cards continue flying fast and furious.

"Nugget, your father can't take a joke!" I exclaimed as I watched the look of rage irritation cross The Mister's face.  "And you KEEP.  GOING.  TOO.  FAST.  That's it!"  I snarled as I tossed all of my cards onto the table.  "I am not going to play because you won't follow the rules!"

"Fine!  We won't play then!"  The Mister cried.

Ahhh, yes, good old fashioned family fun.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pool Snob

I don't know about you, but I grew up swimming in anything that was wet.  Strip mine?  Yes.  Lake?  Don't mind if I do!  Public pool, drainage ditch (no lie), river, ocean or inflatable pool?  Absolutely.  They all sounded like heaven to me.  I loved to swim.

I still love to swim, but I've noticed as I get older that I grow more and more leery of my habitat.  That childhood drainage ditch that used to flood when it rained hard now sounds as if it most likely carries hundreds (if not thousands!) of diseases that could kill me or, worse yet, maim me beyond recognition with a terrible virus.  Lakes are filled with snakes and bugs.  People drown in strip mines all the time (according to my parents when I was younger, anyway).  Oceans are filled with any manner of things that will try and eat me if given half the chance.  I'm pretty sure the only sanitary solution would be to build my own private pool where at least the germs would be confined to a few known entities, but, alas, it is not to be.

This leaves me with the public pool.  We have one in our neighborhood and spend at least half of our summer days splashing around there.  The problem, of course, is that so does the rest of the neighborhood.  This means that on any given visit to the pool I am likely to be assaulted by 10-15 snot-dripping kids (including my own).  A Baindaid floats up to me at least once a week.  There are myriad bugs floating hither and tither, waiting to go into my hair or my daughter's mouth (because I no longer get my mouth near public pool water it poses less of a risk unless it flies into my mouth).  We recently visited the pool after a rain and, though it was hot and I really wanted to swim, I couldn't let myself relax in the water because there were so. many. bugs.  I spent 45 minutes sweeping bugs into the filters of the pool before I was even comfortable sitting on the steps.  Ugh.  And I can never push away the thought that a bunch of strangers (questionably cleaned) naughty bits are just a thin layer of fabric away and swimming in the same soup as me.

No, the relaxation factor has swum out of my swimming.  It makes me sad that I am no longer the carefree child who swam happily in anyplace she could.  It also grosses me out to watch my daughter be the carefree child who swallows a gallon of who-knows-what at each pool session.  I know the value of it, though, so we go and I mostly sit on the step and splash myself off to keep cool.  I suppose it won't be long until I become one of those parents who doesn't swim at all when I bring my kid to the pool but just sits on the side sunning and reading a book, a behavior I could never understand when I was younger.

I guess what I'm saying is that I will happily accept donations to my pool fund.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

American Dream



I grew up poor.  Not dirt floors and outhouses poor, but trailers and factory jobs and layoffs and bankruptcy poor.  I know what it is to not have.  I saw my parents struggle to provide for their family.

Lucky for me, they supported me getting an education.  I got a bachelor's and then a master's degree and have worked in some form or anther since I was 15 years old.  I have always known that it was important to work hard and earn money.  I know what it is to have the wolves at the door. 

Also, I have come to know the feeling of keeping up with the notorious Joneses.  I love things.  I love the security of having a nice home and nice things in my home.  They provide (falsely) reassurance that I have moved out of reach of poverty.  However, the love of things always leaves you wanting just a little bit more.  Just one more thing and then I won't want any more things, I tell myself.  We built a new home a couple of years ago.  I love it...but.  There's always a but.  What if I could get new flooring?    If my carpet gets a bit shabby, can I love it as much?  My counter tops are laminate and not granite; can it be my dream home if I have laminate counters?   If my car works just fine but is from 2003, can I be good enough?  For whom?  It's all a bit crazy-making, really.

On the other hand, I know that is important to find balance in life.  I know that my relationships with my friends and family mean more to me than money ever will.  I honestly believe that it is important to try and find things we love to do in life and to do those things well.  For a variety of reasons, The Mister and I have worked jobs that put us on opposite shifts for the last several years - really since The Nugget was born.  This worked well because it minimized our need for day care and we made good money.  It also worked terribly because we have each operated as single parents for all of her childhood.  Normal joys like family dinners and nights at the movies have become rare treats for us instead of daily routine.  I have struggled because it is not what I wanted for our family.

The Mister has asked to be transferred to day shift at his work.  It hasn't happened for whatever reason.  Because of this, he began to look elsewhere.  And just this week he got what I would consider to be a dream job offer for him.  It is the kind of work he loves to do (unlike his current job which is simply the kind of work that earns money)!  It is with a very stable company (which I hope to tell you more about another time)!  It has daytime hours!  And it pays less.

I absolutely want him to take the job.  There is no question that he will.  It is hard, however, to live out the dream of being a happy family in this society when making less money seems to equate to being less happy.  It is hard to un-internalize that more factor.  To let it go and know (and I know) that our happiness does not depend on the size of our bank account but on our great love for one another.  I am working, though, to put that fear at bay and relish the fact that we will be a family just like I have dreamed of.  That money is not the only thing, not even the most important one, that we have to offer our daughter or one another.

So, in the interim, I'm giddy.  But scared.  I have a quote hanging by my desk at work, though, and I'm going to keep looking at it, keep knowing its truth, keep making myself believe that our American dream can be more than just about bigger houses, bigger cars and bigger pay checks.  The quote:

"Time may be money, but your money buys no more time."
                                                                          - James Taylor

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shhhh...It's Saturday

video
Not exactly silent, but I ran across this video that The Mister made when The Nugget was just starting to creep and melted into a big puddle of goo.  She was so adorable!