Monday, March 23, 2009

Keep your family close, and your enemies far, far away

I've never been more grateful to be near family. There is so much that I needed to do this past week, and there's no way I would have kept the motivation going without them. I know I was a wreck and a great big meanie, but they sure hung in there with me.

I drove down to Florida last week after members of the Staunton PD came on their day off to load my moving cubes. They made this last stretch of my mood so stress free that I was able to get in the car and drive off the second they were finished. Bless them and my friends for helping me out (including all of you who live a full day's drive away and STILL offered to come, you rock my world), because I certainly wasn't going to get any help from anyone else.

I drove through the night, napped at a rest area, and made it to Florida late in the afternoon. It was sunny and warm, and I walked in the door of this beautiful house, then immediately fell asleep on the new carpet. I slept most of the day and all of the night, and woke up still exhausted the next morning.

My grandma came on Friday, and my aunt on Saturday, and they stayed here with me. We shopped, filled cars to the top with food, random decor, and chairs. They kept me moving forward, kept me shopping, kept me accomplishing what needed to be finished before they left with their roomy vehicles.

I was, of course, surly and stressed out, not to mention snippy. I'll admit it. So when the moving company told me they could deliver my things a week late so I could have a whole weekend to unload, I took it. It means I have some time to sleep and search out my sanity.

So, I guess the short story is that I'm here. Ginger is settling in fantastically, spending a ton of time on the patio, sunning herself. She loves all the space in here. As do I. There are new chairs lovingly built by three very goofy women. And I'm comfy on my big air mattress, waiting for all hell to break loose. Until then, I have chairs and beer. And leftover grandma food. Life is truly wonderful.

And Happy Anniversary, honey. Maybe next year we'll actually get to spend it together. Thank you for making these the easiest two years of my life, despite the Army throwing wrenches in our plans. We could be stranded on a desert island, and you'd still find a way to make my life sweet and simple. I love you.

Today's lesson: You can never know how much you need real family until you spend time without any. Thank God for my family. I am so happy to have finally made my way home.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A courtesy explanation for the men...

I think, as women, we confound the men in our lives during that “special” week every month. During PMS, our significant other can’t do anything right, say anything right, or wear the right facial expression. Their poor minds must just spin with questions. “Why is she standing in the bathroom, screaming and crying because her hair won’t do what she wants it to?” “Why is there a hairbrush flying across the room toward my head for saying her hair looks fine?” “Why is she surprised her jeans won’t zip when she just ate an entire king size Hershey bar?”

This PMS thing is a new concept to me. For many years, I haven’t been on what one would call “a schedule.” I’ve talked before about my fertility issues, and have only recently gotten on medication that ensures that, like clockwork, I become a raging hormonal crazy woman one week every month. (Note: I hear my husband laughing, because he’s thinking about the crazy woman I am during the other three weeks.)

While I’m grateful that my medication is working, I’m a little concerned that I haven’t learned to cope with PMS like other women my age. I haven’t had as much experience as they have, and I tend to go absolutely insane. So, I figured I would impart my new-found knowledge to our men. Especially mine, as he’s never had to deal with this before. He has no idea what he’s coming home to. *grin*

PMS makes us do things we wouldn’t normally dream of doing. I woke up this morning, bright and early. And then went back to bed two hours later. It’s been up and down all day here. I look at everything that needs to be done for my move, and immediately feel overwhelmed and hide under the covers. I doesn’t matter that 99% of my stuff is packed. The 1% is mocking me.

The craving for food is what hits me the worst. The rest of the month, I could easily live without chocolate and ice cream. But this afternoon I needed ice cream. It wasn’t a choice. I threw on my fat jeans and a sweatshirt, went out in the cold and rain, and headed to Hell-mart on a Sunday. Normally, I wouldn’t dream of going there on Sunday. But the call of junk food was so strong that I parked and nearly sprinted to the ice cream aisle. Then I grabbed a slab of chocolate cake from the bakery, some milk, and headed for the checkout.

This chocolate thing is something I just don’t understand! I am a healthy eater. I stay awake from pork, white bread, and potatoes. I never, EVER eat candy bars. I just don’t see the appeal. But for this week, every month, it’s like my hormones take control of my body. I walk like a zombie around Walmart, mindlessly grabbing whatever my crazy alter ego is craving at the moment. Then, when the week is over, I find the things I’ve bought and can’t even remember putting them in my basket. It’s a truly out of body experience. Many candy bars have made it home that way and gotten thrown away because they never get eaten.

I can, however, live with the cravings. Despite chowing down, I never put on any weight that my body doesn’t take off immediately. What really gets me are the mood swings. For example, I drove back from the store this afternoon to find that, in the 20 minutes I had been gone, some asshole had taken my parking spot. I have a favorite spot that I park in here that’s closest to my door. I’m pretty possessive about it, just because my apartment is so oddly situated and the parking lot is pretty poorly lit. It’s just a safety issue for me, not an assigned parking space thing.

So I see this awful white car in MY parking spot, and I am all of a sudden overwhelmed by the urge to run headlong into it. And in my mind, I’m weighing the pros and cons of ramming this car and sending it down the hill. I mean, I’m insured. But thankfully, the second I thought that, the line from 10 Things I Hate About You came into my head: “My insurance does NOT cover PMS!” And I grumbled and parked way at the other end of the lot. And trudged all the way to my apartment, trying hard not to run over and smash anyone’s windshield. I’m still stewing over it.

Today’s lesson: I guess what I would tell the men in our life is to please be patient. We are just as frustrated by our crazy behavior as you are, if not more. We can’t control it, we aren’t right in the head, and while we’re aware of it, there is absolutely nothing we can do. Keep your distance, and slide us some chocolate under the bathroom door if we’re having a bad hair day.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The value of a shopping trip

It's hard to see progress when you're watching it unfold on a daily basis. Dieting has been a challenge with the upcoming move. I hesitate to grocery shop, since I have to toss anything I still have from the freezer and refrigerator when I leave. So my diet has consisted of Domino's, McDonald's, and oatmeal. On top of all that, I put on three pounds eating nothing but my grandma's chicken and dumplin's while I was in Florida.

The last week, I've felt stressed out, fat, and depressed. The weather was gray and cold, and it eventually snowed. I haven't wanted to move from the bed, but there were things to get finished. Yesterday I headed out with Ginger to her vet appointment. She got her rabies vaccine, and consequently feels like crap right now. She has to go in for some dental surgery next week as well. She's going to hate me.

I haven't been lifting weights because I've been lifting boxes. My poor body is covered in bruises, and every muscle aches. I was worried that my diet of pure junk was going straight to my thighs. I haven't been able to drop anymore weight, but I wasn't worried because I can now do enough pushups to max out an Army PT test. I am STRONG, and I'm more proud of that than the pounds I've lost.

But junk food makes you feel like a failure, even if you are burning all the nasty calories off and more. So I felt frumpy and awful when I went out for tea at The Beverley with A today. We had a fantastic tea, then hopped across the street to Design at Nine. If anyone local reads my blog, go there. It's the place in Staunton I will miss the most. A and I shopped for awhile, and I found a dress to try on that was 50% off. I headed off to the dressing room, and A said to me, "You know, your legs are looking FANTASTIC! Really, I mean it, you can tell you've been working out."

Of course, I was in a pair of fishnet tights, and felt like a cow because they're so much work to put on. But I got in the dressing room and took off my clothes, and stood there in bra, tights, and heels when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And A was right. My legs rock! My whole body rocks! Head to toe, I looked long and lean, which is a miracle considering I'm short and stocky.

I put the dress on (another size 8!), zipped up, and walked back out into the shop, where A gasped and said, "Your waist is so tiny!" The girl in the shop looked over and called out, "Yeah, what do you have, an 18 inch waist???" I felt sleek and sexy, and the ladies were right. I looked amazing. Despite a diet of banana cream pie and chicken nuggets, weight training and box lifting have not only strengthened my body; they've strengthened my confidence as well.

My other cheer up came in the form of Sara calling me this evening. I told her I'd only packed one box today, and she laughed. But then I looked around and realized I had only packed one box because I'm almost finished with the things I can do ahead of time. Plus, Sara had a great tip for packing the kitchen stuff I'm still using. :-)

It's bedtime here. Ginger is laying in my lap, looking miserable, and I need to stop typing so she can sleep.

Today's lesson: When you feel like you're failing at a project, take a step back and look at it through someone else's eyes. The span of your accomplishments will often surprise you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Blog fodder

I woke up early this morning and got right online. I am so glad did, as Feisty was on, and she convinced me that not only should I accomplish my pre-set goal for the day, but that it would make fantastic blog fodder.

For those of you who do not write blogs, let me explain the concept of "blog fodder". Everytime something interesting, embarassing, amusing, or just plain weird happens to me, the first thought in my mind is usually, "Oh, this would be wonderful in my blog!" Quite often, the blogs you read from me have been written through the day in my head, waiting patiently for me to sit down long enough at my computer and type it up. In fact, if you want a good example of everyday oddities becoming blog fodder, try this blog. It's one of my new favorites.

So this morning, when I told Feisty that today's goal was to pack the frightening hole in the wall that is my husband's junk closet, her immediate response was, "Blog fodder!" Jere, as many of you know, is a clutterbug and historian. Our home is filled with books and the relics of his travels. I, on the other hand, was raised as a minimalist. Knick knacks are just extra things you have to dust. I am a fan of white walls and clean lines. My husband loves to have everything he owns on display, and I am perfectly content to store the majority of my belongings in boxes out of sight.

Even though Jere wasn't going to be living here, I still needed a three bedroom apartment to fit all of his stuff. And when I moved in, there were so many boxes and so much extra furniture that the people who were hired to unpack couldn't actually do it. In his old place, before we were married, he had a whole bedroom dedicated to storing his things, floor to ceiling. I couldn't have that here. Through organization and compromise, we worked it out. And one result of this compromise? Jere's closet.

My problem today was not really the abundance of stuff. It was the weight of it. Awkward sizes, heavy boxes on the top shelf, all led to bruises, cuts, smashed fingernails, and one very painful squished little toe (the result of an old wireless router falling from the top shelf to my foot on the floor). By the time I was finished, I was sweaty and sore, but I felt the stress melt from my body. Outside of packing the kitchen, this closet was my biggest job. I felt so accomplished looking at the neatly stacked boxes where the mess used to be. One more area completely ready for the movers.

In fact, I felt so satisfied, I packed the office closet as well. Half the closet was my shoes and baking supplies, the other half was Jere's coat collection and old trunks. And now it's done as well. It's fantastic.

I can't wait to get to Florida, where there's not only plenty of room for my husband to enjoy all of his things, but there's also plenty of room for me as well.

Today's lesson: It's so much better to tackle a task you're dreading than to let it hang over your head. Unless that thing that's hanging over your head suddenly falls on your foot.