Sunday, March 30, 2014

Basic Training

Friday I went to my first physical therapy appointment, where I learned that the muscles in my left leg and hip are much weaker than those on my right and that my left calf muscle looks, to quote my physical therapist Nola, "atrophied."

Atrophied - as if I weren't even using it.  What the heck? I walk several miles a week and run up and down the stairs of my townhouse approximately 50 times a day. I mean, it's not as though I am hopping on one leg to do all that. All I can figure is that the pain in my leg has been so severe that I was somehow favoring it and not using it as much.

But, still, STAIRS....how is that even possible?

My new BFF
Nola was right, though - when she had me do side leg lifts, I could feel the difference between left and right. She assigned me a page and a half's worth of exercises to do every day, and - well -what Nola wants, Nola gets.  She was going to assign me core strengtheners also (for my arthritic back); but I assured her that I was already best friends with my Kathy Smith tummy trimmers video. I had to promise to do that every day, also.

Breakfast of champions



All this training! Now I know how Olympic athletes feel.  I'm thinking that it's no coincidence I eat the same yogurt as they do.


Moral: If something is wrong with you, don't wait 6 months to get some help. You'll just  mess yourself up more in the meantime.  And you might end up with a physical therapist whose name makes this tune run through your head non-stop.




I don't think Nola would approve of those heels, though.


[Kathy Smith image: KathySmith.com]
[Yogurt image: Walmart]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Officially Decrepit

I went to the doctor today, in search of a physical therapy referral to help with my sciatica.

Gosh, I wouldn't blame anyone if they stop reading right there.

So! What I thought would take 15 minutes took an hour, what with their insisting on weighing me (I don't want to talk about it) and taking my blood pressure (which I made them do twice, because I didn't like the first numbers) and the doctor's ordering x-rays of my back and hips before she would put in the referral.

Did you know you have to take off your bra to do a lower back x-ray?  I was not happy.

Anyway, all that took an hour (which really isn't bad, considering the x-rays) and then I had to run out of there to pick up David from school; and my dinky cellphone, which only rings when it WANTS to, missed the call from the doctor, who left a voicemail telling me there were apparent "arthritic changes" in my back.

You know, I knew that already.  I could feel it.  But hearing it?  Really depressed me.  So now I am being forced to focus on the fact that I have become an arthritic, overweight person by age 50.  Oh, and the triage nurse, adding insult to injury, gave me a little present.

Personally, I don't want to read anything that contains the words "fecal sample."


That's a DIY stool collection kit that I send off to a lab so some lucky technician can search for microscopic traces of blood in my poop. Everyone who is 50 gets one.  Aren't we lucky?


Monday, March 24, 2014

Showering Like It's 1899

On Friday, our water heater up and quit.  QUIT.  I suspect it was seeking revenge for my so handily fixing the problem with our clothes washer.  You see, the washer wasn't spinning all the water out and kept flashing an error code at me, a problem which I managed to ignore until the door locked midcycle and I had to punch all sorts of buttons randomly.to get it to open so that I could throw the dripping clothes into the dryer (which, I know, is an awesome way to break that particular appliance).  As I stood there, staring at the recalcitrant washer, something whispered "washer filter" to me.

Look, all sorts of people start hearing voices in troubled times.  Think Joan of Arc, all right?

The magic door
Washer filter, it said.  Well, I thought, I don't know where the washer filter IS.  Dammit, people, I'm a suburban housewife, not a certified appliance repairman.  But then I noticed a tiny little door on the front of the washer and remembered that my dryer repairman (after his yearly lecture about needing to vacuum the insides of my dryer, and really, see above re suburban housewife) had shown me that my washer also had a filter that needed periodic cleaning.  I'm not quite sure what he meant by periodic, but once every 7 years seemed like a good bet to me.

So I opened the magic door and started turning some knob counterclockwise and water began pouring out.  Luckily, I had the vomit bucket nearby (empty, of course) and shoved that under the gusher and proceeded with removing what turned out to be the filter (ta-da!), which I handed to David (my trusty assistant) to clean all the gunk off of.

In short, I fixed it.  By myself.  DARE TO REPAIR, people.

So, when the water heater went out as payback, I marched into that furnace closet with my new-found handywoman confidence and stared knowingly at the latest miscreant.  Pilot light, maybe?  After reading the foot-long sticker affixed to the tank which warned me of all the ways I could blow the house up by trying to relight the pilot correctly, I gave up and called the plumber.  We all know how handy Larry and I are with pilot lights.

Monday, the plumber said.

Me, in the shower the past 3 mornings
Let's recap - we were coming up on Mulch Weekend, the weekend when showers are completely non-negotiable.  NON-NEGOTIABLE.  And there was no hot water.

Today the plumber came and fixed it.  "Thermocoupler, ma'am," he said.  "It's all fixed. That'll be $180."  Considering that Larry and I had spent 3 days taking freezing cold showers, farming the kids out to neighbor's bathrooms to get clean, and anticipating a $1000 expenditure for a new water heater, I was overjoyed by this news.  Hot water! Less than $200!  Glory hallelujah!

And THAT, my friends, was my weekend.  How was yours?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

All Aboard!

Rachel says she feels WAY better now that she has thrown up. Just wanted to share that with you all. All I can think about is the looming nightmare that is Mulch Weekend, and how a badly timed stomach virus has the ability to lay waste to all our finely-tuned plans. Essentially, I am not going to eat until Monday.

Larry isn't even aware yet that we have just boarded the Stomach Flu Express. Poor guy, he probably thinks he has everything under control. Being the father of 6 children, he should totally know better, of course. But, despite his 22 years of parenting experience, he persists in thinking that - if he just plans things well enough - reality won't rear its ugly head and spit in his face.

That sort of naïveté is rather charming, you know? Like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, only more hopeless...


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Just Call Me Czarina

Divorce lawyers love these.
Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time KNOWS that Larry and I do not work well together. We cannot shop for furniture together. We can rarely choose paint colors together. Home renovation projects? Don't even think about it. Over the years, we have developed a divide-and-conquer system to preserve marital peace. He does his thing, I do mine, and we rarely collaborate.

Hey, it works, okay?

So, when Larry started the boys in Scouting, I had no problem with it. A father-led activity, complete with monthly camping trips that left me home in relative peace and quiet? A yearly fundraising activity that did the same? Fine with me!

And then, my fatal misstep - I took over Hospitality for the troop, which job includes running the food tent for our annual Mulch Delivery Days. Still, there was a method to my madness - I figured that, so long as I had a major role in this fundraiser, no one could pressure Larry into taking charge of the time-consuming logistics of the whole mulch extravaganza - you know, the advertising, the processing of orders, the procurement of heavy equipment.  So long as I harangued people to show up with food and to staff the tent, I could prevent having our lives consumed by what had initially appeared to be a harmless way for our troop to raise some money.

Apparently, I neglected to share this theory with Larry.

Yup, he's running the mulch fundraiser this year.  Have I ever mentioned our problem with communication? Because, you see, he NEVER TOLD ME he had volunteered to be the Mulch Czar.  NOT ONCE did he mention it. Instead, I found out from another troop mom a month or so ago, who gave me a very strange look when she realized I had no idea that my spouse and I had become Mr. And Mrs. Mulch 2014.  NO IDEA.

Mulch delivery is this coming weekend. Considering that Larry had to almost physically restrain me from throttling last year's Mulch Czar when he stole one of my food tent ladies to be a driver instead, I am guessing  that our fellow troop parents will have reason to rethink the wisdom of allowing a married couple to run this fundraiser together.  And, just as payback, I plan to have the food tent ladies dress in uniform this time.


Just the outfit for our menopausal bodies

If my marriage is going to suffer, EVERYONE is going to suffer.



[Paint chips image: My Quilt Place]
[Destiny's Child image: Punching Kitty]





Friday, March 14, 2014

Hi And Oy Vey

It's late, so I am just popping in to say hi. Tomorrow or Sunday I will tell you all about why this next 8 days will be the true test of my marriage and why the couple that volunteers together may not be an ideal for you and your spouse to strive toward. Also? Communication is important, but apparently 24 years is not enough time for Larry and I to master that skill.

So, with that teaser, go to sleep; but remember, don't let your spouses become assistant scout masters - no good can come of it, I assure you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Baby, You Can Light My Fire

As we headed out to our afternoon activity today, we noticed the day had become windy.  Very windy.  As in, we kept expecting to see a witch come riding through the air on her bicycle windy.  At our destination, the kids and I saw a large pine branch crush the hood of a minivan and tear through the roof of the convertible parked next to it.

Lesson of the day: DO NOT PARK near trees.

Now it's evening and the wind has picked up again.  Rachel is sleeping on the couch because I am scared to put her in her room on the top floor.  So far we have power, but there are numerous outages in the area and the temps are plummeting down to 20 or below tonight.  So I am wondering just why Larry had to try to "fix" the gas fireplace in the den last week.  It didn't look broken to me, but he claims the jets weren't burning right.  Now, they're not burning at all.  And neither of us can remember the name of the guy who has fixed the fireplaces before.

We went downstairs later and noticed that the pilot light in the basement fireplace was out.  Because the last time we tried to light the pilot was so traumatizing, we decided to just turn off the gas and wait for the guy who we can't call because we can't remember his name to miraculously show up at our house and fix everything.  That solution may seem irrational, but it is way more sensible and inexpensive than divorce lawyers.

Sometimes?  I cannot believe we are grownups.







Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pretzels Are Not Satisfying

I couldn't get to sleep until 1:15 AM Sunday night (well, Monday morning) due to that *&%&# (sp?) time change, and then Rachel woke me at 4:15 announcing that her stomach hurt.  I realized, while lying on the couch waiting for my beloved progeny to throw up, that my stomach hurt, too.  And so we spent all of Monday not eating and generally feeling lousy.

But no one barfed!  It's a win!

Stomach bug or not, I still managed to get a long-overdue pedicure (spring green with sparkles, but I am regretting that decision) AND to attend Bunko, where I was not able to eat even ONE BITE of all that delicious food.  Alas, ye mini quiches and delicious cream-cheese chutney, I hardly knew ye.

Gosh, I'm hungry.  I did eat a few pretzels and half a banana this morning, just to see what would happen.  Consider it my contribution to science.  Now they're sort of roiling around in my intestines, trying to decide what to do.

You're welcome.

In the meantime, it's GORGEOUS here today - mid-60's and all that, which would be awesome if it weren't just a way of softening us up for the sucker punch that will be Thursday, with its high of 30.  Someone up there has just got to stop messing with us, is what I am thinking.  I'm sick of suffering from weather whiplash.

Okay, off to clean my house, which descended into unspeakable levels of squalor as I lay around doing nothing yesterday.  At least I feel needed, right?


Monday, March 10, 2014

Who Dat?

I finally understand what this is.
Well, it's happened.  Tonight I lost my Dr. Who virginity, as it were - after months of reading friends' Facebook posts about the Doctor and watching my knitting friends knitting Tardis mittens (true story) and generally feeling out of the loop, I finally got around to watching a 2005 episode on Netflix.

Yeah, I'm hooked.

You know, I grew up in the 70's and early 80's, when the word "geek" was a pejorative; so I still cannot get over how cool it is to be geeky and to like weird sci-fi shows.  I look at David (a true tech geek/science lover) and almost envy him.  I mean, if he wanted, he could actually be popular.  That option wouldn't have been open to him 35 years ago, that's for sure.

Progress, folks, we're making progress here.

On another pop culture note, I would just like to register my feeble shout of protest that "Let It Go" won Best Song at the Oscars this year.  It's a good song, but - for my money - "Happy" is better.  The performance at the Oscars blew me away, and most days I really just want to go live in this video:


I mean, really, LIVE in it.  Just me?

Friday, March 07, 2014

I NEED That Hour

Someone took my girls home with her after ice skating yesterday morning, leaving me to head back to my house ALL BY MYSELF. After briefly torturing Brian with grammar, I was free to scrub my bathrooms, clean up my living room, vacuum the floors and the rugs, and shovel all the detritus of winter (gloves, hats, tracked-in road salt, etc.) out of my entryway. Also? I prepped dinner.

It was glorious.

Today we went on a field trip, and Susie pouted through the whole thing.  "I don't LIKE airplanes," she grumbled to me, as our docent waxed rhapsodic over the first Boeing jetliner.  "I wanted to go to the bounce place."  She also refused to join the rest of the group in making paper airplanes and testing their center of gravity.  Homeschooling rebel, we call her. Poor thing, she'd like to cut class, but how?

I nursed a migraine the rest of the day. It's still here, actually, keeping me company as I type these words. Happily, Larry is the one getting up at 4:00 AM to drive David to a Civil Air Patrol event. That's totally fair, because I stayed up all night giving birth to that kid. Also, this will give Larry a head start on getting used to the time change this weekend.

Spring forward, my a** - it's more like being shoved forward, if you ask me...

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Red Carpet Moment

More complicated than they look
Remember this?  It is my paean to the JAG jeans I heard about from Anna at An Inch of Grey, the jeans with a smooth stretchy belly panel instead of an unforgiving snap, the jeans that masquerade as hip yet accommodate the unfortunate ravages of age that we middle-aged women suffer.

THOSE jeans.  I love them.  Just pull 'em on and run out the door - no struggling with the zipper, no trying to hide an unsightly bulge above the waistband.  LOVE. THEM.

So!  Thursday we had ice skating in the morning, plus I had my weekly walk date with a friend beforehand.  I got up early, showered, pulled my jeans on over my exercise pants (because it is still REALLY COLD around here), and away I went.  Walked 2 1/2 miles with my friend, threw the girls in the car, got to the skating rink, chatted with various people there and knitted while the girls skated for 2 hours, and then returned home, where Rachel discovered during lunch that her 2 upper molars were too loose to allow her to eat without bleeding.

Yum. Kids always make mealtime so darn pleasant.

So we dashed to the dentist (whom I love, because they can fit us in like that) and it was there, in the pediatric dentist's waiting room, that I noticed what I should have noticed, oh, 7 hours earlier, BEFORE I started parading around in public. 

I leaned over and whispered to Rachel, "I have a problem."

Her eyes narrowed. "What?" she whispered back.

"Don't  laugh."

"Um...okay.  What?"

"My pants.  They're backwards."

That poor girl took one glance down at my thighs, where my rear pockets were staring straight up at me (as they had been ALL MORNING), and cracked up.  Thanks, honey.

So I am not sure whether this is simply another positive attribute of these jeans (so comfortable, you can wear them backwards and forwards!) or an indicator that I am fast slipping into dementia.  Not only that, but the dementia is SO OBVIOUS that none of the friends/acquaintances I ran into all morning bothered to comment on my apparent wardrobe malfunction. 

Or maybe it's both, right?  With JAG jeans, you can really rock that senile, overweight look you swore you would never have.  At a store near you...


[Jeans image: Zappos]

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Mad for Mads

May this remain empty
So far, so good.  But I still don't have the nerve to put away the bucket or the cleaning supplies yet.  I'm not interested in tempting fate, you know.  And I think the stomach bug is waiting for my washer to die before it reappears.  Lately, the washer won't finish spinning and I go downstairs to find it blinking an error code at me and the clothes inside are still quite drippy.  So, because I like to avoid reality, I take the too-drippy clothes and throw them in the dryer (which housekeeping practice, I am sure, will result in its early demise, also) and put a new load in the washer and then everything is okay.  At least, I pretend it is.

You know, I went without a dishwasher for over 2 years and barely blinked an eye.  But I bet 36 hours would be the longest I could last without a clothes washer.  It's a good thing I've got a Best Buy 5 minutes from my house, is all I'm saying.  Because you never know when you will have an appliance emergency...

NOT a child molester, thank goodness...
I am going to a friend's house for an Oscars party on Sunday, and I am mighty pleased with the fact that I have actually seen 3 of the Best Picture nominees this year.  3!  That's a record.  And I have even watched one of the Foreign Film category nominees - The Hunt.  If you like foreign films, definitely check it out (it streams on Netflix).  The movie features Mads Mikkelsen, who frequently stars in the Danish films by Susanne Bier that I have raved about. My movie-watching friend and I adore him unreservedly, and NOT just because he's gorgeous. 

Oh, but he is.  He definitely is.



[The Hunt image: fanpop!]


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