It might work

“Yes, Your Honour…I DID IT!  I killed him!” the wife cried out.  “All those years of belittling me, treating me like some sort of slave.  Cooking and cleaning.  Raising the kids on a shoe string budget.  And then…then I heard about the lovely ginger girl he had been seeing.  After all these years! Me with nothing new to wear and he spends his money on the floozy from the diner!  Ha!  She was young enough to be his daughter.  Disgusting!  Despicable!” she hollered. “Such a simple plan! HA HA HA!” she laughed maniacally as she was dragged back to her prison cell.  

As she sat in the small cell she smiled victoriously to herself thinking about her triumph. Oh yes!  I did it!  The world should be rid of scum like him.  I’m glad I did it.  Oh sure, it wasn’t easy to get him to take the poison.  It took me weeks of planning.  Then my dream came true.  The poison presented itself in the most imperceptible way.  Oh sure, trying to get him to eat it was hard enough, but watching him take each bite made it all worthwhile.  I wished his red-headed bimbo could’ve seen him as he choked it back.

No matter what I tried to do to get my husband to eat his vegetables, he was always such a baby.  Actually, I had an easier time getting the kids to each their vegetables. But no…not my big, strong, husband.  Ha!  Brussels sprouts, broccoli, peppers, spinach.  Oh no….he wouldn’t eat those.  And then it hit me!  Caesar salad.  Sure he’ll eat that!  Romaine lettuce smothered in that creamy, garlicky sauce, with a sprinkling of that snow white parmesan and bits of greasy bacon to cover the poison.  Yeah, I knew he would eat that.  Die! Die! Die!

For once I was glad he didn’t watch the news.  The sports channel was all he wanted to see.  Watch the game.  Watch the re-run of the game.  Watch the plays of the day of each game.  Huh.  Well I showed him didn’t I.  

“Why don’t you watch the news.  Find out about current events,” I would off-handedly mention.

“Who cares!” he would yell out. “Accidents, robberies, fires, earthquakes.  I’m a regular Nostradamus.” he would say.  “I predict there is one of those somewhere in the world,” he would quip. “Now go get my supper and it had better be hot!”  

Yeah, that was what I had heard nightly for 23 years. When the children were younger I had learned to feed them their dinner first so they wouldn’t bother their father.  They asked too many questions and he didn’t like that.  He didn’t like them knowing that he didn’t have all the answers.  Actually, he didn’t have any of the answers unless it was about sports stats.

Well, on this night I told him that I had a surprise for him for dinner.  He was gonna have a loaded baked potato and a nice peppercorn steak, medium well…just the way he liked it.

“Really?” he asked. “Why?”  

“Steaks were on sale.  I bought one just for you,” I trilled.  “Don’t you want it?” I asked. “If not I’m sure the kids would enjoy it,” I teased.

“Don’t be stupid.  Gimme the steak.” he growled.  “And it better not be medium rare,” he warned.

My plan was working. I had to remain calm. I took a deep breath as I walked over carrying the salad. “Here’s your Caesar salad.  Just like in the restaurants,” I said cheerfully, plunking the bowl down in front of him.

“I hate salad!” he snorted, as he turned his snarling face toward me.

“I know, I know, but this is special dressing.  I didn’t make it.  It’s that celebrity chef’s fancy dressing.  It was on clearance so I got it for half price,” I rambled on, “and it’s got bacon bits and everything…just like in the restaurants.”

He turned his head back to face the tv screen. Distractedly he shovelled the salad into his mouth.  I smiled as he took each big bite. Forkful after forkful and the salad was gone. Every last leaf of it.

I took the salad bowl into the kitchen and washed the bowl right away. I dried it then put it back on the shelf, nestling it into the other bowls. I plated his steak, done medium well, and plopped the baked potato beside it. I topped the steaming hot potato with sour cream and chives…and more bacon. Maybe he would have a coronary. I could dream couldn’t I?

“Here you go,” I said as I placed the plate in front of him.

“Move out of the way,” he barked, “you’re blocking the tv.”

I grinned as I walked away. Say what you want, I thought, you won’t be talking for too much longer. My plan had worked. Sure, the steak had cost me a fortune, but I wasn’t a savage. Every person should be able to enjoy their last meal, right?

The pain started the next day. He rolled around in bed moaning, clutching his stomach. I kept telling him it would pass. Maybe he was lactose intolerant and was just feeling gassy. It progressed to horrible diarrhea and then the bloody urine by day 3. Oh…this was bad.

“Take me to the hospital,” he said weakly on day 4. I told him it was just symptoms of a viral infection. It was nothing bad and it would pass within a day or two. Since I was a Registered Nurse he believed me and lay back down on his sweat moistened pillow.

By day 5 he was weak and dehydrated and had nothing much to say. I knew his kidneys were failing. It would be over soon. He couldn’t even keep water down and without an IV feeding him, his body would start shutting down. I, his doting wife, kept up my vigilant care-taking; care-Faking. HA HA!

And on the 7th day…I rested. He was dead.

I never thought they would do an autopsy. Why would they? A man dies at home with his loving wife taking care of him; a trained healthcare professional.

I found out at trial what had happened. While I was in the kitchen plating his steak and potato, my husband had texted his ginger-haired girlfriend: Hey gorgeous! Loverboy eating Caesar salad.  

His bimbo watched the news.

E. coli outbreak: Romaine lettuce. At least 32 people have been sickened in the US, with 13 taken to hospital, while another 18 people have been stricken in Canada. The latest outbreak follows the deaths of at least five people in the summer linked to romaine lettuce.” She decided to show the cops the text she had received. She thought it might be relevant after she saw his obituary notice.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Carnivores live longer. (haha…kidding!)

Actually, I thought this story would make a great excuse for those of you who hate to eat vegetables. Now you can say, “I can’t eat that salad, I might die from E. coli!”

It might work.

P.S. One of my favourite short stories is by Roald Dahl and it’s called Lamb to the Slaughter. A fascinating quick read.

It’s good to be…sleeping

As a teenager I would sleep until mid afternoon. My mother would watch me saunter down the stairs, my hair in disarray, my eyes bloodshot. As my mother would look upon my disheveled form she would say, in a disgusted voice, “I hope you don’t TELL people you sleep this late.” It never made sense to me. Why would anyone care what time I slept until? Was I taking time away from their snooze-fest? Besides, I finally turned off my light and went to sleep around 4 in the morning. So, I was just trying to get my 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. What is wrong with sleeping?

After some intense analysis I realized that my Catholic mother had two problems with my tardy wakening. First, she definitely believed she had a lazy daughter, which was an absolute disability, a handicap so bad that she would never be able to marry me off. Yeah, it was the late 1980s early 1990s, but in her old-ways European life mentality, her goal was all about selling off…ahem…marrying off her daughter to a good family. The second thing was that “sloth” was (and is) one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Not only was her daughter the epitome of laziness, not only would my mom never be able to find me a mate, but when my life finally DID expire on this earth she knew that her beloved spawn would burn in hell forever which ultimately meant she was a bad mother. Everything in my life somehow directly affected her life. That, however, is a story for another day. Actually, it’s more like a novella, but I digress (as usual).

Lazy. I wasn’t lazy. I was tired. Staying up late when the house was nice and quiet was when I got most of my homework done. HA! HOMEWORK! Yeah right. The witching hour was when I would haul the land line phone into my closet and call my boyfriend and we would whisper chat. Or I’d meet my sister by the tv set in the family room at 1 a.m. so we could watch music videos. THAT was definitely banned. One tv in the WHOLE house and limited viewing time.  There were horrible things like “rock videos” and those were very bad because there was nudity (like bald people) and people dressed weird and screaming at you (like Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It which was definitely devil’s work. Hmmm, come to think of it, most of the stuff that was FUN was devil’s work. All this banned stuff made sense (sort of), but sleep…being bad?

Now, back to my original tale of my teenage obsession with sleep.  The reason I liked sleeping so much was that I finally had my very own room which contained my very own double (nowadays called “full”) bed.  There were 4 of us children. We lived in a very large 4 bedroom home. Now here is how bed/bedroom assignments worked in our house.  Parental figures had one of the 4 bedrooms.  That left 3 bedrooms for 4 children. Initially my younger brother and I shared a room, but as we went from toddler to tween the whole boy/girl in same room was not an option. So, my parents put me and my sister together in a room.  It was great!  She is 5 years older than me.   At that time she was so excited that her little sister was sharing HER room and asking questions about HER teenage stuff.  And her little sister would not shut the hell up at night because wee sister came alive at bedtime.  Big sister decided that there needed to be some rules:  No more asking questions about her teenage girl stuff.  No talking at bedtime.  No tossing and turning in the squeaky bed.  No looking at older sister.  No using big sister’s stuff.  Little sis allowed in room ONLY at bedtime.  Oh, little sister must learn not to breathe cause that was annoying too.  After a few days of this sisterly love-fest, I got to vacate.  I went from pauper to princess and got my very own room.

(Sidenote:  My older brother…who is even older than my sister, had to share a room with baby brother…9 years younger.  I don’t think my big brother has ever forgiven me for having him displaced from his solitary haven.) 

Anyway, back to my original tale of the zombie teen in the kitchen.  I thought about the whole “lazy” thing and then thought about how the bible actually referred to this particular sin as “sloth”. Sloths were super cool. I had seen one once while watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. (That was the show we had to watch first in order to be allowed to watch the Magical World of Disney. It was a trade off: Learn, then laugh.) But this day was totally worth it cause sloths are incredibly amazing! They look like they are smiling ALL THE TIME! Like a big teddy bear. And they love hugging tree branches which means they love hugs and I love hugs so I was definitely the epitome of sloth-dom.

I tried to explain this thought process to my mother. The whole laziness = sloth = happy animal = GOD LOVES EVERYONE! That last one was always my go to response when my parents poo-pooed people. I used it if my parents didn’t like one of the neighbour kids, “but God loves everyone.”  Or I’d try this one:  Jesus even said to ‘love thy neighbour’.  I could almost hear their eyes rolling at me.  To be fair, I was trained in Commando Verbal Warfare by the best of the best: My Mother.  In the end, I was informed that God could love these people at their own houses and we could love people from afar and sloth and laziness were still bad.  I would still pat myself on the back for the good effort I had put forward.  I wouldn’t win the battle, but hoped to win the war.  Time passed.

As an adult in my partying 20s, I managed to get, maybe 3 to 4 hours of sleep a night. Not sure how I coped or functioned, but I managed to drive my car, do daily work assignments, and basically function like a normal human being. After aging and graduating into the upper echelons of adult society, thoughts of partying were put the wayside because the one thing I cherished most was once again, the nestling of my head into my down and feather pillow and watching my digital clock on weekends as it went from 6 am to 8 am to 9 am to double digits like 10 am and 11 am. Each time I checked the time I would smile, contentedly.  No guilt.  No thoughts of laziness.  I prefer to call it a luxury.  Get it while you can and enjoy it.  Snuggle yourself into your blankets and dream those happy dreams.  No need to get dressed.  No need to run around and think about errands.  It’s the best de-stresser. 

Tomorrow is Saturday.  I have no plans.  Full disclosure, I have one plan:  Sleep in and be happy.



Inhale…and…still trying

My usual daily attitude is one of supreme happiness. I mark my visage with a gloriously toothy grin. I smile at one and all. There is always something around me that can make me feel content about life. I am your typical Pollyanna believing that every day can be the “Best Day Ever”! That WAS true until yesterday at about 2:42 pm when my cheery soul was kidnapped and replaced with a dark a demented life sucker.

What happened? I am the poster child for health. Got a cold? I’ll be your healer. Nothing ever affects me. Ever. Well, the day of “ever” has finally arrived and I have been royally knocked over onto my keister. Maybe I’m being overdramatic, but saying I’ll rather be dead is really a thought that has crossed my mind. Let me explain how my brain when from sunshine and lollipops to a machete-wielding psychopath.

TIMELINE:

Day 1: Slight sniffle. Nothing new there. It’s a transition from my nice warm home to the chilly outdoors. The air is cool and refreshing. It’s winter in Canada. I have my down-filled winter coat on. I am wearing my fur-lined hood. I have my thick winter gloves on and my faux-fur lined woolly boots. My body is sufficiently protected from the elements. I have preheated my car and I’m ready to roll. *sneeze.

Day 2: *sniffle, sniffle, sniffle, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze, sneeze. Ok, this is annoying. *blow nose. Ok, that’s 6 facial tissues used in as many seconds. This ain’t right. (Yeah, my brain forgets grammar when I’m not feeling 100%). Ok, it’s a cold. Drink lots of fluids. Amp up the Vitamin C. Pull out the echinacea pins. All defenses up! Time to get fighting! I am ready for battle!

Day 3: *cough, cough, sniffle, sniffle, sneeze, sneeze, blow nose. My eyes are going to fall out of my head. Really, it’s true! Blinking is actually painful. I never realized how often I blink in one day. My sinuses…my throat…my ears…my nose. I am very aware of my facial orifices. Everything hurts. My nose is raw and red from sneezing and blowing. My sinuses are chock full of something because they are the ones trying to push my eyeballs out of my head. The pain is incredible. Ouch. I blinked again. THAT HURTS! How is it possible that blinking hurts! I have had migraines, and that is painful, but this whole body soreness is … NO I’M NOT WHINING!

Day 4: *cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze, nose whistle, sneeze, blow nose. I think a bug landed on my arm. There is a bruise the size of a grapefruit there now. I never knew how much skin I had on my body. I put some hand cream on my crocodile-skin legs and arms. The chore itself made me wonder how I usually have the ability to lift my arms daily, as now they each weigh about 2000 lbs. How does my neck hold my head? It really is a a miracle. Breathing…something I definitely took for granted. I try to breathe through my mouth because my nose no longer wants to do that job. *Inhale…COUGH COUGH HACK HACK COUGH COUGH! Right! That’s why my nose needs to get back to doing the breathing thing ’cause my mouth doesn’t want to be the substitute. My next thought…I wonder if I can learn to breathe through my ears. It might be easier.

Day 5:

Day 6: I don’t know what happened to day 5. With my Sherlock Holmes hat on, I survey my surroundings and try to deduce what happened. Here is what I see: Box of facial tissues…an empty box. Pile of “used” tissues. Bottle of water. Bottles of pills: Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex, echinacea, Advil. Small bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil, mug with camomile tea bag, jar of honey, spoon of honey stuck to nightstand. Shot glass? *sniff. Cognac. Well, looks like Day 5 was my Armageddon. I chose my weapons both herbal and man-made. Looks like my flu bug cocktail of choice knocked me out for the day. Unconsciousness was a much better way of dealing with this hideous illness. Good news…at home and not in hospital.

Day 7: One week of my life play “Torturing Pollyanna”. Wait…*sniff. I think my one nostril is working. *cough, cough. Ok, so if I inhale I cough. Breathing leads to venomous vipers ripping at my throat. Still trying to get my ears to do my breathing.

Day 8: Have I blinked yet today? I must have. No pain. *blink-blink. Woo hoo! I am on the mend! My nose…oh bless you…no, not from sneezing. Bless you for coming off strike and taking up your old job again. I love you, you snot-filled wonder. You are incredible. I touch my nose, gingerly. The poor thing is so sore. It’s scraped raw from all that horrible facial tissue. My arms aren’t as heavy anymore. They feel like they weigh their usual normal weight. What is that…off in the distance? Are we reaching the finish line toward salvation?

Day 15: It has been 3 weeks and I feel like a totally different person. I am reborn. I am so grateful for surviving that horrible illness. It wasn’t even the flu like I thought. I never had a fever. But let me tell you, I am beyond happy at being one of the healthy again. I love my nose, my throat, my lungs. I even love my ears (I do think at one point they did take in a few breaths for me…how else could I have survived?).

So, my Pollyanna-ism has grown exponentially larger. I am even more grateful and happy with everything I have in my life. My happy medicine that healed me. My body that worked hard to get me back to my usual happy self.

Salute! To my body…you are incredible!

Key in the Door…

vacuum

dust

clean bathroom

pay bills

laundry

wash bedding

This is my TO DO list this week.   Hmmmm, come to think of it, this looks very, very similar to the TO DO list from last week.  Wait, wait, wait…ah yes, here is it.  My list from February of this year (10 months ago) that I found in my coat pocket yesterday when I put on my winter parka.  Well, whaddya know…it’s identical to these other lists.  Nope, nope, “wrap birthday present” was on this February list, but other than that…IDENTICAL.  Oh my goodness!  Is my life really that predictable and monotonous? 

This dull list got me thinking about two things.  First thing: if my February and December lists were pretty much the same, then why oh why do I keep re-writing it?  Maybe I should have a master board with a master list and maybe 2 or 3 blank spaces where I can add anomalies if necessary.  This would save an invaluable amount of time as well as stacks of note paper (note:  I write my lists down, printing them on narrow note pad paper (3.5″ x 7″ or 8.9 cm x 17.8 cm).  Then again, perhaps there is some other twisted reason why I prefer to write lists.

Ok, I’ll confess.  I like being able to grab my click pen (or sharpened pencil, or 0.05 fine tip marker) and dramatically scratch off a completed item from the TO DO list.  As soon as my bed sheets are in the washing machine, I dart triumphantly upstairs, hoist my pen as if it were a sword and masterfully stroke through the words “wash bedding”.  What a feeling!  I’d compare it to winning an Iron Man marathon or being first in line at the grocery store checkout.  WINNING!  

For all you list makers out there, you understand the elation and sense of accomplishment felt when you cross items off this list of chores.  It’s like winning … at life!  You have proven that you can complete assigned tasks and goals.  And perhaps I am also not unique in adding an item to the sheet AFTER it has already been completed in order to be able to strike a line through it.  DONE!  YAY ME!  Yes, I do that…as any normal person with OCD would do.  A list chock full of crossed off words is so satisfying and rewarding!  

This brings me to my second thought, and possibly (probably) even more vital:  is my life that boring and predictable?  This regurgitated list is what I “hope” to accomplish during the weekend.  Saturday and Sunday are my days to fulfill this wish-list of chores.  Yes, they are chores.  They represent grunt work.  A task to be done and I am the self-appointed Task Master.  I know that there are many other things I do on weekends, but those never get scribbled down.  So why am I writing (re-writing) a list that isn’t even accurate?

After much deliberation, I have realized that my TO DO list is more of a may I recommend list or a maybe list.  

 Maybe I’ll vacuum if I’m not playing with the grandkids.

I would recommend washing my bed sheets, but best to toss ’em into the hamper and pull out the spare set.  That’s what the spare ones are for right?  I recommend hanging out with my aunt instead.  

I think I’ll go shopping with my sister on Saturday, so maybe I’ll get around to dusting.

I should clean my tub and sink…or maybe I’ll hop in my car and go for a nice scenic drive to visit my niece.

It was my aunt who wisely explained that the whole cleanliness is next to Godliness mantra is nice and all, but sometimes you just have to “put the key in the door and go live your life.” 

“Huh?”  I was befuddled. 

She reiterated:  “You stand outside your home.  Put your key in the door and lock up your house nice and tight.  Then turn your back to the door, head out into the wild world and go live your life.”  My aunt sauntered off ahead of me and then said calmly, “the dust will be there when you get back.” 

“Yeah, I don’t like coming back to all these chores…the dusting, the vacuuming, the mopping.  So much to do.  My house is a mess!”  I complained.

“Oh sure, I understand,” she mollified me.  “It’s better to make sure your house is clean for when the Pope comes to visit instead of using that little bit of free weekend time you have to hang out with your friends or family,” she snipped sarcastically.  My aunt then held my hands in hers, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Life is short,” she began, “one day you’ll receive news that the person you were planning to see next weekend…because this weekend you were scrubbing toilets…is now gone forever,” she said sardonically.  “Believe me, dust will always be there,” she continued, “but the people you care about might not be.”  Message received Wise(-ass) Auntie of mine.  I love her!

My home will not pass the white glove test.  If you run your fingers along the tables or ledges, you will find a thin layer of dust and a myriad of multiplying dust bunnies hanging out like gangsters in the dark corners of some rooms.  One weekday evening after work they’ll get sucked up into my supersonic vacuum cleaner.  For now, I’ll let ’em live a little since I will be doing the same thing.  

If you are driving by my house some weekend you just might find me standing outside my front door with my head slightly bent over.  I will be inserting my key into the lock and smiling contentedly as I hear my aunt’s voice in my head saying, “put the key in the door.  Go live your life.”

Timbit friendly…

Winter is here.  It has arrived a month earlier than usual…then again, it’s Canada, so no…not really.  However, there is something that happens at this particular time of year which seems to affect the whole country.  Nope, not snowfall, although that does happen.  Lack of sleep?  Oh yes, with the time change “Spring Forward, Fall Back” (we are in the “fall back” an hour stage), it gets expectedly unexpectedly dark early.  (Ok, that was a weird way of phrasing that we know it’s gonna be dark earlier but we are still surprised when it happens.  Read it again.  It makes sense.)  All I’m saying is that it gets dark earlier and it actually seems to be dark all the time so we all seem super tired and sleepy.   Yes, it is a widespread epidemic, but that’s not the epidemic I am referring to.  When the biting winds of winter arrive it seems that everyone has a need to fill their bellies with:  TIMBITS!

Ok, this is definitely a Canadian illness.  It’s a wanton desire.  It’s inescapable.  It’s contagious.  You can go the whole summer without noshing on fried dough, but come the chill of winter your body flips on some invisible switch that makes you desire, nay, voraciously crave something yeasty and luxuriously covered in sugar.  Oh sure, donuts have their appeal, but there is something special about a small dough ball that you can pop into your mouth and devour in mere seconds.  It’s instant gratification!  It’s immediate satisfaction!  It’s a bite-sized piece of heaven.

Other areas of the world have their two-bite confectionary creations.  France is known for their petit fours and their macarons.  How about the Danish aebleskiver?  Then there are chocolatey two-bite brownies and flavourful mini cupcakes. Ok, I’m getting all snack-craving crazy.  You get the idea.  Little treats are good and yummy, but when the Canadian winter hits, we need fried food for sustenance.  Sweet is nice, but you need that deep-fried goodness to help you feel fuller, and happier, longer.

Ok, I am prejudiced about these little balls of deep fried joy.  Sometimes you don’t want to eat a WHOLE donut.  Sure, I love an apple fritter as much as the next person, but sometimes, your tastebuds crave a plethora of distinct flavours.  Sometimes you desire a gooey strawberry donut covered in sneeze-worthy icing (powdered) sugar.  Want chocolate?  Well there is Timbit made especially for you.  It’s your birthday!  Then there is the birthday Timbit covered in rainbow sprinkles.  There is a bite of heaven for everyone!  

If I really want to take this to next level, I really think Timbits could lead to world peace.  They come in a variety of colours and flavours so they are obviously not racist.  When people see Timbits they smile and are happy.  They don’t talk about suicide bombing or making war.  Timbits are all about making people happy.  There is always enough so no one feels left out.  They are affordable so there are no economic discrepancies between rich and poor as all can afford to purchase them.  Timbits bring out the philanthropist in all of us. 

Picture this scenario.  It’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  The day has been laborious and monotonous.  People are cranky and hangry.  It’s dark outside (yeah, it’s Canada).  Suddenly, the wind whistles and howls inside the office as the front door blows open.  A colleague has entered, slightly disheveled due to the high winds, and with a precocious smile lifts a small box into the air.  The person magnanimously states (almost with a god-like booming voice) “I have brought Timbits.”  The carton is delivered into the lunchroom, and placed ceremoniously onto the counter.  And with an accompanying smirk of self-importance gleaming upon their face they have completed their glorious endeavour.  There is no one quite as special as The Deliverer of the Timbits.  Life has meaning again.

Around the office there are whispers of, “Timbits in the lunchroom.”  The Good News spreads to the far reaches.  Exhausted employees slowly get up and slink off quietly to the lunchroom to grab some little fried balls of sweet energy and euphoric happiness.  Words of thanks are heaped upon The Deliverer.  The outdoor darkness of the afternoon has been metamorphosised into a kaleidoscope of rainbow Timbit ecstasy.  The sugar-hit makes the group cheerful and friendly.  Another afternoon of dread has been avoided.  All hail the Timbit!

Ok, mayhap there is a wee bit of an exaggeration on my part.  Honestly, it’s not that far from the truth.  If you don’t believe me, walk into any office, any classroom, any study group, any hospital, any house of prayer, basically any room where there are a group of people milling about and present them with a lovely box of the Tim Hortons Party Pack containing 50 Timbits…various flavours, naturally.  Just the sight of the box will have their eyes begin to twinkle, their mouths begin to salivate, and their heart begin to race.  No, they aren’t rabid.  They are Timbit friendly.

You are beautiful…I love you

I finally get it.  Oh, it took me several months to finally see what this particular group of people see daily when they look in a mirror and examine themselves.  The realization and comprehension took me by surprise, but I am so glad that I FINALLY GET IT!  Oh, I am talking about thin people looking at themselves and thinking they are fat.  WHAT?!

I reinvent my look every few years.  I am a confirmed shopaholic.  I LOVE buying clothes.  I love buying shoes.  I will venture into designer stores and I will frequent Goodwill.  I am not too choosy about where I buy, but I am choosy about what I buy.  I think my subconscious knows how much I enjoy cavorting in malls so once I have reached my allotted closets space (yes, I have commandeered more than one closet), my body suddenly transforms.  

Ok, it’s not sudden.  It’s more laboriously time consuming…like 6 months or a year, or two.  I will go from a svelte size 6 and balloon to a size 14. I have gone from being a weensy, boney size 4 to a plump and cuddly size 1X (I think that’s a nice way of saying size 18, I believe).  So, I have been all over the board with my body size (and all over the malls…lol).  

My most challenging mind game was learning to love my plus size body; all the bumps and lumps and squishiness of me.  And I did learn to love it… every big bit of it.  Even when my mother mocked and shamed me, I still loved the round cherub cheeks I had, and my breasts…OH WOW…full and quite glamorous.  Though I loved the Mrs. Claus version of me, my lungs were clambering for oxygen after walking up a flight of stairs.  So, it was time for me to start my journey to becoming a healthier me.  Not necessarily a non-fluffy me, but just a person who could walk and not get winded.  A person who could lift a toddler without her back going out.

I began with healthier eating.  Load up my plate with the colours of the rainbow…broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, eggplant, et. al.  You get the idea.  The bland whites and beiges were absent for a little while.  No bread.  No pasta.  No cookies.  No donuts.  I re-introduced those after I lost 40 lbs, but there were no longer any carb-fests that I had previously enjoyed.  Anyway, after shedding parts of me, I joined a gym.  (Technically, hubby Wiseguy signed us both up).  Well, after a couple of months of “healthy” eating AND three days a week at the gym (for an hour) I have a new-to-me amazing body!  I mean, my body is an incredible thing and it can do some amazing stuff!  

Before this “new” me, I couldn’t lift 2 lb weights without heaving and straining and now I can lift and hoist 40 lbs.  I can lift toddlers without breaking a sweat.  I can do squats like a champ…which means kidlets can be bounced on my lap and I no longer have to worry about getting a Charley Horse.  Amazing!  I am lookin’ goooooood!  I have rounded shoulders, thanks to my newly formed muscles.  My bat wings … non-existent!  My calves and thighs; toned and sinewy.  Look at me being a femme fatale version of Arnie (Arnold Schwarzenegger).  I’m feeling great and looking great!  Or am I?

I’ve been thinner now for about a year, but I started working out about 8 months ago.  Now when I look in the mirror I am finding faults with my body. My thighs only seem toned if I flex them.  The mushy flab around my belly is still wiggly and jiggly.  Where is the 6-pack I am supposed to have?  It’s obvious…I am fat.  Yup, that is what I see when I look in the mirror and see my reflection.  My butt (sorry, not into the big butt look for myself), but I just see cellulite and flab.  What happened?  I weigh 40 lbs less than I used to be so why do I feel and look fatter now?  Apparently, I am not alone with this bizarro way of thinking.

Phantom Fat.  It’s actually a thing. Basically, your mind still believes and subsequently sees the bigger you that you were.  So, after I lost weight I found I was still trying on large size clothes and would be surprised when they were too big.  Even now, I try on small clothes now and am surprised when they fit.  “Must be American version of small which is really like a real-size large,” is what my brain tells me.  

I am still surprised when people I haven’t seen in awhile tell me how great I look.  They ask me how I shed the pounds, which is easy to talk about.  What shocks me is how tiny they think I am.  I don’t see it.  I quickly change the topic because I feel like a fake and a liar.  

I will tell you that when I accepted the soft, pudgy me, I was happy and loving life.  Oh sure, I ate my feelings (food has always been my go-to comfort when life gets hectic).  Now, I worry when I have my latte and biscotti.  I worry when I skip a day going to the gym.  I worry about not fitting into the clothes I have purchased.  I worry about the food I eat thinking I’ll gain 50 lbs after one meal.  Who would’ve thought that losing weight and being healthy could become a mental hazard?  

I wasn’t going write about this, but I thought there might be someone out there having the same unrealistic thoughts and wondering if they were the only person having these crazy thoughts.  Well guess what?  There’s a bunch of us trying to overcome this weird way of dealing with something that is actually a great thing!   

So today I will stop judging myself and go back to my old mantra that I used when I was trying to love and accept my biggy, squishy me.  I will look at myself in that full length mirror and tell that wonderful person, “You are beautiful and I love you.”  


The Cold War…

Fall as arrived.  The leaves are beginning to change colour.  The air has a fresh chill to it.  The stagnant, humid and stifling air of summer is no more.   That also means the cold days of summer are finally over.  Yes, I wrote that correctly:  the “cold” days of summer.  I work in an office.  Come summer, the thermostat gets set at something close to minus freezing.  This is to ensure that a “normal” room temperature is achieved.  At least, that is what the men in the building say.  I’ll give you a replay of a “summer day” at my work.

I have just gotten out of my air conditioned car (see, I don’t mind air conditioning) and I’m headed toward the front door of the office building where I work.  The air is thick with mugginess.  My straightened hair has begun to curl from the humidity.  My lacquered toes are peeping out from my strappy light pink sandals.  I am wearing a floral calf length summer dress.  It’s blowing breezily around my legs as the hot air blows around me.  As I open the front door to the building my breath catches in my throat.  The air is frigid.  Holy smokes I’ve walked into a meat locker!  Nope, nope, my mistake.  It definitely is my place of work.  I walk slowly toward my desk.  I am attempting to keep the warm air of the outdoors upon me as a shield until I can make it to my desk.  The final destination has emergency provisions in order to ensure regular blood flow and circulation thus halting any impending hypothermia.

My legs begin to stiffen.  My breathing is becoming shallower.  “KEEP MOVING!” yells my brain.  I finally make it to my desk and slump into my chair.  Blessedly my “office sweater” is still there.  I shakily take it off the back of the chair and slide first my left, then my right arm into the long knit sleeves.  The ice that was beginning to form has now begun to melt.  I am grateful for my office sweater.

The office sweater is a special garb.  It can be purchased in any store, but Walmart, Sears,  Target are good places.  You could even pick one up at a charity store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  It needs to be soft because itchy sweaters don’t feel too good on ice cold body parts.  It is usually a large or extra large size making it more or less a one size fits all.  This is imperative as it will undoubtedly need to accommodate other women (sufferers) in the office.  This is especially certain during those times when someone has brought an office sweater home to wash it and has forgotten to return with it.  YOUR office knit will save their life.  Pockets, on this coveted article of clothing, are a bonus.  This is the receptacle for your facial tissue (due to dripping nose syndrome) and perhaps even lip balm.  You will eventually discover you have dry lips due to the chattering of your lips and harsh breaths you will inhale in order to maintain your status as a member of the living.

After putting on my office sweater, I reach under my desk and turn on my space heater.  As the coils start to glow red, I begin to have feeling in my toes.  The numbness in my toes has abated.  I happily wiggle my little piggies.  It feels so good.  I can feel the heat on them now.  My fingers have changed from the blue hue to a lovely pink vibrant and healthy colour.  I pull up the sleeves on my office sweater…to my wrists only…and turn on my computer.  If the sleeves went up any higher my arms would hit the slab of a cold desk and ice me out. There needs to be a buffer of warmth against the chillness of the desk.   After the anti-thaw ritual, I can now begin my workday.

During the course of the day, I will get up to visit the ladies room.  This particular room does not seem to get affected by the office temperature.  It’s a nice neutral room, but you can’t stay there forever.  My red legs (from the space heater) work as a shield as I walk around the office space.  Its defensive properties last about 3.17 minutes.  After that there are no guarantees.  I would liken it to an astronaut being lost in space.  Eventually the atmosphere will get you and kill you.  Getting back to your ship, a.k.a. desk, is the only way to survive.

I have visitors on especially hot summer days.  The OWNS (OWNS = Ones With No Sweater) announce their arrival at my desk with the loud chattering of their teeth.  They stand huddled together around my chair.  We breath sighs of relief as the heat emanates gloriously from beneath my desk.  The steady warmth can be felt for up to a two-foot circumference.  Colour returns to cheeks and lips.  Arms and legs begin to move more freely.  There is much rejoicing after the thaw.

This may sound like a tall tale, a complete fabrication.  I thought this scourge was only experienced by the females at my workplace.  Then one day, whilst surfing the [inter]net, I saw THIS documentary.

 

So here it is…the season of fall.  That time of year when the grand decision is made to ceremoniously unlock the thermostat and transition the office atmosphere from “frosty” to “toasty”.  Ladies!  Put away the communal office sweater.  Let it hibernate majestically for another year!  Now for closing prayer:

Thank you to the sweater gods

Who clothed and warmed our chilly bods

May office warmth be here to stay

So we can live another day.

Hallelujah!  We have survived another Cold War and we are grateful.