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Friday, January 8, 2016

Ungracefully Aging


I recently ran into some friends who, after a few moments of catching up, looked at me with all seriousness and softly asked “How are you?”

I haven’t put many updates out regarding my health since there isn’t a lot to tell; which is a good thing. I really don’t want to be known as “the cancer chick” but I cannot help but have that attached to me, especially since I have been so open about it. I have so many other things going on that I try to focus on them but even though I try my best to move on, it is a part of my life I can never forget and I appreciate that my friends care enough to ask. So here is a quick update.

Right now I have nothing but good news. I went a few months ago for my 2 year check-up and everything was good, my mammogram was clean, my reconstructed side hadn’t popped or anything horrific-  so that’s nice, my blood work is also good (not that they check much). Even my cholesterol and blood pressure is good – go me!

I don’t go back to the oncologist until May and I see a new doctor since mine is retiring next month. I hope she is good and doesn’t constantly bring up how all the meds and surgeries may cause a dry vajayjay like my current oncologist liked to warn me about in her thick Russian accent. Yes, she did that at nearly every visit. Even the ones with my Dad and Mother-in-law present.

Awkward.

Because I had that hysterectomy in April I had to do a bone density test which, by the way, is the easiest test I have EVER taken.

The worst part of a bone density scan is that you cannot have calcium 24 hours prior. When you consider that I have had MRI’s, CT scans, and PET scans, etc. this was a joy to attend. Also, I don’t really do dairy due to the lactose intolerance I have developed so it didn’t make me cry to not have to choke down the enormous horse pill I take twice a day every day.

For the scan you have to lie down on a table while they x-ray you. It is fast, comfortable, and does not involve needles (Yippee! I celebrate those things!). Obviously this test is typically not for women in their 30s. Even though I was well aware that I have the organs of an 80 year old trapped in the partially sagging skin of a 37 year old, the questions asked made me that much more mindful that I am aging poorly and have to endure tests that are designed for people approximately 30 years older than me. It must have been fate that I dressed up as Sophia from the Golden Girls for Halloween since I have to go to appointments typically for that age bracket.

Question 1 – Why are you here?

My response: My doctor ordered this test to get a baseline since I had a hysterectomy a few months ago.

My thoughts: Can you not read the damn chart? I am not here because I have nothing better to do.

Question 2 – Is there a possibility of you being pregnant? Wait – no you wouldn’t be here if there were.

 My response: Polite smile.

 My thoughts? Didn’t we just go over how I had a hysterectomy?

Question 3 – Do your pants have a zipper?

My response: Yes they do.

My thoughts: Can you not look at me and see that I am young enough to where I don’t yet wear polyester pants with an elastic waist band? Not yet…

Question 4 – Are you wearing a bra?

My response: Yes I am.

My thoughts: For real? Why wouldn’t you wear a bra? Especially since most people who get this test are at the age wear if they don’t have on a bra then their chest is settling on their stomach.

The x-rays took all of 30 seconds and I was able to return to work, Yay (not really). I had an appointment with my oncologist a few days later who went over everything with me and assured me that my test showed that I shouldn’t break a hip if I fall down anytime soon. Which is a good thing since I went skating a week later and fell on my behind, leaving a bruise the same size and shape as my cell that was in my back pocket.

I don’t go back to my oncologist until May, when I get to meet my new one. Here’s to hoping that my next visit goes just as well as the last ones and we don’t have any conversations about my hoo-ha.  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

7 Reasons Why My Shelf Will Keep Its Elf


I have been seeing tons of anti-elf posts on the interwebs trash-talking the little guy and some that are trying to off him mafia style. Many (and by many I mean most) of my friends agree whole-heartedly with those posts. They forget to move it, don’t feel like making the effort to be creative and hate the whole don’t-touch-him-or-he’ll-lose-his-magic-and-then-Christmas-is-ruined-forever-and-its-all-your-fault thing. I agree, it is a hassle and who wants the pressure of ruining lives by not moving the elf, or worse, touching it.
The answer? Me.

I love the Elf. Even though he has a creepy little smile and eyes that seem to follow you around I delight in having him in my house for a month. And I am obviously not the only one or Pinterest wouldn’t have thousands of ideas at my disposal and Target wouldn’t have an entire area devoted to it. So for my Elf-loving friends, here are 7 reasons why I plan to Elf my shelf to the bitter end.

1.       My kids don’t fight waking up in the mornings. Eleven months out of the year they pull the covers over their heads and plead “just 5 more minutes!”, which turns into 10 and I turn into Drill Sargent Mommy; barking out orders and growling about how I am going to be late for work… again. During December I get a small reprieve as they bolt out of bed to see who can spot him first. Of course then they fight because so-and-so found him first yesterday, but they can dress and argue at the same time.  

2.       Homework gets done faster and with far fewer complaints. My oldest is a people pleaser, which means she wants our Elf, Kippy, to see what a good pupil she is. As soon as she gets home from school she announces in an unnaturally loud voice that she is going to do her homework, without so much as a request from whoever is there at the time. She also studies harder so she can come home and show the Elf her good grades which, hopefully, make up for torturing her sister on the way to school that morning.

3.       Bedrooms stay clean(ish) and chores are completed with minimal whining. After finding the elf the kids rush back to their rooms and make their beds, thanks to a note Kippy left last year complimenting them on their helpfulness around the house. There is still some moaning and whining about how terrible it is to have to put your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor beside it but I’ll take what I can get. He’s an elf, not a miracle worker.

4.       Snippets of conversations heard around the house are way more amusing this time of year. I catch the kids talking to Kippy and swapping funny stories of things he did and things they hope he will do. My oldest loves to recall when he decorated the tree with underwear and my youngest still giggles about the time he t-p’d the living room. They also get so excited to tell their friends all about their elf’s latest antics. As a bonus I get to find out the items the kids are most hoping for since they will tell him what they are dying to get for Christmas and want me to be just as surprised as they are when they open their presents from Santa.

5.       My girls really use their imaginations when the elf is in the house. Forget tablets, Barbies, and other toys; not one of those spark my kids creativity like a magical Elf chilling on the kitchen counter. They come up with great stories, games, and even drawings that all feature Kippy. I also get to be more playful than normal when dealing in Elf-lore, which I don’t get to do most days thanks to these annoying responsibilities I have.

6.       He helps me teach them they will get rewarded for good behavior. If they had a particularly good day where they listened and behaved better than normal he is known to bring a treat the next day such as stickers, candy, or a small toy that he happened to grab from the Dollar Store (my elf is on a budget). Bad behavior gets no reward and sometimes he doesn’t bother to go home to the North Pole because Santa just doesn’t want to hear about it, much like Mommy.

7.       He brings magic to my home and back to my life. Even if it just a month a year for a very few years the delight I see in their eyes is well worth the effort to take 10 minutes a night to move him and have him do something silly or sometimes messy. As long as he cleans up after himself because I do not want a bad influence around.

Sure the elf is a little creepy stalker hanging out in my house waiting till everyone goes to sleep to snitch on us, but I love this family tradition. One day way too soon they won’t believe so I am going to soak in this as long as I possibly can; because once the magic is gone, it is gone for good. And I really missed it.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Trick or Treat!

Growing up in the country we didn’t really participate in trick or treating, couple that with the fact that it was my birthday and the holiday was all but ruined. Since we had only 3 neighbors within walking distance my mom always took us to the mall where my older sister worked. We would walk around holding out our sad little bags and collect a few pieces of crappy candy before we would head back home to celebrate my birthday. It wasn’t until I was nearly too old to trick or treat that I was able to experience the real version where you go door to door and beg strangers for candy by tagging along with my best friend.

I was oh-so excited when we moved into a subdivision and I could hand candy out to the kids coming through since by that time I was way too old to do anything else. After college I moved into an apartment and was so disappointed that no kids came trick or treating, I just knew that there would be hoards of them at my door since there were a ton of children in the complex. But I never had a single trick or treater. Even when I got married and bought my first house – no kids came that night. I sat with a giant bowl of candy with the porch light on watching the cars go by, not even slowing down to see what treats I was trying to give away for free.

It wasn’t until I had my first child that Halloween really became exciting. To see my daughters dress up and pretend to be anything they wanted in the entire world was so amazing. They were a ladybug, a monkey, a princess, a unicorn, a mermaid, a cheer leader, a cat, a cowgirl, and Spiderman. When they would put on their costumes their whole demeanor changed and suddenly they were plunged into a world where unicorns ran and mermaids swam.

It quickly became both my daughter’s second favorite holiday, not just because of the “free” candy (although that is definitely part of it) but because for one day a year they could be anything they wanted. There are no limits, they can be sweet, scary, spooky, mysterious, and adorable – anything they wanted and there was no judgment. Everyone would smile at their costume, tell them how much they loved it and give them a fistful of treats.

To the people out there that tell me they “don’t celebrate Halloween” due to it being a pagan holiday – you really should rethink it. It is a time of magic, a day to use your imagination and have fun pretending to be anything you want. It is a day where not only do strangers generously give treats but we also give treats to other strangers. It is a day to celebrate our freedom to be able to fearlessly walk the streets of our neighborhood at night and feel welcome on the porch of the house down the road

Tomorrow on Halloween I will join my friends and the kids of our neighborhood and will hand out candy to perfect strangers. I will act as if the little girl in the blue dress really is Elsa and her brother Superman. I will put makeup on my girl’s faces, help them into their costumes and pretend to be scared when they jump out at me. I will do all this and more, because one day they will think they are too old to dress up and I want to soak up all the magic while I can.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tallywackers? No thanks, I like wieners from Publix.


This post was originally published on MrsMuffintop.com

When I first heard of this restaurant I thought it was a joke. I hoped it was a joke, but the joke is on me. This, ladies, is real.
This is the “answer” to the women’s Hooters; who knew there was any questioning regarding that subject? Now I personally have never been to Hooters but judging from the billboards and ads it looks to me as if it is a dimly lit venue where you can buy Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, eat greasy pub food, and ogle at waitresses who’s uniforms are circa 1983, the same year the franchise began (It’s okay to update your look, Hooters).

I remember when my nephew turned 12 and went to Hooters for the first time. He got his picture taken with the waitresses and proudly showed it to me. I asked him if he had fun and he said with a grin “The food is terrible, I just wanted to go see the hot chicks”
Gotta love an honest boy going through puberty.

I, unfortunately, have been to male strip clubs and have been witness to a few private strippers at bachelorette parties. Maybe I am just a prude but it never really did anything for me. While I am not exactly into the hairy Lumberjack look there is something about a completely shaven man wearing a speedo with a sewn-in elephant nose flopping that thing around that gives me the heebie jeebies.
I am sure the success of Magic Mike had something to do with creating this restaurant. But there is a huge difference between watching a movie with no plot where Channing Tatum gets undressed and having your average college kid walking around serving you a hotdog; cause let’s face it, the dudes who will apply for this job will not look like the ones in the ad. At best you may have slightly better than average looking guys with body (aka back) hair walking around with no shirt on serving you terrible food. If no body hair whatsoever then I would feel like a perv for looking at their pre-pubecent bodies.

Speaking of body hair - one of the grossest things that can happen in any restaurant is to get a hair in your food. I think I would get sick if that happened here. My first thought with half-naked men walking around would be where exactly did that hair come from? Makes me throw up in my mouth a little to even think about it.

Maybe I am wrong and women will flock to this like a 50% off sale at a shoe store, and for the investors sake I really hope so. But I guarantee you won’t find me in there, I prefer my waiters to be fully clothed so I don’t have to worry about body hairs getting on my plate. Unless, of course, Channing Tatum’s identical twin is there serving wieners.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dear Mom, I'm Waving the White Flag

Dear Mom,

Remember when I was a kid and you would tell me not to be in a hurry to grow up? Man, were you right.
This whole being a grown-up thing sucks. Taking care of me and being responsible for kids is way over rated. As a child I remember thinking that when I grow up it would be so much better, that I would be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted.

I don’t think I could have been more wrong.
I worked hard, got a degree and a good job with the hopes that I wouldn’t be rolling quarters 2 days before payday to fill my gas tank up enough to get to work and back. I mean, I have come a long way and can usually make it to pay day with a few $$ left over, but not without having to be careful, like Ramen-Noodle-Thursday careful. It isn’t because I don’t have a decent income; it is because I cannot afford to be an adult. Mortgages, utilities, insurance, groceries…and that’s only about 25% of what drains my wallet dryer than a lizard’s nipple.
And freedom? Ha!! Sure I am free. Free to go to work 40+ hours a week where I reside in a dark cubicle chained to my chair looking at paperwork and listening to the sound of dreams dying all around me. Sometimes I day dream about getting a paper-cut that is so bad I have to go out on medical leave for an extended period of time.
I used to desire owning my own home as much as I now desire to pee alone. I wanted to move out and not have to answer to anybody. I think I report to more people now than ever before. If I don’t feel like working or cleaning bills don’t get paid and the mess just gets worse! What is up with that? Aren’t there magical elves that can do these things for you?

Now after working 9 torturous hours I get to go straight home, “cook” dinner (what I do barely counts as cooking), clean up, bathe sticky peanut butter-and-dirt covered body parts and tuck said bodies in after reading 3 books, getting 2 cups of water, and a multitude of other rituals that must be completed for the little ones to be able to go to sleep. On good nights I have enough time to watch one show on Netflix before my eyes shut for the 25 minutes of uninterrupted slumber I have grown accustomed to before I am woken by a snoring husband or a crying child.
You made it look so easy. I never knew that it was you that kept the floors so clean or the counters uncluttered. I just figured they stayed that way. Who knew windows had to be washed and toilets scrubbed more than once in a while? You never seemed so tired you just wanted to lie on the couch all day watching T.V. (although DVR’s had not come into existence so that may be a reason). You NEVER took naps or complained about being sleepy at 2 in the afternoon.

You cooked dinner…. Every. Single. Night. Going through the drive through for a meal was a rare treat, and going to a sit-down restaurant even more unusual. We had every meal at the table together as a family. How did you do this? Can you bend time or something? My super power is telling you where every McDonalds is within a 50 mile radius and which toy is being given out this week.
I don’t remember you washing 2 weeks of laundry on a single day because we were out of clean underwear, or doing the “smell test” on the shirt you plucked out of the hamper to wear. Febreze and Downy Wrinkle Remover hadn’t been invented at that time so it isn’t like you were able to fake it. Your clothes were always stain-free, your bed always made and your kitchen counters always clean. Hell, I remember you doing your hair everyday – even Saturdays.

The only task I remember you loathing was ironing. You would pull it out once a week and iron Dad’s shirts all the while complaining. But you did it anyway. Are you a masochist or something?
You made being a grown-up seem fun and carefree, so wonderful that I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. You did such a good job and I now that I am an adult, a working mother and wife like you; I have one question for you.

Can I move back home?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green

In an attempt to save some money and stop wrecking the environment so much I decided to purchase a few cloth swim diapers for my 2 yr old daughter who had zero desire to potty train. We were always at the pool (the Y in off-season and friends pools in the summer) and I was tired of spending literally hundreds of dollars on an item you use once and throw away. I eagerly went online and purchased 3 pair – one white, one pink and a red one that would go with a super cute red striped rash guard I had just acquired.

I also decided to join the pool at a nearby golf course. I figured that by the end of the summer I would have saved enough in swim diapers to justify this splurge. That and I really wanted to hang out pool side any time the weather was nice. I also treated myself to a new Pottery Barn beach towel for being such a good mom, I was tired of using towels with Hello Kitty or unicorns and wanted to look sophisticated that summer.

The kids were thrilled when I told them we were going to a new pool and were jumping up and down with excitement. After 40 minutes of running around screaming about how we were going to the pool I finally wrestled them into their swim suits; C in her ah-dorable red and white rash guard with the matching swim diaper bottoms I just received in the mail. It took another 10 minutes to herd them to the car and strap them in while they vibrated with anticipation.

The pool was amazing, there were only a few others there; hanging out in the deeper section so we had the shallow end to ourselves. T was tall enough to stand in the shallow end near the steps and was jumping into the pool every 5 seconds. C was kicking her chubby little legs all over the pool and both were squealing with delight when I spun them around and tossed them into the water. We had already spent a few hours there and I planned to stay as long as possible.

While playing I smelled something unpleasant. It was the tell-tale sign that C was going to drop a deuce in the near future.

“C, honey, do you have to go potty?” I asked.

“No Momma”

“C, come on, let’s try to go potty. We can get right back in as soon as you finish”

“Nooo Momma!” She whined.

I grabbed her arm and through gritted teeth uttered “C, we are going to go to the potty now. If not we are going home. Do you hear me?”
She looked at me with her big blue eyes and announced “I already went”

“You pooped?!?” I pulled out the back of her swim diaper to look and assess the situation, as all mothers do.

Ew.

I scooped her up and laid her back on the lounge chair I had covered with my brand new beach towel. Then it hit me. Her brand new, reusable red swim diaper did not have snaps, Velcro, or any other way to open it and pull it off like a disposable one. This one had to come off – down her legs.

I looked around in a panic to make sure no one could see us. The pool water had created a watery mess inside her diaper and there was no way I was putting that in my car to change her at home. Miraculously I did have the foresight to place a brand new container of wipes, a plastic grocery bag, and a change of clothes in the pool bag.

At this point the situation had become even more grim as the cess-pool was beginning to leak out the legs and back of her swim diaper. I yelled frantically at T to GET OUT OF THE POOL. NOW!! as I could not leave C laying in feces or perform a miracle on C while ensuring the safety of T (who was 4 and didn’t use swimmies in the pool).

T heard the hysteria rising up in my voice and darted out of the pool yelling “What’s wrong?” at the top of her lungs. I am sure at this point the pool goers at the other end were watching but it was too late to do anything about it. The situation had to be handled right there on the lounge chair.

I opened the wipes and put the grocery bag on the ground, took a deep breath and attempted to pull the swim diaper off C without spilling it everywhere. I failed miserably at my attempt; the mess streamed down her legs, spilling out the top onto the brand new towel and her rash guard. It was flowing out of the bottoms like a raging shit-filled river.

Once I finally got the stupid bottoms off I quickly put them on the end of the towel and rolled it up to where C was laying, legs covered in crap. I pulled out a fistful of butt wipes and quickly cleaned her bottom, legs, and feet. I picked her up, bare-ass to the blazing sun, and rolled the rest of my $25 crap covered towel into a ball and shove it into the plastic bag. Using my toes (I was holding C out away from me like she was contaminated – cause she was) I pulled out another towel and tossed it and C back on the chair.

I wrenched her top off, tracking crap up her back, and hurriedly stuck it in the bag with the other evidence while giving her a head to toe rub-down with baby wipes. I wrapped her up with the fresh towel, grabbed the bags, barked out orders to T to get her shoes, and ran out of the pool area stopping only to throw the poo bag away before squealing away from the pool like a criminal.

In my attempt to save money and decrease my impact on the environment I threw out around $80 worth of items, used an entire pack of butt wipes, and emotionally scarred myself and quite possibly other pool-goers. Sorry, Mother Earth, I tried to do you a solid but my daughter took care of that for me.




Screw you, Mother Earth


Friday, June 5, 2015

UnSolved Mystery

Recently we got an aquarium as well as a few fish and a snail to help clean up the tank. All was fine and dandy, the fish were doing whatever the hell it is fish do and the snail was working it. The girls named it Tiny Joe, and Tiny Joe was all over every surface of the tank sucking up any algae there was to be found. Our tank was immaculate; I really need to Google “house snails” to see if I can buy a few to help clean my house.
To get back on track here – the snail was growing quickly, the girls were excited to have pets of their own, and I enjoyed watching the boring fish and Tiny Joe in the tank while I futilely cleaned my kitchen 15 times a day.
One day while feeding the fish I noticed something weird on the bottom of the tank lid. It looked like a teeny tiny brain. So naturally I left it alone since it was crazy gross, I didn’t want to touch it or search online to see what it could be; I am still scarred from images I viewed in the past when googling something – there is some nasty shit posted that will give you nightmares. Anyway, I learned my lesson and the lesson was this, leave it alone and let the hubs deal with this one.
Naturally this meant that the creepy brain-thing stayed attached to the top of the tank for FOREVER, or a few weeks. While feeding the fish about 2 weeks later I noticed Tiny Joe was climbing above the water. I sat and watched him climb to the underside of the lid and just hang there. I opened the lid a crack to knock him down and saw something strange coming out of Tiny Joe: little eggs. Tiny Joe was actually Tiny Josephine, and she was laying hundreds of eggs.
At that point I felt I had no choice but to Google Mystery Snail eggs and saw that, yes indeed, the creepy brain was a clutch of eggs. But we had only one snail and she had been with us for nearly 3 months at this time, so how could she lay eggs? These kinds of snails are not asexual (I read that once I started Googling – I can assure you I am not a snail expert), there has to be a male and a female to make babies.
When my oldest, T, saw all the eggs she declared “These eggs are just duds since there is no boy snail in there with Tiny Joe. We won’t get any snail babies.” She was very matter of fact, not disappointed at all.
What the… How in the world did she know that? Since she didn’t probe into the specifics of why you need a mommy and a daddy I agreed with her and crossed my fingers that this wouldn’t be the beginning of “the talk”.
A few days later Tiny Joe took the snail trail to heaven. We held a funeral for her, complete with a eulogy given by T. I wrapped her up in pretty tissue paper, tied a ribbon around it, and we placed her in front of the house in a spot that we didn’t mind digging up since there already was not grass there. The girls pulled flowers from the plants I have worked so hard not to kill and placed them on her grave (and have continued to do so daily since she died).
Without Tiny Joe my tank was starting looking like the rest of my house, nasty and filled with scum. It was time to clean the tank, and go snail shopping. The kids were excited, they love cleaning the tank. I got the holding tank and rinsed it out. While doing this T looked in the tank and called out “Mom! There’s a baby snail in our tank!”
Suuurrrrrrreeee there is. That tank was so nasty it was probably some piece of slime just stuck to the side of the tank. “T, it is probably just scum. Don’t worry; we are going to get a new snail later today”
“Noooo! Mom, really, there is a baby snail on the side of the tank. COME LOOOOOK!!!!”
Ugh, fine. I trudged over to point out to her that it was just a bubble of yuck and she was delusional. I peered in, and had to admit that it did look like a lot like a baby snail up against the glass but I couldn’t be sure, the tank was so dirty there were all sorts of slimy things in it other than snails. I looked closer then grabbed a flashlight to confirm.
Holy Shell! It was a baby snail! We looked more and saw 4 other baby snails. I turned to T and told her Tiny Joe left us babies to remember her by; it was a good thing we didn’t clean the tank and kill the babies.
T declared “No mom, this is a miracle from God! He knew we missed Tiny Joe and turned her duds to babies!” as she told me this tears streamed down her face from the joy of this slimy phenomenon.
While I do think that our Lord and Savior can and does perform miracles, I highly doubt this was one of them. Instead of letting T know my thoughts or the disturbing fact that I read online that Mystery Snails can actually hold sperm in their bodies for months (and then having to tell her about sperm) I just smiled and agreed with her that yes, the babies were a gift from God. But I did inform her we are not going to keep them all; I have no plans to start the miracle snail farm anytime soon regardless of how happy it makes her.
Okay, I’ll keep two and try to train them to mop my floors.