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Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Life Would Be So Much Easier If...

Here's a list, in no particular order, of some things I've thought of over the past, oh, say thirty-four years, that if they existed, I would have so much more time to Facebook, blog, eat ice cream, scrapbook, and otherwise slack off.

* kids who emptied their own pockets before putting clothes in the hamper (this wouldn't actually save me time cleaning out their pockets, but even more effectively, time cleaning out the lint trap in the dryer and those holes in the bucket of the washing machine)
* sunblock in either shot or pill form
* "fold" and "put away" buttons on the dryer
* pre-stamped envelopes (saving me time both from having to stick them on myself, and more importantly, from waiting in line at the freaking slower-than-molasses post office counter!)
* fashion advice that suggests it's cool to wear mismatched socks and wrinkly clothes (of course, the socks thing wouldn't be an issue if the "fold" button I mentioned earlier existed)
* auto refill on my wallet (I'm not asking for free money, but if some cash from my own account could just show up in my wallet once a week so I didn't have to stop at the ATM, that would be cool)
* self-cleaning houses, or at least toilets (seriously - they've figured this out for ovens, why stop there? I'd be more than happy to just leave my house and lock the door for three hours if it meant when I opened it back up, all I had to do was wipe out a little debris from the floor and everything would be sparkly clean)
* toy and baby gear return boxes at the grocery store (you know, like for soda cans? I'd pay a deposit when I buy them, but who has time for Craigslist or ebay to get rid of all of this???)
* "delete stupid, duplicate, or otherwise hideous shots," "organize," and "order prints" buttons on my camera. (I actually love the scrapbooking part so don't want to automate that, but I can't keep up with the first three parts to save my life!)
* a kitty-oomba, like the Roomba but I'm not greedy. No need for it to do my whole house, but I'd just like it to follow my cats around all day and vacuum up after them - their fur, the errant cat litter they shake from their paws *after* leaving the litter box, their shed claws, their food crumbs, and even the stray socks and other small laundry items my one cat insists on pulling out of the basement hamper and bringing back upstairs before it gets washed. I'd be willing to sacrifice a sock or tank top a day for this service!
* press on nail polish and/or chameleon polish so it automatically changes color to match your outfit
* the ability (and social acceptance to do in front of others) to pee from a fingertip (just imagine if you could take care of business a) without having to mostly disrobe each time and b) while talking to Grandma, stopped at a red light, or in the line at the post office in case those pre-stamped envelopes don't ever work out!)
* self-waxing eyebrows

I'm sure I'll think of more, so we'll consider this list a work in progress. :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

If You Give a Mom a Muffin (Or "A Day in My Life")

First off, I cannot take credit for this piece of literary genius. However, I couldn't not share it. In writing my last post, I remembered seeing this post from a friend (probably shared from someone else's wall who borrowed it from someone else) and thought just how true this really is!



To all my mom friends - you'll appreciate this! And if you haven't read any of Laura Numeroff's "If You Give a..." children's books , you should read one first before reading the following.

If you give a mom a muffin,
She'll want a cup of coffee to go with it.
She'll pour herself some.
Her three-year-old will spill the coffee.
She'll wipe it up.
Wiping the floor, she'll find dirty socks.
She'll remember she has to do laundry.
When she puts the laundry in the washer,
She'll trip over boots and bump into the freezer.
Bumping into the freezer will remind her
she has to plan for supper.
She will get out a pound of hamburger.
She'll look for her cookbook
("101 Things To Do With a Pound of Hamburger").
The cookbook is setting under a pile of mail.
She will see the phone bill, which is due tomorrow.
She will look for her checkbook.
The checkbook is in her purse
that is being dumped out by her two-year-old.
She'll smell something funny.
She'll change the two-year-old's diaper.
While she is changing the diaper, the phone will ring.
Her five-year-old will answer and hang up.
She'll remember she wants to phone a friend for coffee.
Thinking of coffee will remind her
that she was going to have a cup.
And chances are...If she has a cup of coffee,
Her kids will have eaten the muffin that went with it.

Not Listening Can Be Rather Dangerous

I know I am not a very good listener. (Shh - don't tell my therapy patients!) I blame it on my poor attention span. I have all intentions of listening when someone tells me something, but then I glance down at my shoes and notice how worn they are. And then I remember that coupon in my purse from Famous Footwear. And then I remember that my husband announced his plan to buy himself a gun if I buy another pair of shoes. And then I try to recall his schedule this week and figure out how I could sneak a new pair of shoes into the house when he's not home. Or I could leave them at work. What other pairs do I have here already? Then my nose itches, and I try to discreetly scratch it (just the outside! I am NOT a nose picker!!!). Then I realize that scratching isn't working and I really just need to blow it. But it's embarrassing to blow my nose in front of another person. Oh, wait. There's another person here. And she's looking at me expectantly. Should I nod and smile, grimace and frown, or just say the always safe, "Tell me more."

See - that's what I mean. It just happens. For all records (and professional reputation and liability), I am usually pretty focused and attentive in session with my clients. It's only 50 minutes, and I know that they are paying me big bucks (well, really, their insurance company is paying my employer piddly-squat) to really help them. And if I don't pay attention to what they are saying, I would be doing a really crappy job and that's just not how I roll.

Unfortunately, though, that means that I've used up most of my listening abilities by the time I leave the office. As much as I love him, I admit (and he knows it anyway) that my eyes gloss over when my husband starts talking to me about something that I need to really focus on (unless it's nail polish, celebrity gossip, or his sensible realization that getting a gun was a pretty stupid idea). In theory, I'm very interested about the stocks that we own shares in, the changes to our health insurance, what he needs to do to fix the washing machine, and the new toy he wants to purchase (which I can pretend to disapprove of but secretly like and use when he's not around - wait, just to be clear - I'm talking about things like Jeeps and wireless headphones and beer fridges. Get your mind out of the gutter - I was NOT talking about sex toys, although admittedly, when I look back, I can see why you might think that...). My kids often ask me things that I offer the stock answer to, only to then realize three minutes later that I wasn't listening and in fact just agreed to let them have a lollipop before dinner or take a picture of me in the shower. (Well, in my defense, the second one was really more due to my daughter's articulation difficulties, but I guess partly I wasn't listening closely enough and just agreed quickly so I could hopefully go back to my only 7 minutes of peace and quiet I get all day.)

While most of the time me not really listening is harmless enough, sometimes there are actual consequences. Like when I was a bartender in grad school and often forgot drink orders. Was it a gimlet or a gisbon? A Corona or a Corona Light? Thankfully, then, I had an amazing $2000/year stipend from my practicum position as a therapist trainee and didn't have to rely on a real job to buy my ramen noodles and Salvation Army finds. Another example of real consequences was when I was watching the video on how to use my new smartphone. Most of what I heard was "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah" with a few key important words peppered in, like "turning on the power," "retrieving voice mails," and "making a call." The damn thing didn't have a rewind or fast forward function, so I had to start the whole hour-long video over again and zone out until the part I wanted, only to then miss it again and start all over. Oy vey!

The most significant (and probably frequent) difficulty I've experienced, though, due to not listening, is quite catastrophic. Having had three babies and various other ailments (wait - does that sound like my kids are ailments? Well, sometimes, I might say they are...), I'm no stranger to doctor's offices. You'd think, with all of my experience, that I'd know by now how crucial it is to listen very very carefully when the nurse hands you the gown and begins to walks out the door. Of course whatever she's saying is important, and of course I never listen. I find myself, over and over and over, standing alone in the exam room, holding a gown, wondering two very important questions: 1) which, exactly, of my clothes did she say to take off, and 2) did she say to put the gown on with the opening in the front or the back? I never know! I've thought to bolt out the door and chase her down the hall to ask her, but then it'd be admitting defeat. Instead, I just take a gamble every time and make my best guess. It's pretty reasonable to expect that the dermatologist does not need my bra off to check a mole on my shoulder. It's also pretty reasonable that I should take it all off at the ob/gyn's. But seriously - at the PCP, when I know she'll do a breast exam AND check my spine, how can I be expected to remember if she wants the opening in the back or front??? I'm sure that on more than one occasion, I've had a doctor come in and giggle to herself when she sees that I stripped for nothing or put the gown on the wrong way. Well, I'm just doing my part to make their office lunch conversation a little more entertaining that day!

For all of us non-listeners out there, I think I'm going to start a public health campaign in my free time. I'll begin petitioning doctor's offices to hang up fancy posters in their exam rooms, with instructions (and pictures for those of us who get distracted while reading, too) on how to put on the gown and what articles of clothing to take off (and which to leave on) based on the type of exam you're having. Maybe the nurse could even stick a big arrow (think "Pin the Gown on the Patient") on the exact example that applies to you? I think there's big bucks in this, I'm sure! Much more than I get paid for noticing the way my patient's ears are slightly lopsided and that there's a spider's nest in the corner of my office, all while occasionally asking, "How does that make you feel," and nodding at the (mostly) right times. Riches, here I come!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Me and my neuroses, making Freud (if not my mom) proud...

My two oldest daughters spent last week with my mom. They had a great time, and so did Grammy. I missed them dearly, but it was nice to have one-on-one time with our littlest one. I felt so free - like back before I had kids! We went out to eat at a nice restaurant, I didn't have to do eight loads of laundry, tucking my girls into bed only took 1/3 of the time... It was great! And although I'm a somewhat controlling person (or so my mother tells me, anyway - solely based on the fact that I ask her to turn the lights off when she leaves a room and wipe the knife off when going from the peanut butter to the jelly jar), I was actually okay while the girls were away. I went a whole day and a half without talking to them once, and while it did take me slightly longer to fall asleep each night, I managed to not feel compelled to know what they ate and wore and saw each day.

However, the neuroses kicked in when we went to go pick them up this weekend. First off, my mom had commented during the week about how many clothes I had packed for them. At this point in my life, with going away at least once each month, every month and being solely responsible for packing my own and my three children's clothes, shoes, toiletries, stuffed animals, books, and other illicit items that we don't need to mention here, I consider myself a well-trained and, truthfully, professional packer. I don't just throw things into a suitcase willy nilly. Oh no - it's a process, complete with lists (paper and digital), designated bags, and prescription medication. I check the weather forecast. I count out how many days and nights we'll be gone. I allot one outfit for each day per person, assuming the weather forecast is correct, and then I throw in a couple of "just in case someone pees their pants or spills ice cream in their laps" back up outfits. I also add in some unseasonable items, you know, just in case it's 85 degrees in February (this is New England - you never know!). I also add in at least one or two (depending on which person I'm packing for, but I won't name names) extra pair of undies - again, just in case the unthinkable happens. I coordinate shoes with outfits, underwear colors with weight and color of pants fabric, accessories - I've got it all covered. So - I tried not to let it bother me, but the notion that my mother thought I over packed was upsetting (especially since, a) in her mind, this is further proof of my controllingness, and b) in my mind, she completely disregarded the time and painstaking effort I took to properly pack their bag. Oh, and not to mention that I was trying to do her a favor and save her from hours of laundry doing.)

So - we arrived on Friday night to stay for the weekend. The girls were reasonably clean and completely happy (both to have spent the week with Grammy and to see us again). Their room was fairly orderly, as was their suitcase. However, almost every single item I had packed for them was just that - still packed. There is an empty dresser in the guest room just for this purpose, but my mom said she just never got around to unpacking their clothes. So they lived out of the suitcase for the week. My mom did laundry (even though I told her that's why I packed all that I did - so she could avoid it) and apparently put the clean items right back into the suitcase. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I don't really mind that they lived out of a suitcase for the week. Honestly - I wasn't the one having to rifle through the piles trying to find the mischievous disappearing shirt or errant set of playground pants (yes, they really exist - check it out: http://www.target.com/p/monkeybar-buddies-girls-spandex-short/-/A-11230509#?lnk=sc_qi_detailbutton). What did bother me was that that then meant that I could either suck it up and continue to let them deal with living out of the suitcase for the weekend while we were there (meaning, I'd have to deal with it), or I could risk further proving Mom's hypothesis and unpack their clothes into neat and tidy rows in the dresser drawers. I bit my tongue, sent a quick prayer to Saint Monica, and unpacked just the bag I brought that day with my clothes and our youngest's.

We got home late last night, and I finally unpacked the girls' suitcase this afternoon. Again, my ugly yet well groomed neurotic head reared itself. Not having lived at home for over 12 years, I had forgotten how differently my mother and I do laundry. As I mentioned, she had done a load (or two?) of the girls' clothes, which I do appreciate. However, much like the differences in our personalities, there are vast divides between the way she does laundry and the way I do it. She line dries everything, for starters. I'm not implying here that her personality is crisp and bristly and devoid of any refreshing Bounty scent, but more on the free-spirited/natural side of things, even if it is a bit off the beaten path at times. She also folds shirts by bringing the shoulders together and folding the shirt in half length wise, then again width wise. I prefer to fold it in thirds - folding the arms and sides back behind the center, then folding it in half width wise. Basically, Mom doesn't mind a few wrinkles in her shirts, even if they are right down the center where everyone can see them, but I go to painstaking efforts (one step shy of stealing the folding board I see a sales associate using every glorious time I'm at The Gap) to make sure the wrinkles are off to the side and as unnoticeable as possible. And then there's the socks. This might possibly be the worst offense, in my opinion - even worse than the way she leaves the toilet lid up all the time, no matter how many times I've told her it grosses me out to see into the toilet whenever I happen to be in the bathroom (and the fact that I'm terrified one of my children will drop something into it just for fun or worse yet - stick their hand in to fish out said dropped item). Are you ready to hear about this egregious offense? You might need to sit down. My mother puts the socks together and turns one inside out around the other to make them into little sock balls. I know - you are stunned, too. How can she not realize that this stretches out the unfortunate sock that just happened to be on the outside? Does she not see the absurdity (and profanity) of having a drawer full of pastel colored, soft and fuzzy testicles, essentially? Does she not understand the ways in which these sock balls become instantaneously irresistible to any cat within a seven-mile radius, and therefore, often end up stuck in the nether regions of the couch, smushed into the catnip-loaded and rather hairy scratching pad, or carted off to the basement to become my sadistic cat's next "bitch?" These socks are doomed from the moment she slides her fingers inside to roll them up. Seriously, Mom, give them a sliver of hope, would you? Just stack the socks on top of one another and let them live free, for the love of God!!!

So - it took all I had in me (and admittedly, a promise to myself of ice cream later) to not rewash, redry, and refold all of the clothes she had done. I know, I know - rewashing seems a bit extreme, but really - how else could I make my girls' t-shirts and underwear get that wonderful fresh-out-of-the-washer smell? And yeah, redrying already dried clothes seems a bit frivolous, but how else can I get them to not stand up by themselves (even when they are clean!)? Refolding doesn't seem much less senseless, either - but again, how will I be able to sleep tonight, knowing that my sockless kids will be facing the world tomorrow with wrinkles front and center on their shirts?

But you'd be proud of me. I put on my big girl panties (which were quite soft from the dryer and folded neatly in my drawer in thirds so even those don't have a crease down the middle) and managed to deal with it. I put away all the girls' clothes without rewashing, redrying, or refolding a single item. Well, there was that one shirt, but even Freud needed years of working with someone to help them completely fix their neuroses... I'm okay with being a work in progress.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Too raunchy for Facebook, even

I was going to post this as a status update on Facebook, but then I thought better of it. I decided it's more appropriate for here, since hardly anyone reads this and certainly not my coworkers or my friends' grandparents who are too adorable and sweet to deny when they wanted to friend me on FB. So - here goes... Just a random sample of the random thoughts that go through my mind on a regular basis:

How is it that on the muggiest day of the year, I still manage to get a bloody nose? If only tampons came in "nose size..."

That's all. Good choice not to put on Facebook, right? I'm sure my own grandparents would agree.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Host of Bad Ideas

I kinda feel like this post should just be a list, but I know I owe it to my fans (okay, the one person who occasionally reads this blog out of Catholic guilt and her fear of getting unfriended if I find out she didn't...) to use some foo-foo words and colorful phrases to spice it up a bit. Let's face it - I can't afford to lose my one fan, so it's all about what you, bestie!

Today's post is aptly titled, "A Host of Bad Ideas." I'm not beating around the bush here - I admit I made a lot of poor decisions leading up to the Harpoon 5 miler race this past weekend. As you know (well, assuming you read my last post), my friend gave me about 67 minutes to think about my decision when she invited me to join in her "6-pack team" for this race a couple of months ago. I buckled under the pressure and said yes. Enter Bad Idea #1. As you also know, I was incredibly lazy, unmotivated, absorbed-in-the-mommy-porn trilogy, sick, and much more interested in consuming calories than burning them this winter, so I didn't train much for this run. #2. I caught what I suspect might be a sinus infection about two weeks ago and still haven't recovered. When I'm not coughing my innards out, I'm busy pulling an ab muscle or cracking a rib trying to sniff that elusive snot back into my nose before it sneaks out and drips onto my lap in the middle of an important work meeting, again raising suspicion that I might just need a 24/7 PCA. While this cold/possible-sinus-infection wasn't my fault, I never have been very good about taking care of myself and either preventing or recovering from various illnesses. #3.

Okay - blahditty, blah, blah. Now the good stuff. The next bad idea I had was to drive to Boston from Western Mass (2 hours) the night before the race, *after* I got the kids to bed. #4. Oops - and #4b - I waited to pack until after the kids went to bed, so when I theoretically could have been on the road by 8pm had I planned ahead and packed early, I didn't actually get in the car until 9:15pm. Got to my friend's apartment by 11pm, and stayed up for another hour chatting with her while smiling nicely and petting her two crazy dogs and two crazy cats and secretly cursing myself for a) only bringing black clothes with me and b) forgetting my lint roller. #5, 6, and 7. Fast forward to the next morning - race day! I got up at 7:45, got dressed, washed my face, cleared a space on the table of weeks old chocolate chip cookies, cat hair, and some unidentifiable soggy paper products, and settled in to eat my power bar and drink some chocolate milk (breakfast of champions, right?). Nope - my friend had other ideas. She guilted me into eating oatmeal. She runs quite a bit and she's always been much better at making healthy decisions than I have, so I caved and figured she knew what she was talking about. #8. Why didn't I remember, at that moment rather than two hours later as I was dragging myself toward Mile Marker 2, Quaker Oatmeal's claim to fame is that it sticks to your ribs? Had I remembered that at a more opportune time, I certainly would have known that eating it would not only top my list of bad ideas for this race, but it also would have enabled me to gleefully sing "I told you so..." to my friend while passing her doubled over on the side of the race route. Oh, well - they say "Hindsight is 20/20." They also say "Everyone's a Monday morning quarterback." And now, thanks to this horrific experiment, I know that they also say "Never eat rubber-cement-surpassing oatmeal on a day you need to move faster than an inchworm."

Just before we left the apartment and got into the cab, this same friend reminded me to put on sunblock. I thought she was being a little ridiculous - I wasn't planning on taking *that* long to finish the race, but I listened. Good idea, right? But the bad idea part was this - I didn't ask anyone to help reach the middle of my back - you know, that 1 1/2" section where no matter how hard you try to contort yourself, you just can't reach? And I didn't look in the mirror to really see just how much I was missing, but instead, I just naively assumed it was "close enough." Oh, and I didn't even think about my scalp.Yep - enter bad idea #9.

So - we get to the mayhem that was the race. I pee three times, down a cup of water, pee twice more, and scope out all the people in costumes. I couldn't help but feel bad for the Smurf team - why would they ever think blue face paint, blue-stockinged arms, and long white pants would be a good idea on what was supposed to be an 80+ degree not-a-cloud-in-the-sky day? Perhaps they are all now blogging their own "Bad Ideas" list... We check our bags, by which I mean we tied our three bags together, tossed them into the bigger-than-the-Titanic pile behind a table neatly labeled "Bag Check," and hoped for the best. (Thankfully, though - this doesn't have to be discussed as a bad idea. Turns out no one wanted our three ratty tied-together bags full of used deodorant, antibacterial wipes, melted and passed-over-for-the-spawn-of-Satan-oatmeal power bars, clean undies, and six tubes of chap stick... Phew!)

A bigger race that I've been in before had runners line up at the start line according to how fast they run - 8 minute miles here, 9 minute miles there, 10 minute miles back here, and people who didn't realize this was a race and just got in line to see what was going on but it's too late to get out now over there. This race's organizers, however, thought it made more sense for people to just aimlessly mosey on up to the start line in any grouping they chose. Yes, okay, fine. It was nice to stand in line with my friends, but once the race started, I realized I was in over my head. People were bolting past me while others engaged in some kind of I'm-not-really-a-runner-but-I-swing-my-arms-and-make-walking-look-pretty-fast-thing. I had no idea how to pace myself with such a wide variety of speed demons and Sunday drivers around. I should have either worn blinders, brought my trusty metronome, or just figured out some way to find a good speed for myself, regardless of what everyone else was doing. But I didn't. #10.

For the next bad idea on my list, a couple of things from my past come to mind and I guess a teensy bit of storytelling is in order to help those of you who do not live inside my head to understand it. So - we all know athletes are big into rituals. The pros do it, and if I ever cared enough to watch any professional sport I could cite examples here, but trust me when I say they do. In every sport I've ever played, I've had particular items of clothing that I wore for every game - they were my good luck charms and/or so ridiculous and ugly that they distracted the other team and gave me a slight advantage to make up for all that my athleticism lacked. In high school basketball, it was a certain pair of hot pink scrunch socks (it was indeed the early 90s, but even then they looked horrible with the team's red uniforms); in high school softball, it was a particular bra that gave my girls a little lift and just enough bounce to draw attention to them instead of the ball while I was running bases; and in college rugby, it was a hideous bright yellow turtleneck that I wore under my uniform, even in the hottest months. It seems, then, that bad idea #11 was not realizing that I should have a trusty piece of clothing for races, too... The other bad idea here is closely connected to this realization, and relates back to the nights I chose to read the 50 Shades of Grey books instead of getting my lazy butt on the treadmill and preparing for this race. #12. I joked with a friend that at least while I was walking in this race and hyperventilating from overexertion, I'd have some "entertaining" scenes from the book playing in my mind. Little did I know just how right I was - that I would be dying during the race, and that my mind would be miles and miles away from the task at hand at times... I bet you're still wondering, though, how the lack of ritual clothing and the X-rated book scenes related, you might ask? Well, good question... It seems, somehow, that had I had some ritual undies, not only would my luck had been better, but perhaps my endurance, too - as my running abilities were most certainly sabotaged by the permanent wedgie I experienced and the inability to fix it because I knew the people behind me would have seen it! As I tried to ignore it, I couldn't help but think of Christian salaciously whispering, "Oh Ana..." and then bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep!

Finally, the race was over. I had swallowed my pride and walked part of it, but I still managed to do all 5 miles in 54:35 minutes - that's less than 11 minute miles - and sprinted across the finish line for that glorious victory photo that I later realized was probably not being taken by a race employee but rather a creepy guy in a fisherman's vest who specializes in opportunism rather than photojournalism. #13. I met up with my friends and we quickly found our way to the beer tent. I did make myself drink a pint glass of water first, but then it was five beers in the hot sun with only a tiny bit of lettuce-disguised-as-a-salad and very undercooked ziti noodles with watery red sauce (the latter being loosely defined). Bad idea #14, #15, and #16, respectively. Attempting to again put on my own sunblock: Bad idea #17. Going to a restaurant after the party ended for some real food, in our race clothes, with our bibs still on: Good idea. Ordering more beer and getting into a very serious argument with someone I just met about the sex appeal of various South Boston actors, in South Boston. Bad idea #18. Happily hopping into a cab with no meter but really loud music and a fun-seeming cabbie who then threatened to call the cops because he thought we stiffed him when he jacked his quote by 20%: Bad idea #19. Trusting the same friend who convinced me that pre-race oatmeal was a good idea to now make me a post-race margarita: Bad idea #20.

I think I'm going to end it here. I'd prefer to come up with a few more so I could hit 25 bad ideas and go out with a bang, but I'd run the risk of just making stuff up and no one likes a liar. 20 is a nice round number, and honestly, aren't 20 bad ideas enough for one event anyway, isn't it??? Upon reflection, it seems kind of amazing that I survived that day, with only a slightly bruised ego from not being able to run it all, sore ribs from laughing so much, a sunburned scalp and middle back where I couldn't get the sunblock, and only one picture from the whole day because I begrudgingly left my camera at home for fear of a less-than-exemplary "bag check." If I do this race again next year, maybe I can shave this list down to 15 items or less on my Bad Ideas list? We all need goals in life, right?


Monday, May 14, 2012

Conspiracy

It's true - it was a conspiracy. I know I might sound a little paranoid, but honestly, how else can one explain it? I was so motivated today to get a good quality run in. About 8 weeks ago, I got roped into signing up to be part of a "6 pack" team for a 5 mile race sponsored by Harpoon Brewery (get it? 6 pack?) this weekend. It was a lottery, and my eternal optimist/very manipulative friend assured me we likely wouldn't even get selected, but they were one person down and they were desperate. I wanted to sleep on it and really make sure I was up to this - I haven't really been running since the fall, with a few minor and awkwardly-executed encounters with the treadmill interspersed here and there. Of course, being the friend that she is, my dear chum told me she needed my answer in two hours. Nope, I'm not kidding. However, never one to let my friends down (even if it means selling my soul to the devil and/or embarrassing myself as I crawl to the beer tent after the race I had no business even attempting to run), I begrudgingly told her I was in. I secretly crossed my fingers, though, and hoped and prayed (yes, I honestly did ask for Divine Intervention here) that we wouldn't get selected.

Of course, karma doesn't work that way, and apparently, neither does God. I must have been very very bad in a former life and/or God really does see everything and he knows about the many times that I have fallen asleep during the homily - our team was chosen for the race. Too late to back out - they had my credit card number, my t-shirt size, and my two free beer tickets. What's a girl to do???

So - that was about 8 weeks ago. Since then, I think I've run twice. Yep - I had good intentions, but work was hectic and I had to take stuff home, home was hectic and I had to take stuff to work, and it was cold and rainy and just gross (and that's just my leaky basement I'm talking about where the treadmill is; outside was certainly no better). Then it got to about 3 weeks before the race, and I realized I really need to get on this if I stood any chance of not making a complete fool of myself. Out of our 6 pack team, I don't even know two of the people! One person is my friend's sister, and both she and my friend are cute and energetic and they could look good and have fun rolling around in dog poo. The other person is a friend of mine, who is now an officer in the Marine Corp! Yikes!!! No pressure for me, clearly... The longest race I've done yet is a 5K (3.2 miles) - and I've only done two of those! I've run 5 miles maybe twice in my life. Ever. Pardon my french, but I am sure I'm fu%#ed!!!

Endlessly chastising myself, I knew it was time to start taking this seriously! At the three week mark, I finally dragged myself out of bed at the butt crack of dawn and stumbled my way onto that damn treadmill. (It might have had something to do with my new resolution that I would only allow myself to eat ice cream on days that I worked out, and we all know how I feel about ice cream... Regardless - it worked!) Woo hoo!!! I felt pretty good, and even better later that night when I got an email from Harpoon Brewery reminding me that the race was fast approaching and asking if I'd run that day! (How did they know?) I emailed them right back and said, "Why yes, I did!" (I'm still waiting for their reply saying "Of course you did! That email was sent to you in error - we have no doubt about your commitment to this race or your motivation in your training schedule! You're doing great!")...

So, life is good: I'm getting ready for my race, I'm allowed to eat ice cream that night before bed, and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. And then it happened. Someone told me about 50 Shades of Grey. This can and will be a whole other post in and of itself, but suffice it to say that I've been a bit distracted since starting that trilogy. I have been staying up waaaaaayyyyy too late reading the books, and it's kind of hard to find the snooze button and mumble "Screw You!" with only three hours of sleep, much less to actually get out of bed and run a few miles! Christian Grey is hot and all, but honestly, he's not doing much for my training. He has, however, been kind enough to give me a temporary pass on running as long as I spend that time with him, and he's even lifted my self-imposed ban on ice cream on days I didn't work out. (Hmm - it's all coming together - he's part of this conspiracy!!!)

Okay - fast forward to now. The week before the race. I'm still absorbed in the books and breaking my ice cream rule almost every night, but somehow, the race date keeps getting closer and closer. I am notorious for procrastinating, but I guess there isn't really any way to cram for a 5 mile race, is there? It's not like pulling an all-nighter the night before can help (although I likely will because I'm so close to finishing Book 2! I can't leave Christian hanging while I go off and run some silly race...).

So - the race is in six days. I know my body and even when I'm in great shape, exercising on consecutive days is not a good idea, so that leaves me three times to run between now and race day! Yikes!!! Last night, I was full of resolve - today would be the day! Last night, I set my alarm for 4:42am (with enough cushion in there for two snoozes), and even managed to tear myself away from Christian by 12:30am. 4 1/2 hours of sleep isn't ideal, but beggars can't be choosers, now can they? Off to la la land I went. And then 4:42 came. And went. And 4:51. And 5:00. And somehow, even though I was alert enough to properly operate the snooze button, my brain didn't actually register what was happening until 5:36. Yep - way too late to get up then and do anything productive. I felt bad, but really - can I honestly be held responsible? I wasn't even conscious!!! I quickly told myself I'd just run in the evening after the kids go to bed, and then I promptly reset my alarm for 5:42. (Six minutes may not seem like much, but when you're as chronically sleep deprived and/or narcoleptic as I am, you'd be amazed what you can do with that amount of time!)

I finally got up and made my way to the shower. While there, I had a brief moment of insanity and contemplated bringing running clothes with me to work and sneaking out an hour early to run before coming home. However, my superego kicked in somewhere between burning my eyes with face wash (for the 87th time) and nicking my knee with my "nick-free" razor (for the 78th time), and I realized what a ridiculous idea that was. Granted, most of the students have left the area and most of my coworkers don't venture out of the building in the daylight, but could I really risk having someone see me? I wasn't worried about getting busted for running on work time (of all offices, shouldn't one like mine understand? We tell our patients day in and day out how important it is to take care of themselves!). Nope - I had bigger potatoes to fry. Like what would I look like walking from my office to my parking lot in running clothes, carrying my fancy work bag, my rain boots and umbrella from a wet commute this morning, my lunch bag, and another bag full of my work clothes? And in the off chance that I did see someone I know, how awkward would it be for them to see me in my running clothes? (Remind me to post some day about the time my boss showed up from vacation to a work-sponsored ice cream social wearing spandex bike shorts and a mesh bike shirt, or the time he came to my office for a morning meeting in his biking clothes and a coworker saw him leaving and thought to herself, "Oh, how nice. Melissa is seeing a transgender client." Moral of the story: work people + non-work clothes = awkwaaaard.) Oh, and last but not least, I'm fairly certain I would have gotten lost trying to find a running route around my work. Or I wouldn't have gotten lost, but ended up running the same short route five times to get the distance I wanted without the fear of ending up somewhere from which I had no idea how to get back.

Okay - so I finally succumbed to the reality that I was going to have to run after work today, after the kids got to bed. Miraculously, they were in bed relatively early (7:25, but who's counting), and I even had enough energy left to change out of my work clothes and into my running clothes. I played a few quick rounds of WWF, said a way too brief hello to Christian, and then I was up and on my way to the basement. I am going to do this!!!

So - we have a tv in the basement, but the speakers are crappy on it and it doesn't really go loud enough to be heard over the treadmill (of course, when sitting in the living room on the first floor while someone else is on the treadmill, I can hear every word perfectly). So I decided to test out my new earbuds, arm band phone holder, and music on my phone. However, staring at a cinder block wall and shelves and shelves of unorganized "storage" isn't nearly entertaining enough, so I decided to have the tv on mute just for something to look at. Due to some confusing and certainly unnecessary changes by the FCC a few months ago, the only way we can watch cable on the basement tv is by watching the same channel that is on the tv in the living room. Okay - no big deal - I would just find some cheezy 90s movie on demand and be good to go. Well, here's Data Point #1 that there was a conspiracy: our DVR was already recording two programs and I couldn't watch anything from on demand. My choices were, then, to watch a show that I didn't want to see yet, or a show that my husband is recording and I could care less about. Ugh. Fine - I set it on the I-could-care-less-about-this show and off I went.

I got my ear buds in without too much damage to my ear drums or my self-esteem, and I was running. Then Data Point #2 came along: My phone (which admittedly this is the first time I've used for running music) somehow got stuck on repeat. I battled and battled (and almost fell of the treadmill), but finally got it working. Phew.

Then - you guessed it - Data Point #3: The show that I could really care less about ended. No big deal, except what replaced it was even worse. Some unheard of talk news show - about things I could care even less about than the show I could care less about that my husband was recording. And, Data Point #3b - because of the way we have the tv rigged up, I can't change the channel without going upstairs and doing it from the main tv. So it was just me and the news, chillin' in the basement. But at least I had my music to keep me entertained.

Enter Data Point #4: My phone stuck it's fingers in its ears, squinted its eyes shut, stuck out its tongue, and said, "Na na na na boo boo." I don't really know what it did, but basically, it stopped playing music. Either I wasn't technologically skilled enough and/or not physically coordinated enough to try to figure it out without injuring myself, so I finally gave up and tossed my phone onto a nearby pile of clothes I've been meaning to donate to the Salvation Army for the past three years. Oh well, at least I could unmute the tv and maybe learn something about the big bank blunder pas that I still didn't really care about. It was better than silence, though.

And then my pants started falling down. Data Point #5a. I tried tightening the drawstring, but in my attempt to untie it while still running, I managed to tie it in a knot. Data Point #5b. Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, and I somehow was able to reach a clothespin from the nearby clothesline and MacGyver my pants so they stayed up well enough and at least didn't trip me or make me moon whomever might have been so unfortunate to be peering in my basement windows at that tine (I know you're out there, you creep!).

Life was certainly giving me lemons, but I was making lemonade, dammit! I could do this! I was determined to run today (and truthfully, getting pretty scared about race day), so I made it work. And then Data Point #6 happened and it was the end of the road. All this movement that my body is so unaccustomed to took its toll. Apparently, my insides got jealous, and they decided that if my outside was moving, well, so should my insides. Now I understand why marathon runners poop without stopping and just let it fall out of their shorts - there's a lot on the line when you're in a race. I don't get how pooping is adaptive to the survival of our species in the whole "fight or flight" theory, but I guess it has a function somehow. However, I was not that interested in finding out... As dedicated as I was to getting a good run in today, I am not so dedicated that a) I would willingly poop my pants, b) I would be willing to put the treadmill on a speed of .1 mph and mop the poop off the belt as it cycles by, or c) that I could ever live with myself knowing that I even contemplated being willing to do either of those things. So - that was it. My time was up, and my run was done. I did manage to get in a decent 2.37 miles at least, and while it's not quite the 3 or 4 miles I was hoping for, it's at least a start.

All in all, I can't say today was a total wash. I will consider this to be what I like to think of as a "teachable moment" and it will encourage me to try harder for Wednesday. Namely, I'm planning to:
1. Ban Christian Grey from my Kindle at 11pm Tuesday.
2. Move my alarm clock across the room so I have to get up (and hopefully gain consciousness) to shut it off.
3. Delete my husband's DVR selections so I can pick something good to watch.
4. Figure out my phone so a) it's not on repeat and b) it doesn't lock me out mid-run.
5. Find a way to either hook up external speakers to the crappy basement tv or hold the tv in my arms while running so it's close enough that I can hear it.
6. Forgo pants all together so I don't run the risk of having droopy drawers and/or falling off the treadmill while trying to get a clothespin and act out my inner MacGyver (both of which would be incredibly awkward and uncomfortable while holding the tv, mind you).
7. Not even look at a spec of fiber or eat a single raisin between now and then.

I think I've got a good plan in place. And really, what's the worst that can happen? If all else fails, at least there's one more run after that one to really get serious about training for this race! :)