Sunday, March 2, 2014

Definitely Not Auto Mechanic Material

Greetings everyone!

Tonight I come to you, humbled, and with acceptance of all mocking or jeering that you feel I deserve. You will pick sides.  And I'm okay with that.  Women will sympathize with me and men will ridicule me, and many will take Justin's side.  It's all good.

Let me preface my story by telling you that my grandfather was a mechanic, my father was a mechanic, my husband was a mechanic, my younger brother is a mechanic..... and no, I'm not about to spew lines from my Cousin Vinny or explain postitraction (or Posi traction, if you will).  The fact is that I do have some automotive knowledge.  It's just that I am also blonde and a bit kooky.

Our own potential mechanic.... she spends more time looking under the hood at the plastic parts that "need work" than driving her Jeep.  True story.
Okay.  Wait. I lied.  There's one line that bears repeating.  "Imagine you’re a deer. You’re prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water. BAM! A f*ckin’ bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now I ask you: Would you give a f*ck what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?!" –Mona Lisa Vito in My Cousin Vinny.

Alright.  With that out of the way, I will get back to my story.  

There's a lot of dialogue, so I'll set the stage and get on with it.  I'm driving in my car and on the phone with Justin, who is in his car somewhere else.  It's afternoon, early in 2013 and I'm driving along merrily, following my work schedule.

Everything in parentheses is my own commentary, by the way.  Here we go.....

Me: When was the last time you changed my oil?

Justin: I dunno.  It's probably due.  Remind me and I'll get it done when I go to Rockland.

Me: Oh, I think it's definitely due!  The oil light has been on for awhile.  Remember I mentioned it to you awhile ago?

Justin:  How long is awhile ago?

Me:  At least a month ago.  (how bad could that be?)

Justin:  A MONTH??

Me:  Yesssss.....why?  (i'm feeling nervous)

Justin:  Vick...You can't be driving like you do for a month with the oil light on!  You didn't feel this deserved some sense of urgency?!

Me:  Yes, I did.  And that's why I told you that it was on over a month ago.  When you didn't do anything I assumed it wasn't so bad.  (nicely lobbed that one back in his court)

He's a car guy for Pete's sake.  He is in charge of all of the car crap.  You can see why I thought I was going to be okay to keep driving.

Justin:  I'm not going to do this with you right now (a/k/a/ he knows I have a point).  You need to get to a gas station like NOW.

Me:  Okay.  You're freaking me out a little bit.  I'm about a mile from Mobile.

He explains all of the reasons why running out of oil is bad and finally I get to the gas station.

Me:  I'm here.  I'm going to run in and get some oil.  How much should I get?

Justin:  Get three.  There probably isn't a drop in there. 

Me:  Ok.  Hold on.

I go inside and get 3 quarts of oil and head back to my car.

Justin:  You know where to pour the oil, right?

Me: Yes!!  I'm not an idiot.  I want to just check the oil real quick.

I check the dipstick and it shows that it's already half full.  Huh?  How can that be?  It must be residue.  I have no idea what that even means, but it was the explanation I fabricated first.

Justin:  There's got to be next to nothing in there.  Don't bother.  You just need to get oil in there right away. Did you get the cap off?

Me: Oh my God..... it's not budging!  

Justin: Are you sure you're looking at the right thing?? (Maybe the oil residue theory was bullshit, but I do know where the oil goes.  And I wasn't appreciating his tone.)

Me: Yes, I've got the right thing!  I'm not a fucking moron!  Justin, it won't move at all!  (I feel tears coming)  I have four more jobs today and a doctor's appointment afterward!  I'm booked really tight!  I don't have time for this!  (Enter....the tears.)

Justin: Okay.  You need to calm down.  (He does tend to level out when I start freaking, which is nice)  We can work this out.  You HAVE TO get oil in your car.  You can't do all of that driving if you don't.  Can you go inside and see if the guy behind the counter can help you?

Me:  Yes.  Hold on.  

Maybe it was the tears running down my face.  Or perhaps it was the desperation in my voice.  Most likely it was the fact that I just bought three quarts of outrageously overpriced oil from the guy.  Regardless, he was nice enough to come outside and help me.  After a significant amount of struggling, he finally got the cap off, and I praised him so much that he felt like a superhero.

Me:  I'm putting in the first quart.  (Good time to be obnoxious)  You know, it's ridiculous that you have to put every cap on so tight!  What are you trying to prove?  It's just like when you put the lid on the tomato sauce and I have to ask you to help me open it.  Then you smirk and open it like it was no big deal.  The guy at Mobil couldn't even open this fucking thing without putting a foot on my bumper for leverage....."

Justin:  Vic?

Me: What??

Justin:  Just pour the oil in.

Me: I'm already done.  I put all three in.

Justin:  (Very calmly) Okay.  Go turn your car on.

Me: (After obeying his order)  Oh my God.   Justin, the fucking light is still on!  This is crazy.

Justin: WHAT?  How can that be?  Go look under the car and see if there's a huge puddle of oil under there.  Are you sure you put it in the right place?

Me:  (Back to obnoxiousness)  Do you really think the guy from Mobil would have opened the wrong cap after seeing me holding an open container of oil??  Don't you think he would maybe have said, "Um, lady, you don't put oil in your radiator"?? So, even if you think I don't know what I'm doing, I'm pretty sure that HE does!  (peeking under car)  No puddle, by the way.......nastyass.

Silence.  I didn't even hear breathing.  Instant panic.  Was he done with my bitchy ranting, and hung up on me?

Me: Hello?

Justin:  I'm thinking.  


Justin:  This doesn't make sense.  I don't get it.  (more silence)  Listen, I know you're really smart and all, but I have to ask this question.  Are you sure it's the oil light that's on?

Me:  YES!  It's the one with the dip stick.

Justin:  Excuse me?

Me:  The dipstick!  It's red and it looks like the stick in a bubble.

Justin:  Can you do me a favor?  Can you take a picture of it and send it to me?

Me:  I can't believe you're making me do this.  Hold on.

And this is what I sent him.....
Take note of the "oil" light circled next to the arrow
Me:  I sent it.

Justin:  Okay.  Let me look.  I just got it.

That's when I heard the whispered "Oh my God" and giggling.  I could tell he was trying to break it to me gently.

Justin:  Honey, that's not your oil light.  That's your TIRE light.  Your tires need air.

Me:  Wha...?  Tire?   But it looks like a dipstick in a bubble with liquid in the bottom.....

Justin:  Those are tire treads.  Your oil is fine.  (more stifled laughter)  You'll be fine.  And you have plenty of oil now too.  I've gotta go, okay?

We hung up.

He was going to hang up and tell someone this bit of embarrassment, wasn't he?  If I hadn't been so relieved that my engine wasn't about to seize, I probably would have made him promise not to tell anyone.  But after my bitchy and ornery attitude, I deserved it.   He earned the right to share my vehicular dopiness with whomever he wanted.

In return, he allows me to call it the Tire Oil Light so I can pretend that I'm less of a mechanical moron. 

Until the next time, I wish you safe travels and no tire oil drama.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trauma-dramatising The Toddler

Hello interweb peeps!

Mother Nature is revealing her Multiple Personality Disorder again.  It was a sunny 50 degrees this past weekend.  Snow melted, and just in the nick of time, things started freezing all over again.  I've done more arm flailing on icy patches than I can remember. I haven't fallen yet (knock on wood), but I've looked like a jackass in front of all of my customers' neighbors.  This weather makes an outdoor occupation very interesting.

2.5 feet of snow + sudden 50 degree temps = driving blindly into fog

As I mentioned in my last entry, while I was sharing a moment with Justin and the scale, Allie was experiencing something entirely different at school..... something that Justin is convinced will come back to haunt us in the form of a large therapy bill later in life.

Think back to when you were a child.  What were your worst nightmares about?  Not the ones about the boogeyman in the closet or being chased by clowns.  The nightmares based on real life stuff.

Chances are that my poor child lived your nightmare last Thursday morning.

Allie had missed a few days of school due to snow storms and her 7 billionth cold of the season.  On Thursday, the school decided to double up and celebrate Valentine's Day and Pajama Day together.
Our holiday card opening ritual.  Getting some Valentine green from Nana & PopPop
That morning, I let Allie pick out which jammies she wanted to wear (very cute canary yellow fleece ones), I packed up her Valentines for the kids and teachers, and off she went to school.

Justin came back from dropping her off and said, "Well, she was the only kid that remembered to wear pajamas today."

"What?  Really??  No one??!" I asked.

"Well, the teachers did.  They were actually pretty excited that Allie remembered so people wouldn't be looking at them kind of funny."

I went back to drinking my coffee and doing my hair when it hit me.  "Oh my God.  We sent our child to school to live out every kid's biggest nightmare.... showing up at school wearing your pajamas while everyone else is dressed normally."

Justin just started at me.  "What makes you think of this crap?"

"It's true.  And if those teachers had forgotten, it would've been completely traumatic!"

He dismissed the drama with, "At that age, kids wear their pajamas everywhere.  She's fine."

I still felt bad.  I was hoping that she was secure enough to ignore the fact that she was the only one who wore pajamas.  Hopefully none of the other crumb crunchers pointed it out either.

A few hours later, the universe decided Justin needed a little more drama that morning since the pjs thing wasn't phasing him.

At 12pm, I pulled into our complex to go to my next appointment.  As I was pulling in, Justin was pulling out.  We locked eyes and I gave him the "Why aren't you at the school" look, he gave me the "Please don't kill me" look.  Immediately I started dialing his number.

"Why aren't you at the school?!  Do you know what time it is?!"  I was totally bugging out.

"I don't know what happened!  I was on the phone with Toyota when all of the sudden I looked up and the clock said 1155am and...."

"OH MY GOD, JUSTIN!  Did you call????"  Bugging out was now an understatement.

"Yes, I called and I told them what happened and that I was on my way and I was so sorry and..."

Child nightmare #2 in progress.

"You forgot our daughter at school!  She's probably standing there all alone with the teachers who are staring at their watches!  This is so embarassing."  I had visions of her in her pajamas, with her little backpack on, staring down the school driveway, all alone, in the rain, soaking wet, crying.....

Okay, so she wasn't crying all alone in the rain.  It was sunny and she had two teachers with her and she was happy.  But that wasn't what my brain was showing me.

"Call me the minute you have her in the car.  Okay???"

Always the good little soldier, he did call me.  Justin was so traumatized by this whole experience that he jumped out of the car and hugged all of them individually when he got there.  The teachers were very nice and reassured him that it happens to everyone so he shouldn't be freaking out.  Allie was fine, sitting in the backseat with her school crafts, babbling away happily about all of the Valentines she got.

"You do realize that one day she will be able to tell all of her friends that her parents sent her to school in her pajamas and then forgot her there, right?"  I could see the teenage version of Allie yelling at me about it when I tell her that she can't do something.  Ammunition of Guilty Measures.

"Actually, I see us spending thousands of dollars in therapy when she's in her early 20's, blaming us for  alllllll of her insecurities because of this one particular day in preschool."

Yup.  He had a point.

I think maybe we just shouldn't mention this ever again....

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Friday, February 21, 2014

Forbidden Dance of Joy

Oh yes!  You know what's coming, dontcha?!!!

SHAZAM!  I'm in the 150's!

For over twenty years, I tried to get back to the 50's.  And as I told you the last time, I was going to do the Forbidden Dance of Joy all over the place when it happened.

Well, the dance didn't quite happen.  It's hard to dance for joy when you're blubbering like you just won an Oscar.  That was unexpected.

Please....let's relive the moment....shall we?

I got up this morning and went down to the scale, just knowing that today was the day!  I grabbed Justin and made him come with me because I wanted someone to celebrate with.  Always willing to play along, he grabbed the camera and was crouched down by the scale, very focused, as if he was waiting for something to come flying out of it.

I got on and shit started to happen.  Remember that my scale doesn't play along with the "If I move a little this way, I can make the number change" game.   The numbers were flying all over while the scale was scanning me.  158.5.... 160.2.....  158.8....  159.7.... and the answer isssssssss....

BAM!  158.8, bitches!  That's the final answer, Regis!  And now I want to phone a friend!

Naturally, I was in shock, so I got off and reset the scale.  I wanted full and definite confirmation.  Justin was busy snapping photos like he was with paparazzi at a main event.  (I love how he tries to jazz up the energy just to amuse me.)

I got back on the scale and the same thing happened.

Holy crap.  It's for real.

Immediately I started crying.  I think the last time I cried for joy was when Allie was born.  I felt this enormous sense of relief, along with the excitement of some gigantic prize waiting in front of me.

I finally accomplished this goal after 20 years.  I can't tell you how many times I gave up on this mission and decided it was impossible and unobtainable.  And here it was.  Right in front of me.  Hot damn!

I was so glad that Justin was there.  It was a milestone that I didn't want to reach alone.   And it was great to have someone hug me while I was having a happy meltdown.

The strange thing is that for the first few hours, I didn't want to tell anyone.  I wanted to keep it to myself.  I have no idea what that was about, but I just enjoyed feeling invincible and powerful without anyone else adding to the moment.  Clearly, I'm over it because I'm telling all of you right now.

So, I'm going to keep going.  Maybe next I'll see a 4?!  I can't even fathom it, but you never know.  A year ago, I couldn't imagine seeing a 5 without gastric bypass surgery.

Next post, I will share Allie's morning with you.  While I was having this big moment, we were giving her an experience that I'm sure she will be dragging us to therapy for years from now.   It was a double whammy.  Ugh!

Until then....... be joyous, people!

p.s In case you were wondering what the Forbidden Dance of Joy looks like, I'm sure you are imagining  something like this:

In MY head, it looks something like this:

But I'm sure it actually looks something like this:
Click HERE to see it in action

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fightin' For that Five & a Parental Promotion

Hello, everyone!

I want to start by saying thank you so much to all of you who were so encouraging about my latest endeavor.  Whether you commented or just hit that "like" button, I was touched by your feedback.  It was like an extra boost to keep going.

My client that started last week, Ms. J,  has already lost five pounds and she made it seem effortless.  She was like a star pupil!  Her positive attitude had a lot to do with it, but she also fought for it as well.  She followed the program and VOILA!  It's working.  I'm really proud of her and inspired by her too!

Speaking of "Five", I've been fighting to see that second digit become a five for a few days now.  It's my first big weight goal in Operation Fattypants.  Today I got on the scale and you know what I saw?

160.0.  POINT ZERO?   Really?  The effing thing just can't give me a break.

Worse yet, I have one of those scales that does not allow you to cheat in any fashion.  You get on, it scans, and then BAM!  The number pops up and the scale immediately sends it to your computer.   There's no chance to lean a little to the left and maybe get the scale to take off .1 of a pound.  It pisses me off.  But I suppose I need the honesty.

In case you're wondering, I have the FitBit Aria scale.  It works with the FitBit Force and is compatible with the My Fitness Pal app/website.  It's like all of my devices gang up on me.  There's no cheating.  Mutter fluckers.

I will be doing the Forbidden Dance of Joy when I hit that 159, so prepare yourself, peeps.  Wherever you live, I'm sure you'll hear me carrying on.

On other fronts, viral germs have infiltrated my home again.  This time it appears that they do not wish to invade MY body.  They've organized an attack against Justin and Allie.

Last Tuesday, Justin got the stomach virus.  Three days of gastrointestinal fun!  Whoopeee!  Around the 2nd day, he got the respiratory virus.  Double the fun!  Around Friday, he passed it on to Allie, which was a kick in the pants.  I mean, look at this poor baby.....
She usually operates on Fast Forward so for her to be passed out like this in the middle of the day was quite surprising.

Times like this are when I see the real value of Facebook.  Immediately I jumped on Facebook and started asking questions.  So many awesome people responded right away with input.   Of course they are only opinions, but to me it's like gold.  Those opinions have value to me.  Who knows this stuff better than Moms?

I know that sounds really sexist, and I know that there are plenty of dads who are the Go To Parent when illness takes over, so please forgive me for singling out the maternal side.  But when I complained about how I felt like the Optional Parent, everyone said, "Wait until she gets sick or injured.  You'll see."

When Allie wants to play or rough house or do something extra fun, Justin is the Go To guy.  She hears him come home and gets super excited.  Me....not so much.  That's why I say that I feel like the Optional Parent.  He's the super fun playmate.

HOWEVER there is an exception to this rule.  The second that Allie falls down or feels sick, it's all about Mama!  She wont even let Justin touch her.  "NOOOOO!  I WANT MAMA!!"  And of course this is very confusing to him, since he's the center of her world at every other moment.

The immature side of me relishes in this.  Why?  Because he finally gets to see what it feels like to have your child run past you to get to the other parent.  And it's really nice to be able to have something to give that no one else can.  I'm the Comfort Parent.  I'm viewing it as a promotion from Optional Parent. I'll take it.  No extra pay necessary.

Before I go, I had something occur that I'm wondering if any other parents have experienced.  It was a bit freaky and unexpected.....

I took Allie's temperature on Sunday and it was 102.7.  I had to do some things around the house so I moved her from my lap to Justin's.  When I finished with the chores, I came back to the couch and sat down next to him.  For about an hour I felt very emotional and disturbed.

Don't make fun, but I felt exactly like my dog does when a storm is coming.  She gets all freaked out and worried looking.  We always know that a climate change is about to occur just by Sadie's behavior.

During that hour, I kept saying to Justin that I felt like something wasn't right with Allie.   I called the doctor and he told me that her symptoms were normal for the virus that was going around.  But I still felt freaky.  I took her temperature again.

"It says.......104.9."

Wait.  WHAT???

I took it again.  Still 104.9.    I started crying.  I don't know why.  After that, I called my mom and asked her to bring all of her thermometers over.  ("All of my glasses and all of my shoes" for you Jerky Boys fans)  I took Allie's temperature again and it said the same thing.

We called the doctor AGAIN and followed his advice.  About 2 hours later she was back to 102.7 and I was feeling like myself again.  The next morning she was 99.3.  All was fine.  All was good.

So, who is going to explain this to me????  Does someone want to explain that floofy, kafuffle thing that I had going on internally the night before?  Do all moms get this?  Are these more maternal connections to create more things for me to worry about?  No one warned me about this!

Is this how my mom has always known to call me when I'm having distress?  Immediately after an argument with someone, the phone would ring and my mother would say, "It's me.  Are you okay?"  I know that I'm just a rookie.  I'm in the same room and I have this internal thing going on.  My mom gets it while she's in another zip code!  I lived in an entirely different state during many of those crappy moments.  She's intuitive on a professional level.

So, to wrap this up, here's my little princess this morning, feeling all fabulous.....

She's still sickly, but she is happy to be almost back to full speed.

And since I mentioned the dog earlier, here's a photo from this evening.  Sadie has insisted on sleeping by Allie's feet since she got sick.  I looked down tonight and saw this and it warmed my heart....
My two favorite girls intertwined

Wishing you all good health and fluffy, protective paws  :-)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Making A Life Changing Decision..... fun! fun! fun!

Hello, everyone!  This is my first post of 2014 because it took me this long to find the courage to write it.  Actually, the writing part is easy.  It's that some of the photos that are a bit traumatizing.  They're not so flattering.

Last July I downloaded a bunch of photos from my camera and I saw THIS little bit o' hideousness:

I looked at it and thought, "What in the hell have I become?"  There were multiple photos of me with my mom and Allie and each one was worse than the next!  I have a truly hellacious one that I'll save for later.

I started looking through other photos and NOTHING was appealing.  It all was bad, bad, bad.  At 2am, I found myself feeling like I was going to explode.

I had tried every diet, program, regimen, support group out there, with the exception of Phen-Phen.  I was too scared to do that.  However, I wasn't too scared to be a part of research!  I participated in a "clinical trial" testing a new diet medication that was supposedly holistic.  I hope for their sake that I was part of the control group! On a business trip I tried Xenadrine and nearly had a heart attack in my hotel room.  Anyway, if you want to throw a "program" name at me, go ahead..... chances are really good that I tried it.

So, back to 2am.

On the side of a webpage was an ad for Take Shape For Life.  What was that?  It was something new.  New to ME that is.  It's been around for eons.  I clicked on the ad and read everything I could find on it.  This was literally my last chance.  There was nothing else.

As I told Justin about this in the morning, I started to cry.  I didn't want to be a fat person anymore.  I didn't want my daughter to be embarrassed by me.  I wanted to be able to keep up with her and not feel exhausted.  I didn't want to be out of control anymore.  I didn't want to be so disgusted by myself that I didn't look in the mirror when I got out of the shower  anymore.  I didn't want to be so ashamed that I didn't even want my husband to hug me anymore.

So, I enrolled in Take Shape For Life and BAM!  A miracle occurred.

I lost weight.  For the first time ever I lost more than 8 pounds and it felt easy.  At first it was a little challenging, but let me just say that when you get on your scale and the numbers keep going down, you don't want to quit.  I was skeptical that this was going to be a permanent change, but the numbers kept getting smaller!  When I saw that I was 25 pounds lighter, I was doing the forbidden dance of joy all over my living room.

As most people know (because I didn't shut up about it), I got sick at the end of September.  I had to make a number of changes in my medication and what I was eating.  By the end of December I was so eager to get back to Take Shape For Life that I couldn't wait for January to start so I could jump back into the lifestyle.

And from September to January, I gained 4 pounds.  That's it.  Keep in mind that there were those two holidays that provide an endless supply of baked goods during that time.  And I did actually eat some.  But I had learned so much beforehand that I had actually changed my eating habits, which is one of the main goals, and I didn't spiral out of control.

On January 1st, I went back on the program and lost the 4 pounds plus another 3.  Seven pounds and the month isn't even over yet.  It took me EIGHT MONTHS to lose that on Jenny Craig.

I know you're thinking that this is all one big sales pitch, but it's not.  I'm actually training to be a TSFL Health Coach because #1) My coach (an awesome, inspiring guy named Justin in California) played an enormous part in my success and he thought I had the ability to do the same for other people  #2) I truly believe in this.  It works!  I'm proof and I want other people to know about it.

You can take it or leave it.  That's up to you.  But I'm only half way to my goal and if you would like to join me in losing weight and becoming healthier, I'd love the company and I'd love for us all to support each other.  I have an incredible group in California who opened their arms to me and they are always willing to welcome new people for encouragement (or if you just want to bug out about something).  I love them.

Next week, I'll be doing a Grand Opening of sorts.  If you know anyone who may be interested in joining me, or if you are interested, please let me know.  Call, email, text, Facebook me.  Smoke signal, pigeon carrier, and snail mail are also welcome.  :-)  You'll see more information next week.  Wish me luck!!

(Note: I will be continuing with my pet sitting business, for those of you who wondered!   How could I ever leave???)

In the meantime, here are some more photos of my big "Expedition To Health/Departure From FattyBoomALattyVille"

Me and Allie June 2013.  I felt like my face was almost a perfectly round circle!

This is me with Allie in September 2013, exactly 2 months after I started
This is the truly disgusting one I mentioned.  My thighs were so big that they started touching each other half way up my legs.  I realized at this point that my arms were not made for polo shirt sleeves either.
I can  no longer wear these pants without them falling off when I walk.  I have a huge collection of "vintage" Tommy Hilfiger jeans in size 14 if anyone is interested.  I used to have to do squats in these to "loosen them up" so I could sit down without making myself sick from the tight waistband
This tank top was usually too short to tuck in from my "fat rolls" around my waist.  On the second half of my journey, I plan on getting rid of the final roll and getting everything else a bit more toned.

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