Monday, April 27, 2015

Ignore the sobbing and wailing you heard

It was just me trying on swimsuits.  I don't know why I got it into my head that I need a new swimsuit. I already have one that I like (and which fits okay) and one that I like a little bit less. We are beach-bound in July so I thought it might be nice to have an extra swimsuit.  I looked at the selection at Kohl's a few weeks ago. However, I was on my lunch break and didn't have a lot of time at my disposal. I felt like I needed a longer block of time for the suffering and humiliation. So, I went back about a week later. Although I was originally opposed to the idea of a tankini (when I was younger), I found that they aren't so bad after all. Both of my existing swimsuits are tanks with swim skirts. I also said I would never wear a "swim skirt" but that was before I accepted that fitting room mirrors don't lie about cellulite. Anyway, I grabbed a few swimsuits and headed into the fitting room. First one: nope. Second one: nope. Third one: I think I muttered something about conspiracies and feminism and Kohl's role in all of that.  I may have given a nice big "fuck you" to fluorescent lighting as well.

A few days later, I stopped at Lands' End with my daughter. She sat on a stool and looked miserable while I poked around the swimsuit racks. I took two suits into the fitting room. I fared somewhat better here.  The bottoms looked fine (well, as long as I didn't look too closely) but the tops didn't have enough lift and support. The straps were too skinny.  I prefer a racerback. By then, my kid was shoving her foot under the fitting room door and acting like she might die, so I gave up.

Yesterday, I decided to try JC Penney. It never occurs to me to shop at JC Penney even though we have one within spitting distance from our house. I didn't have a lot of time because I had to get to a yoga class.  I wandered around the racks, looking for any eligible candidates. What was more memorable about the excursion was the exchange nearby between a customer and an employee. I couldn't help but listen to the whole thing.  From what I gathered, this woman makes a career out of buying and returning stuff. She went on at length about her visit to the store a few days before, when a new employee apparently had the pleasure of dealing with her. "Amy must have been new," she said, "Because she didn't understand what I was trying to do and she had to get a manager."  She brought up Amy's shortcomings several more times.

Now, I do not return stuff.  Ever. My husband got me some running shoes for Christmas and they were the wrong size. But even then - I simply exchanged them.  I did not return them. You could give me a bucket of vomit as a gift and, even if you gave me the gift receipt . . . I still wouldn't return it. I would just put it in my basement with all the other junk we don't want.  I worked retail in high school and college and the lesson I learned from all of that is: don't return anything. It just causes too much grief.

So, it was from that perspective that I listened to this conversation.  I think this customer was the retail version of a quick change artist. She would hand receipts to the cashier and then take some of them back. She said she needed to return some of the stuff and then buy it back. Something about discounts that had changed.  I don't know. It just went on and on and on.  No matter how wacky her requests were, the cashier simply smiled at her and attempted to comply.  I heard the cashier say, "So you want to return this one?" and the lady replied, "Why would I do that? Can't you see that I'd only get $3.99 back?"

I grabbed a couple of swimsuits and tried them on. Bleh. When I went back through that section of the store on my way out, I attempted to find the hapless but helpful employee. I was going to tell her that if JC Penney has some sort of superhero award, I wanted to nominate her for it.  I didn't see her, so I assume she was in the break room, drinking vodka straight out of the bottle.

Anyway, I've temporarily given up on my quest. I have managed to lose a little weight over the past two months but it wasn't enough, apparently, to make swimsuit shopping bearable. This summer, I'm just going to wrap myself in a tarp and bob around in the ocean. (Do they make tarps with a racerback and underwires?)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I know we *just* did this, but . . .

My husband and I spent most of the weekend painting our living room. He says we "just" painted the living room and didn't understand why we needed to do it again. I need to tell you when "just" actually was: 2005.  My husband has always had weird ideas about time. For example, if it's 6:10, he'll say, "It's almost 7."  We really need to paint the dining room as well but I'll wait a month before mentioning it. I have to ease the boy into things.

I headed to Home Depot on Friday evening to throw myself on the mercy of a very nice paint department guy. "I don't know what I'm doing," I told him, "but I want brown paint."  I pointed to shade of brown from one of the five cards I had in my hand. There are a lot of shades of brown. I was looking for something like caramel, I guess.

"Sure thing, young lady," he said. Young lady. Ha ha ha!

"I also need some off-white paint for the ceiling," I said.

"Well, turn right around and grab the 'Book of Whites' off the rack."  I was buying Behr paints and yes, they have a Book of Whites. It sounds like some scary thing the KKK published fifty years ago.  I selected White Privilege. Just kidding. I chose Cottage White.

On Saturday, I did my best to stall by driving to a vegan bake sale but eventually I had to face the music. I mean, paint. I think it turned out pretty well.  Just don't look too carefully at the corners.  The brown paint is called something like "Artisan Crafts" or, as my husband lovingly refers to it: runny diarrhea.

My friend Dave made me these pictures many years ago and I still adore them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Metal Mouth

Tinsel Teeth
Brace Face

Okay, I'm officially out of slang terms for a kid with braces. We had our umpteenth visit to the orthodontist today. I've noticed that a lot of parents just drop their kids off, but we always stay with ours the whole time. She's our only child so I guess we just like to micromanage every situation that involves her.

She got to choose the colors for her braces, which is probably the worst consolation prize the world has ever known, but it seems like kids don't really notice that part of it. My daughter chose silver and purple. The brackets are only on the top four teeth in the front, but the wires wrap all the way back to her molars.

I noticed that a kid in the next exam chair was having all sorts of stuff done (including having molds taken of her teeth) and just sat there stoically. Not my kid, mister. She recently told me that the boys at school call her "Drama Queen."

"I don't really mind," she told me, shrugging. You can't argue with truth, I guess.

As Dr. M was working on her mouth, my daughter held out her hand so I could hold it. The whole scene did seem like it would be a bit uncomfortable. A lot of metal and wires going on. I could tell that she wanted to cry. 

Once the braces were in place, an assistant took us into another office to demonstrate proper cleaning techniques. She said that when we come back in two months, the doctor will grade A's brushing skills. G for good. F for fair. P for poor. Apparently, if her oral hygiene is truly lacking, they will send a letter to her parents about it. She's almost ten years old. I will remind her to brush her teeth, but I will not brush them for her. So, I guess I'll look forward to that P.

The good news is that in six months, those dirty teeth should be pretty damned straight.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Giddy Giddy Gumdrops

After losing my last Boxer, Lucy Annabel, at just 8 1/2 years of age, having Gideon still with me at 11 feels like a bonus in many ways. Boxers usually live to 10-12 years of age, but cancer often takes them down sooner.

I adopted Giddy a couple months after Lucy's death. I say that "I" adopted him because he's always been my boy. "Who's the goodest good boy in the whole world?" I ask him. "Who's my sweet puppy?" He looks up at me with increasingly cloudy eyes with an expression that seems to acknowledge that he's definitely the goodest good boy. I love that old grey face, but it breaks my heart a little, too.

Gideon doesn't have all of the skills that Lucy had. She was an excellent spooner, for example. If I was in bed watching TV, she would circle once and always end up in just the right spot. Gideon tries but mostly steps on my boob and stuff. Lucy won countless medals in Obedience and Agility. Gideon still isn't convinced that heeling means walking on my left side.

In some ways, his age has no effect on him. He still jumps into the air at meal time. He still flings himself at the sliding glass door when he wants to come in. Despite his fading vision, he can still snatch an accidentally-dropped pretzel off the floor at lightning speed. He's generally pretty healthy.

Giddy's main obstacle is that his left rear leg is no longer cooperating. His foot knuckles under and as he walks, he scrapes the top of his foot. When he walks across the kitchen tile, I can hear pad-pad-pad-scrape as he walks. I've often wished I had hardwood floors but now I am glad to have the carpeting so that my ol' guy can get some traction.  My friend Kate gave me box of disposable Pawz rubber booties to try. They were left over from her Boxer who passed away. I took Gideon for a walk this afternoon. Surprisingly, he didn't try to take the boot off. I guess he figured he would be feisty about it based on his feelings towards wearing funny hats when he was younger.

We just went for a short walk.  It was around 70 today and he overheats easily.  The boot stayed on, so that was good news. I could hear the rubber scraping against the asphalt and I was glad it could shield his toes. Someone immediately spotted us and asked about it, of course.

After our walk, I came home and grabbed our foster dog, Prince, who is 16 months old and never gets tired.  I feel like I could walk him to the moon and back and he still wouldn't get tired.  Gideon, meanwhile, is not a huge fan of Prince's puppy antics. Prince is getting adopted soon, so I'm sure Giddy will be glad about that.

It's just tough watching my sweet guy get old. If you know anyone who has any pull over this sort of thing, ask them how we sign up for immortality for doggies.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

No more headgear!

Last photo before the expander was removed
The six-month-long saga is over. The headgear has been returned to the orthodontist. I have to say that the kid was a pretty good sport about sleeping with a bunch of metal strapped to her face for the past six months. Putting it on every night was another matter, of course. She wouldn't do it until her dad and I were foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs. "Put. Your. Headgear. On. NOW!" Once she had it on, though, she was fine.

The palate expander was removed yesterday. She was supposed to be rinsing with saltwater three times a day. Ha ha ha! She threw a Hail Mary of sorts and did rinse a few times in the last week. However, I think it was too little, too late.

When we got to the orthodontist's office yesterday, her dad and I couldn't resist joking about the palate expander and how it would be removed. We had no idea what the process was.

"I am pretty sure they use a chain saw to get those buggers out." I said to my husband, as the kid played in the toy corner nearby.

"No, I think they just remove her whole lower jaw and then pry it out."

"Oh, like a snake?" I responded.  Then we had a whole conversation about whether ALL snakes can unhinge their jaw or not. I need my reptile rescue friend to weigh in on this. Is it all snakes or just certain types?

Anyway, the kid didn't find us amusing at all. When it was finally her turn to be seen, we went back with her to the assembly line. I am not kidding. They have four exam chairs arranged in a circle and they just rotate kids in and out of those chairs like nobody's business.  I could see the kid was getting nervous while she was waiting for Dr. M to get to her. Dr. M's assistant explained to her that the doctor was going to use a dremel-type tool to thin down the sides of the expander and then use another tool to break off the plastic in large pieces. She had a few minutes to worry about that while waiting for the doctor to come over. Meanwhile, I grabbed a Kleenex and swatted a booger out of her nose, and I can't say that she was terribly appreciative. "MO-O-OM!" I couldn't help it. She was lying on her back in the exam chair and I could see straight up there.

Finally, it was her turn. The orthodontist got to work in my kid's mouth and then said this: "If any teeth come out with the apparatus, don't worry about it - that means they were supposed to come out anyway." Why did he have to say that? My daughter's eyes got big and she started to panic. I held her hand while the doctor did his thing. Poor kid. A few minutes later, the apparatus was out. And ew, it was pretty gross inside her mouth. I could see a big flap of gum tissue hanging down and she was bleeding. She was still in a panic because everything felt very "wrong" in there to her.  She started to cry. Dr. M. is a good orthodontist but he is not down with any kind of drama. He ignores it completely. So, I consoled her even though I thought she was being a little dramatic, too. That's what moms do.

When we got home, we basically let her eat ice cream for dinner. The roof of her mouth was so raw that she didn't want to eat anything else. She gets one week off before the braces are installed next Wednesday. They did install some spacers between her teeth yesterday in preparation. The braces will just be on the top and their job will be to align the four teeth in the front. At that point, after the braces come off, she should be in pretty good shape - orthodontics-wise, anyway.  She has more teeth to lose so I don't know what will happen in the future. Once all of her adult teeth have taken up residence in her mouth . . . if a couple of them are a little crooked, I don't know if we'll shell out for more braces. Everything we've done to date was undertaken for the sole purpose of correcting a misalignment of her jaw. That's done, so I'm not sure how much we need to do beyond that. We'll see.

I'll have an update on brace-face next week.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Weekend

The weekend started off with a bang - or more like a splash. The kid dropped her iPad into the bathtub. And yes, there was water in it at the time. I had gone to the gym (and basically had the whole joint to myself since it was Good Friday) and when I came home, I was met with a tearful kid who was so distraught that I couldn't really understand what she was saying. "I know I'm probably grounded!" she wailed. I did some quick Googling ("what to do about a wet iPad") and then immersed the iPad in a stockpot filled with rice. I sealed it with saran wrap and then stuck the whole pot in a cabinet.  The instructions indicated that it should be left for 48 hours.

Maybe I was tired from the work-out. Maybe I was just in a good mood because it was Friday. I wasn't nearly as mad as you'd think. P and I talked it over and decided that "no electronics for the weekend" seemed like a decent punishment. If the iPad was ruined, that would be plenty of punishment right there. You may recall that a few weeks ago, we paid $140.00 to replace the glass. I feel like my daughter's iPad is worth more than my first car was worth.

We had a pretty quiet weekend other than that. On Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers and then we mostly just hung out at home. The kid dyed eggs. I can't eat eggs (since I'm vegan) and she doesn't really like eggs. So, I hope her dad is prepared to eat 11 eggs in the next week or two. The 12th one cracked and I fed it to the dogs.

Today was a typical Easter for us. The kid hunted for eggs (the plastic kind with candy inside) and then we went to church. You can tell from her Easter basket that she's definitely growing up. This is the first year that the Easter Bunny didn't bring her a stuffed animal. She's more interested in clothes than toys these days. After church, we went out for brunch. Refusing to order from the kids' menu, Her Highness insisted that she could eat a full-sized pancake. Three bites later, she announced that she could not eat another bite. Ah, that was money well spent.

After brunch, we had a quiet afternoon at home. The kid and I played Battleship.  I won. She got crabby. You know, the usual.

One highlight of the weekend was: chocolate cake. I sometimes feel entitled to a wee bit of a splurge after I weigh in. So, I made chocolate cake using this recipe.  If you ever need to bring a dessert to an event that will include vegans and non-vegans, give it a try. My husband has already eaten at least three pieces.

Speaking of weighing in, I lost .8 this week. I was afraid I wouldn't lose any, so I was pretty happy with that. My husband has been recording his weight once a week as well. This week, he lost two pounds. How? By skipping dessert one night. Last week, I went to the gym five nights out of seven and tracked every single bite I ate - and only lost 8/10 of a pound. My husband said no to chocolate one time, hasn't seen the inside of our gym in months, and lost two pounds? Grrrr

In case you're wondering . . . we took the iPad out of its rice bath just a little while ago. Miraculously, it seems to be just fine. I don't know how many lives that thing has, but it has used up at least two of them.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's simple, really

Here are some things I can choose:
  • What I wear tomorrow
  • What I eat and how much
  • How much I yell at my kid on any given day.
Here are some things I can't choose:
  • Whether or not my husband snores on any given night
  • The weather
  • My sexual orientation
I saw this news clip earlier and it made me feel a little stabby.  Let's say you're goofy enough to believe that sexual orientation is a choice. You have a right to your opinion. Whatever. But do you discriminate against a BABY, for crying out loud? What the hell is wrong with people?  The whole scene in Indiana is troubling, too. I'm glad that pizza joint came out and said they don't want to cater weddings for same-sex couples. I'd rather people not hide their bigotry, you know? It's better if we all know so that we can boycott that shit - or support it if that's your thing, I guess. Also, since when are people having pizza joints cater their wedding? Is that a thing?

I can only hope that in my lifetime, people just get over the "it's a choice" stance. I need everyone to accept the premise that it's not a choice, and move on from there. I happened to be hard-wired to like boys. I didn't choose that. I also didn't choose to have pizza catered at my wedding.

What also makes me sad is that Christianity is getting dragged through the mud so much. My Christian friends don't buy into the "it's a choice" stuff. I even have friends who are both Christian and gay. *gasp!*

Sometimes it just feels like we, as a society, are so unevolved, you know? It's depressing.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to exercise my choice to pour a nice glass of wine.