And Now I Feel Like a Jerk

Frustrated with the utter lack of progress on the last few piddly items of the remodel, I sent the contractor a tacky text:  Anyone?  Bueller? Bueller?

He texted back that he was at the hospital with his uncle, but would be by in the afternoon.

Around three o'clock, I lost patience and texted him again:  Please come finish my house.

He texted back almost immediately:  My uncle died.  We were very close.

I? Am such a jerk.


A Long Time Coming

Twenty-two years ago, a man broke into an apartment near Houston and brutally murdered two men.  One of the victims he didn't even know, he just had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  That victim was T's cousin.

This evening at 6:00, the killer was executed by lethal injection.  T and his uncle were in attendance.

People feel a lot of things about capital punishment: from 'an eye for an eye' to 'execution is just another form of murder.'  I know how I feel about it, but I wouldn't try to change someone's mind if they disagreed with me.

Here's what I do know:  aftershocks of the murder are still rippling through this family's lives. That one act of unspeakable violence sucked the spirit out of a family.  They will never recover.

I hope they have some peace now.


A Life of Moderation

I recently changed doctors.  My previous doc had to be chased down and hog-tied to get my lab results.  It was just too much work.  So I switched to my neighbor.  He's a good ol' boy and full of down home bonhomie that makes getting poked and prodded just a little less unpleasant. Mostly I was there to make sure the prescriptions for my crazy pills didn't run out, but I also needed to get my thyroid levels checked.

We started out on the scale.  OMG.  It seems that my self delusions know no bounds.  I was shocked - SHOCKED! - to see the number on the scale.  The highest ever except for when I was growing a whole other person inside me.  Then my blood pressure was high.  Well, high for me.  I think it still qualified as right in the normal range, but I am usually around 115/70 and on that day I was 130/80.  Maybe it was the shock of the GIGANTIC numbers on the scale.  More likely, it was that my children had chosen that morning to test the boundaries of how badly they could behave without me beating them in public*.

The nurse called me with the results earlier this week.  Ironically, my thyroid levels were stable.  It was just everything else that was screwed up.  Cholesterol? Yikes!  Triglycerides?  Eek!  Blood sugar? Not terrible, but not good either.  With all of my dad's health issues lately, the blood sugar thing is FREAKING ME OUT.


I have known for years that I needed to make some, ahem, lifestyle changes.  In fact, it was the driving factor for starting this blog.  I had all these flowery notions of getting healthy to set a good example for Z and not pass on my weirdness about food.  A good thought, but ultimately the effort fizzled.  Now?  My weight is going to seriously threaten my life if I don't do something about it.  Maybe the good news is that the bad news will get my a$$ in gear?

So.  What to eat?  Well, I have decided that I need to feed myself like I feed my children: balanced meals with limited snacking in between.  I am the queen of late night snacking.  I prefer to do my snacking alone, which is a great big flashing neon sign o' dysfunction.  Solution: No more secret snacking.

I already eat a pretty good diet, I mostly need to eat way less of it.  Portion control has been my nemesis for as long as I can remember.  I am a woman of many enthusiasms.  Food is one of them!  I have a hard time stopping when the food still tastes good.  Solution: The rule of 80%.  I will try to stop eating when I am 80% full.  No second helpings just because it is there.  A little bit of everything - even ice cream! - but nothing to excess.

More fresh fruits and veggies.  Less processed food.  More whole grain.  Fewer simple carbs.  It is so easy to get sucked into serving prepared food because it requires no thought at the end of a marathon day.  The kids like it.  My husband likes it!  Hell, I like it.  Solution:  Home made versions of stuff we love.  For instance, I have an easy and awesome recipe for whole wheat pizza dough.  The kids love to make their own pizzas and they taste great.  It's win win!

Oh, yeah.  And exercise.  Lordy, how I hate to sweat!  But we have been riding our bikes all around the neighborhood.  It is amazing how much more work it is when all the tires are low!  Whew, my tush is sore!  I plan to take Q to school on my bike in the fall.  That will be a sight!  I also have a date with the elliptical trainer upstairs.  We finally got it moved out of the garage/back porch and into the air conditioned weight room.  Now I just need to get on the darn thing.

It is funny how a few little numbers can do what vanity alone could not.  Wish me luck!

*I don' beat my children in public.  Or ever.  It's a joke!  Chill!


All the TV Finally Pays Off

In the not too distant past, I finally got around to filling up the kids' sandbox.  I purchased the sand from Lowe's.  It was labeled 'play sand' but a more accurate name would be '50-50-mix-of-sand-and-gravel-that-is-impossible-to-build-with.'  That rolls trippingly off the tongue, yes?  Suffice it to say that Q often come inside with pockets filled with pebbles.

He was particularly proud of one 'shiny' pebble (translation: smooth) and presented it to me as a gift.  It was promptly knocked off the table and lost forever on the remarkably pebble-colored carpet.  Except that it wasn't.  I located his perfect pebble and put it back on the side table for him to find.

Fast forward to dinner prep this evening.  T and I were discussing his whirlwind trip to the ranch when Q came into the kitchen.  I honestly can't remember what he was saying - a lot of his narrative is difficult to follow - when the words "rock in my nose" jumped out and set off maternal alarm bells.

Sure enough, upon further inspection, his shiny rock was shoved impressively far up his right nostril.  I had a moment of blind panic when I contemplated swooping him up and rushing him to the ER for immediate removal of the offending nostril nugget.  Then I remembered a similar situation on a Royal Pains.  The PA dislodged a nose noodle by covering up the other nostril and blowing into the boy's mouth.  She was immediately successful and not the least bit covered in snot.

It didn't go nearly that smoothly on my end.  The blowing into Q's mouth, made him laugh like crazy, but didn't move the pebble.  I finally just covered up the other nostril and told him to blow his nose.  He moved it down a little and I squeezed it out like a zit.  It was like his nose was giving birth.  Shudder.  Man, skin is stretchy!

So I guess that was a milestone.  I was going to throw the nasty thing away, but T made me save it.  Well, wash it off and save it.  He wants to keep it for Q's baby book.  Can you imagine that scrapbook page?  Boys are so weird.


Spitting Mad

Neighbor Kid is at it again!  Today when he came to play in our back yard - because we have cool stuff to play on - he got Holly all wound up.  Again.  And went crying home when she got all jumpy.  Again.  This time, instead of threatening to sue us, he told Z that if Holly 'attacked' him again, she would be taken away from us.

I want to throttle this kid!  So now, not only is he bossing my kids around in their own yard, he is threatening to have their dog taken away.  Grrr!

I understand that there aren't a lot of kids out here in the sticks and my kids are the only game in town as far as playmates go, but if he is such a sissified scaredy-cat, he needs to quit coming over to the no-weenie-zone that is our back yard.  Big dogs live here.  Over-zealous dog-affection is the price of admission to the fun toys.

Neighbor Kid has now announced that his 'family rule' is that he is only allowed to play with Z and Q in the front yard.  Z and Q are only allowed out front if T and/or I are out front, too.  Maybe that will squelch Z's fascination with all things NK. 

Because the other day at McDonald's?  She asked me when she would be old enough to go out on a date with him.  I told her that since he will always be three years older than she is, she will never be old enough to date him.  Z totally didn't buy it.  She said she would just wait until she was a grown-up and go on a date with him then.  Just! Kill!  Me!


Happy (Belated) Fourth!

Things are funny here in Wester.  Instead of celebrating July 4th on, say, the fourth, the powers that be declared that the big fireworks fun should be held on the more convenient third of July.  To maximize the opportunity for folks to get wasted and drive around after the fireworks, you couldn't possibly set them off on a Sunday! Humph.

Anyway, we planned accordingly.  The in-laws planned their swing through Wester on the way to Colorado to coincide with the fireworks display and T invited the night unit to come have steaks with us. 

Enter the rain.  My fam has long compared me to Rob McKenna from Douglas Adam's So Long and Thanks for All the Fish:  a "Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer," aka: a rain god(dess).  Having recently been to east Texas, I apparently soaked up moisture like a sponge and brought it home with me.  Wester is now the wettest desert known to man. 

The fireworks were canceled because the (beer) vendors couldn't set up shop safely in the standing water at the fair grounds.  Awesome.

Our dinner was great, but somewhat anticlimactic.  It certainly didn't end with a bang!  (Ha!  Fireworks humor!)  After the required patriotic flag cake, everyone went home.

The actual fourth was such a non-event that I forgot to put the kids in their cute July 4th outfits!  It was only after I started hearing the neighbors blowing up the horse pastures that we ventured outside.  The great thing about living outside the city limits is that fireworks are legal here.  I am personally too cheap/chicken to purchase incendiaries.  Lucky for my poor deprived (all-their-digits-having) children, my affluent neighbors have no such problems. 

The local display started around 9:00 and continued until past midnight.  And not the cheap fire crackers, either.   Big, gorgeous, bursts lit up the sky for 360 degrees .  It was like theater in the round, but more explode-y. 

The kids were entranced.  For about ten minutes.  Then they were entertained with the novelty of being allowed to run around outside in the dark.  Once they got whiny, we went back inside.  Unfortunately, the big free display going on around us did not take bed times into consideration.  I think we made it into bed sometime after midnight.

Happy birthday, America!  Thanks for letting me sleep in today!