The Fool-Proof Guide to Failing with Flair

Everything you need to know about getting it wrong.

Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Unemployment Line

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I have been meaning to take a course on teaching English as a second language (TESOL) for a few months now. It seems like a great opportunity for adventure, income, and inspiration. I originally signed up for the course in July but needed to postpone until the next one in September due to a family/financial hiccup. No biggie. The September course got cancelled by the provider so I signed up for the one they offered in October. I was really looking forward to it. Two days ago I got an email from the provider, informing me that the October course has now also been cancelled and I am welcome to sign up for one of the next sessions, in November or December, 2 hours away, in Boston (the last two were supposed to be held locally). Hell no. I’m not sure if the universe is trying to tell me that attempting to leave the country is a bad idea, or if I’m just exceedingly unlucky at scheduling new educational opportunities, but I’ve decided to put the whole thing on hold for now. Unfortunately that means I now need to go back to searching for a more mundane and geographically convenient occupation to support me while I get my writing resume polished and figure out if international travel is karmically advisable.

I have been down the road of job searching, resume manipulation and rejection several times in the last few years. It has not been a positive, uplifting or financially rewarding experience. I am not looking forward to more rejection (really, an almost total lack of any type of response to my inquiries). I can’t avoid the necessity of a job though, so I started tweaking my resume again this morning and poking around for employment. My frustration level is high. I woke up at 5 am and spent several hours gallivanting around internet job sites. I didn’t find a plethora of career opportunities I am qualified for, or even very many crappy little jobs that are not marketing scams or slave labor. Given the current employment market, opportunities and past responsiveness (or complete lack thereof) of employers to my resume, I am considering an entirely new approach. Maybe this will at least generate a second look before circular filing.

NEW RESUME

Name: Effie Fallire (maybe, just maybe, I’ll go ahead and give them my real name)
Address: Hippie-Happy Valley
Phone: 867-5309
Email: pleasedomethecourtesyofatleastreplying@desperate.com

Education:
High school: It’s been almost 30 years. Do you really need to know this shit?
College: BA in BS from a state institution. Penal, mental, or higher education. Your choice. GPA 3.9
Advanced: JD from a semi-prestigious New England Law School. No longer worth the paper it’s printed on. GPA 3.5 ish

Professional Licenses:

Minus 1. No, make that minus 2. I tried to sell life insurance at one point. That license lapsed.

Work Experience:

1983-1995 Lots of low-paying retail, waitress and bar tending jobs. There was a little schooling thrown in here and there over this time period as well.

1995-2000 None. I was in school.

2000-2010 Lawyer. No references available. You don’t want to talk to these people anyway. Lawyers are sneaky, evil bastards.

2010 Candlemaker

2011-2012 Disaster management

2012-present Looking for a new job

Skills: Word, Excel, Words with Friends, motivational packing companion, Candy Crush

Hobbies: Pet/house sitting, plant killing, bacon eating, blogging, drinking, smoking

Other languages: sarcasm and profanity.

Name Calling

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I’ve had another request from Dirty Girl, aka J. She doesn’t like her name. She filed her inquiry through the correct channels and henceforth she will be known as “Moniker”. I started using pseudonyms to try to distinguish between, and easily identify, anyone I mention here more than once. I don’t know about any of you but, at this point, I’m so confused I can’t tell if it’s me or Moniker who has multiple personality disorder. Like any typical cell phone plan, Moniker is now ineligible for a name-upgrade for the next 18 months. Not even if she pays full price.

Bear is also unhappy with his name but has failed to file the proper paperwork. As a result, his request has been denied. He can find the correct forms somewhere on the IRS website. It can take up to 12 weeks to receive a name refund.

I’m sure The Man in Tights, aka “my old flame” is none too happy about his appellation(s) either. It could be a lot worse though. Unfortunately for him, since he played a recurring role as “the toddler/shellfish” in my most recent long-term relationship failure, and filed false charges against Rodney, he has no standing to complain. It doesn’t matter that there was no possible way for him to know I would start writing a blog and use our relationship as career-kindling. Ignorance is not an acceptable defense, though I might get an ironic kick out of it if he tries. He may not even realize he’s been renamed unless he still pokes around here from time to time, playing grammar-nazi. If he does then perhaps he’s even a little secretly pleased with the notoriety. It means he still takes up some space in my brain and that a couple of his fingers continue to be capable of pushing my buttons. It also means my relationship attorney has agreed to a continuance on the emotional eviction proceedings. I hate lawyers.

The Meanest knows darn well how she earned her handle. She has a tee shirt that says she is too.

I do owe my sister (Sis) a public apology along with the private one I issued already. We have our truths and troubles, like all sisters, but some of them still grow a little too close to the heart for public consumption. She has not been silent or skeptical about my new efforts and her right to expect more from me is highly justified. She was the first person I called when I got the offer to possibly write for cash instead of crazy and she will, without the slightest doubt, be first in line to cheer my every little success. She has never failed me romantically (that would be creepy), nit-picked about my spelling or grammar, filed false charges against any of my imaginary boyfriends, gotten drunk and hit me, eaten my bacon, or left her plants in my care (which makes her smart). I can’t promise never to talk about any of our childhood scuffles but I can say that, when all is said and done, I really couldn’t ask for a better sister.

Paint Chips

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Lead poisoning has been shown to reduce IQ levels. There are a couple of treatments for lead poisoning–after you remove the source of lead. One is chelation therapy and the other is EDTA (chemical acronym) therapy. The minimal research I’ve done on the topic suggests that chelation and EDTA will reduce the lead levels in your blood but not reverse the loss of IQ. I am a little distraught about that because I have relationship “lead” poisoning.

I have removed all sources of “lead” (a little depressing but necessary) and have been administering my own EDTA therapy. In my case EDTA stands for “Enough Dating Total Assholes”. Unfortunately, as a result of my “lead” poisoning, my dating/romance/relationship IQ now falls somewhere below the 10th percentile. Honestly, I’m not sure it was ever much above the 40th percentile but at least I could recite my ABC’s. Now I think my romance IQ is somewhere in line with that of an amoeba. It may not even be that high. Amoebae do not engage in relationships, which appears pretty damn brilliant from my current position on the evolutionary ball-and-chain of romance. Instead they simply divide themselves for company. Voilà, a partner in love crimes! And if they become unhappy with one partner they just go ahead and divide again. Genius.

After writing that last bit about amoebae I took 30 seconds to look them up on Wikipedia. It turns out some species of amoebae do reproduce sexually, which confirms my lower status on the romantic bell curve as well as my scant knowledge of basic science. Sheesh. I think (now a relative term) that I am going to stop here. I have obviously demonstrated my deficiency effectively.

Mixed-Up

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Everybody’s a critic. I received a private comment about mixing my metaphors after my last post. It didn’t come from any source I could have predicted and it will produce no effect on my writing. That person is free to mix their own crazy alphabet cocktail or get their verbal trinkets from a different wordsmith.

I haven’t received only criticism for my efforts here though. There has been some praise and one very nice surprise of an offer to possibly write something for profit instead of just fun, but this space is reserved primarily for debacles and I don’t want to jinx any possible success by talking about it too much. If I fail–again–I can ingest that failure, digest it, and then deprecate all over another story.

I don’t generally like to shout about my efforts to succeed at something while I’m still trying to do it. This blog is an exception. If I go on another fad diet I won’t talk about it here (or anywhere else), unless or until I’m thin again, or have fallen down on another pound of bacon. Talking about things I haven’t accomplished yet produces one of three reactions: expectation, skepticism or silence. It’s mostly skepticism these days, which kind of sucks, even if I deserve it. Silence is disheartening but I don’t handle expectation very well either. No one is more disappointed when I fail than I am, except possibly my sister. I know she’s worried about me but, at times, she also takes my failures as a personal affront. Sorry Sis, you know it’s true. But that’s OK. I’m affronted by them as well.

I probably won’t go far as a writer with just a few musings about personal shortcomings on an obscure blog, but I have other (explicative) irons in the fire as well, so I’m going to go ahead and keep being nutty and verbally demented here. It’s my bloggy and I’ll wry if I want to.

Seafood, or Relationships Part II

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There’s this guy who runs past the patio of the local bar where I hang out. I noticed him last Spring because he’s rather beautiful and he would run past at almost exactly the same time every evening. He’s young and fit. I’m old and, well, not so fit. Pretty much everyone at the bar knows I like to watch this guy run past. He was gone for the summer. I live in a college town and he probably went home to flutter a few hearts there. About a week ago a friend of mine (I’ll call her The Meanest–I have a tee shirt that says she is) told me she had seen him again. College is back in session.

I don’t want to date this guy, or talk to him, or even meet him. Leering is quite enough for me, thank you. Even if he wasn’t at least 20 years younger than I am, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have the slightest idea how not to be an idiot if I was face-to-face with him. I said as much to The Meanest as we were laughing about my totally inappropriate “crush”. Her response was that I wouldn’t know what to do with any guy who doesn’t wear a baseball hat, drink vodka, and have a beer belly. Touché. Of course, she’s wrong. I don’t have any idea what to do with them either.

I have to confess here that, at present, I hold no ideology regarding romantic or sexual relationships. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Those words also describe exactly how many romantic/sexual relationships I have at the moment. It’s not a coincidence.

Pretty much every man I’ve been involved with in my adult life has fallen into one or more of the following categories: cook, clown, musician, liar, commitment-phobe, extra needy, alcoholic, narcissist, and/ or tall. I think one even had reactive attachment disorder. Oh wait. That might be me. The list is not exhaustive and, of course, most of the guys had other qualities, occupations, shortcomings or flaws. I’m not exactly a walk in the park either and I’m sure they all have equally unflattering ways to describe me. We should all keep in mind that I chose each and every one of them. None of them are terrible human beings. After a certain age, life makes us all crazy. There’s nothing you can do about it.

My husband fit into several of those categories at one point or another during our relationship: cook, clown, tall, and a few of the less-savory categories as well. I don’t really have any desire to get into the not-so-nice, gory details of the death of our marriage. It wasn’t funny or fun and is at least part of the reason I’ve been extra nuts for the last 5 years. We are friends now and even though I could lodge legitimate complaints about his issues, my behavior, crazy reactions, and failures are my own fault. Also, when I say he was a clown, I mean that literally and not as some figurative slur. He was, and still occasionally is, a professional clown.

When my marriage finally broke all the way down I went diving, head first, back into the romantic tidal pool and grabbed the first emotional toddler I encountered. My own emotional state was sufficiently regressed such that I hardly noticed at first that I was drowning in 4 inches of romantic sludge, and that this man was holding my head under. It wasn’t malicious. He was only trying to find a way to keep from drowning himself. But even after I knew that to be the case, I just took my feet off the bottom and held myself down for him. Temporarily, newly or permanently broken women seem to be a specialty of his and monogamy is not one of his strong suits. As far as I can tell, it’s not even hanging in his closet any longer. I’m pretty sure I’m not the craziest notch on his belt but I have been insane enough to keep dipping back into his pool, on and off, for most of the last 5 years, and neither one of us has learned how to swim there yet. In all fairness, he told me, up front, that he was relationship-impaired. At first I thought that might change (doh!). Later on it was just something we had in common.

There have been a couple other guys in the mix over the last few years. I tried something completely different a little over a year ago, and dated a short, military guy. I was straightforward about not wanting to be “serious”. This was only going to be a short tour, but he signed on anyway. He was generous, heavy-handed with compliments, and well-intentioned but two weeks after we started dating, I woke up in the middle of the night to find him drunkenly crying about how much he loved me. It was awkward and unsettling and over.

I am now back on romantic dry land and I suspect it is the best place for me for a while. I have been considering moving to the desert permanently since I can’t seem to tell the difference between a clown-fish, jelly-fish and a shellfish (to which I am allergic) but then I would miss getting to see the occasional dolphin. Runner guy may well be a baby shark in porpoise clothing but I’m never going to swim close enough to find out, so I’m enjoying the illusion. From a safe distance.

Spelunking

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I don’t like that I still have really shitty days sometimes. The kind of days where getting out of bed, taking a shower and making coffee feels like a triathlon, but I still have them. Today has been one of those days. I was still in my pajamas at 2:30 pm and I spent most of my day crying through DVR recordings of the first 2 episodes of The Voice and playing levels in Candy Crush that I’ve already beaten. On the bright side, I did write a little here and there throughout the day but it was mostly even more depressing than this. I finally got in the shower around 2:45 and the warm water loosened up my sinuses and brain a bit so I decided to take advantage of the pause in my self-thrown pity-party to do something more productive. It may only be marginally less pathetic to whine here, to you, on my blog than to cry about a contestant on The Voice choosing Blake over Adam, but I still consider it an improvement.

I poke fun at myself for lots of reasons. One, because I really do see my world the way I write about it. I interpret life in visual metaphors. It helps me stand apart from my problems a little. Sometimes it even helps me process my emotions and move forward. I haven’t been all that adept at processing and forward movement lately but writing seems to be helping. Another reason I lampoon my own shortcomings and failures is because it often comes down to “laugh or cry”, which has, at times, come precariously close to “live or die”. I am choosing, with this blog, to laugh and live. It would be nice to think that I am making others laugh and take their own problems a little less seriously as well but I will settle for just making myself feel better. And I will grab every inch of sanity I can reclaim, with both hands, and hang on as if my life depends on it. Because some days it does.

You may read this out of boredom, loyalty, sympathy, or because it has sucked you in like some awkward train-wreck reality show. I’m even willing to entertain the possibility that you read my blog because you actually like what and how I write.  Why you read it doesn’t really matter though. I just appreciate that you do. I don’t know whether or not misery really loves company. Mine usually prefers solitude and whiskey. Insanity however, is an extrovert, and most days my crazy has a whole lot of fun doing this. The process of writing is frequently painful and frustrating but I’m loving it. I’ve been loving it so much that, the whole first week after I started, I was having so much fun I didn’t go grocery shopping, make any necessary phone calls, wash any dishes or do any laundry. I have that problem with new relationships. They impair my life-keeping skills. That’s a topic for a whole different article though. Today I want to keep it depressing.

A few days ago I watched a YouTube video of Louis CK on Conan O’Brien. In the video he is explaining, in his brilliantly sarcastic and insightful way, why he doesn’t want to get his daughter a smart phone. At one point he talks about that lonely, empty place we all have inside of us and how this relatively new phenomenon of being constantly, electronically connected doesn’t allow us to feel our own loneliness and move past it. Some of my private, less joyful writing has addressed the hollowness he describes in almost the exact same words. I don’t have a heartbreakingly funny story about pulling over to cry to a Bruce Springsteen song like he did, but his articulation of that void echoed my own. Writing and emptiness.

I think every human since the dawn of time has had that hole. We all try to fill it up in different ways: alcohol, drugs, sex, religion, adrenaline, humor, anger, relationships, children. The list is endless and at least partially compiled of destructive forces, as if we are trying to blast away the loneliness with soul dynamite. Those destructive forces tend to end up leaving us feeling even more hollow so we continue to shovel in the explosives until we can’t feel anything but the empty space. We stay in bad relationships or become addicts or develop eating disorders or body-image disorders, all in an effort to avoid feeling alone or unwanted.

I have spent a lot of time contemplating my own void over the last few moths. Sometimes I feel like I am standing on the edge of an abyss, staring down into endless darkness. Those are the bad days. Even the bad days aren’t quite so bad anymore though. My brain seems to be working again after taking a hiatus for the last few years and I’m no longer running away from my life. I am starting to realize that the empty space is not actually empty at all. It has all kinds of hidden treasures. I am not religious in the least but I am fairly certain that God dwells in that place. Instead of trying to fill the hole now, I have started to go soul spelunking. So far I have discovered that writing makes me happy. It’s a start.

Lady Parts

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One thing I’ve been trying to achieve, as an experiment, in my non-blog writing is gender neutrality. What I mean by that is that I am attempting to write something in such a way that the reader will be unable to identify the gender of the author. (me, obviously) Why? I don’t know. Just for fun I guess. The issue I’m having is that I’m the only one reading what I’ve written and I already know I’m a female. Showing anyone I know presents the same issue and I can’t really go and post any of it here because some of you know me personally and, for those who don’t, I’ve already more than implied that I come equipped with original lady-parts.

In case I haven’t been specific enough, I can prove it. Sort of. I can tell you that I have them (lady-parts, that is) and have used them. For a while now “using them” has just meant that I always pee sitting down and get to go have my boobs smashed and photographed once a year. I suppose there are guys who always pee sitting down and, since it’s entirely possible that mammograms are performed on transvestites once they have been transvessed (yeah, I made that word up), those things may prove exactly nothing.

If you still don’t believe me I have more evidence:

I got knocked up 22 years ago. At least that’s how I remember it. Sadly, the biological father is not around to confirm or deny that there was actual usage of lady-parts to achieve this feat of womanhood. He died in a car accident before I knew I was pregnant. Really. That part wasn’t, and still isn’t, funny, but it does mean I can’t produce a witness to the physical event of conception. I do have scars, stretch marks, and a 21 year old boy who bears a strong resemblance to me and calls me “Mom”. He lived with me for a long time, made me lose a lot of sleep for the first three years, and cost a lot of money. I also have a very sharp memory of 44 hours of labor and a C-section. If that kid isn’t mine I want to know where I can get a refund and a trip back to 1991 so I can figure out who framed me and stole my body. I want to meet the hypnotist who implanted that labor and childbirth memory as well. Maybe he or she can help me “remember” that I’m really a 26 year old, 5′ 10” supermodel with a trust fund and a Mensa membership.

Where am I going with this, you ask? Hell if I know. I’m lucky if I can remember why I was going into the kitchen a few seconds after I got there and it’s only 3 steps away. Oh, right. I was going to talk about menopause. If I have any male readers left at this point (that is, any of you who have been holding out in the hope of a real discussion of lady-parts) feel free to run screaming now.

I went through menopause almost 20 years ago, right after some sneaky bastard stole my flat stomach and left me with a toddler. If your ovaries stop spitting out the other half of the baby-making seed and leave you temporarily insane and sweaty before you’re in your late 40s though, the medical term is actually “premature ovarian failure”, or POV. My ovaries must have been pre-cognizant (I think that’s a real word even though spell-check says it’s not) of my later-life catastrophes and decided to pack it in early in order to save any other unsuspecting soul from getting trapped in my uterus. One child of theirs was all they could stand to sacrifice.

Now where does that leave me? Apparently with no working or often used lady-parts and a kid who, if he reads this, may be having a personal identity crises. Damn. I’m not sure if I can even convince myself that I am more than just originally of the female persuasion any longer. I think I overshot gender neutrality and hit “dead in the nether-regions” right between the eyes. Now that I’ve talked myself out of being sexually identifiable except through dental records, I’m going to go back to speculating why I wanted to try out literary androgyny in the first place.

It’s not easy to break through the glass ceiling of patriarchal dominance in any profession. I suspect the world of writing and publishing is much the same, though I have to admit that breaking through is not my goal. All that guarantees me is a world-view at penis-level. Any woman staring up through the glass long enough has seen plenty of dicks. When I was a lawyer I got to meet a lot of really huge pricks. I’ve seen enough rotten wood. Now I want to transcend the glass ceiling. It’s a pathetic truth that being identifiably feminine in style may leave me with bruised knees and a soft view of the top of the literary world. This blog is my second baby but, as my writing style grows up, perhaps I can expose it to some gender-bending experiences that will help it along a less chick-lit career path. Maybe if I let it watch old Saturday Night Live episodes with “Pat” sketches, it will start to catch on.

Rodney’s in Danger

Pool Shark

 

I have had a request from my friend, J, to write about a specific topic. I can’t say that I will always acquiesce to her requests or those of anyone else but Rodney deserves a small shot at infamy. Rodney is J and D’s pool shark. He slithers around on the bottom of their pool, keeping the debris to a minimum. In case any of you are alarmed by the idea that my friends are swimming with a real shark, allow me to clarify. Rodney is a machine. He is their automatic pool sweeper and a source of both amusement and irritation. I always felt like he was following me lovingly around the pool when I swam, so he was also the closest thing I had to a boyfriend all summer. Really, he was more like a stalker, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Before I continue to wax romantic about Rodney, I would like to address another matter: the names of other people I refer to in my posts. I have decided first or last initials won’t do. Too many people I know have names that begin with the same letters. If I call everyone J or D or B, soon I will be almost as confused about who I am talking about as anyone who might read this blog. J and D have made an appearance here before, in Barbie Black Thumb. Today, I am giving them their own pseudonyms. I will start calling J “Dirty Girl”. This is, in fact, what shows up on my caller ID when we text or talk. I didn’t give her the nickname as a reference to some tendency towards perversion or because she never showers. I gave it to her because she can never get her fingernails completely clean and because her previous nickname, “Chief-Adult-In-Charge-Of-Shit” was too long to display properly on my phone. There was one other nickname before that but I do not think she would appreciate if I posted it here and it would require a great deal of explanation as well. Now I need to rename D. I think I will call him “Bear”. I hope, if he reads this, he understands that it is a fond reference to his beloved dog (now in dog heaven) and not because I think he resembles a bear, though he is quite hirsute. Complaints about those names, and any others I choose to assign, may be lodged with human resources and will be taken under advisement.

OK then.

Dirty Girl and Bear recently moved from their house (the one with the pumpkin plant) in the Hippie-Happy Valley to a new house in the Outer Banks. I helped them pack up and move, mostly by going through Dirty Girl’s closets with her and trying to force her to get rid of things she didn’t want to get rid of, like the Scottish whore tank top. She kept that one purely out of spite for me calling it that. My favorite closet was the Holy-Mother-of-God closet. No, it wasn’t a closet filled with Virgin Mary relics. It was a closet that was so full I exclaimed, “Holy Mother of God!” when I first tried to open it. After we were done throwing out or giving away the .05% of her clothes she was reluctantly willing to part with, I hopped in my car and caravan-ed down to North Carolina with Dirty Girl, Bear, the three cats, and their dog, Bonnie (not a pseudonym) to help them unpack. I was even less effective as a helper on that end than I had been at getting Dirty Girl to thin her wardrobe. Consequently I spent most of my three weeks at the Outer Banks either hanging out or swimming with Rodney. We got very cozy.

Rodney is a cute, alien-looking creature. He lives, 24-7, in the pool during swimming season, roaming around the bottom and sides, and blowing spurts of water and air when he gets too close to the surface. I think motion in the water wakes him up if he has gone dormant so, when you swim, he is always active. If you’re not paying close attention to his whereabouts he will sneak up on your feet and drag his hose across your backside. I thought it was was kind of flirtatious and sweet, but when Dirty Girl and Bear had other visitors later in the summer, I was told they found Rodney’s overtures a bit more unsettling. One friend (I will call him The Man in Tights–you don’t need to know why) went so far as to accuse Rodney of sexual assault and attempted rape. The trial resulted in a plea of “no contest” and Rodney is still free in the pool and continues to fondle his visitors.

Poor Rodney’s troubles were not over after The Man in Tights departed for home. Dirty Girl and Bear’s dog, Bonnie, has finally noticed him. Bonnie is not a water dog and tended to steer clear of the pool while I was there. I think she was afraid someone would throw her in. (That may be because we actually did try to coax her in, rather forcefully, a couple times.) Maybe she felt safer near the water once I was gone, or perhaps she finally gave up on the squirrel she has been stalking daily, long enough to notice Rodney’s squirts and bubbles and decided to investigate. Whatever the reason, she eventually got close enough to the edge of the pool to realize there was something down there in the water and she was not any happier about it than The Man in Tights had been. She feels the need to express her displeasure by following Rodney’s progress from the side of the pool and barking admonishments at him when he gets close to her position.

I am worried about Rodney. He has been through a lot this summer. He was so depressed at one point that he stopped his assaults on both the pool surfaces and it’s visitors and sat sadly to one side with his bag between his wheels. I failed to keep him safe from false accusations and now I am powerless to stop him from becoming a victim of dogged prejudice. I will try to get back to the Outer Banks to visit him later this fall or next spring but for now all I can do is spread awareness of his plight and hope he forgives me for leaving him alone with those less forgiving of his sins.

 

Guppie Bladder

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I had forgotten, until a couple days ago, just how much I dislike sharing a dwelling that only has one bathroom. Living alone, I have become accustomed to leaving the door open when I pee, cluttering up every surface with my girlie stuff and not worrying about having to wait on someone else.

Two days ago my younger step son (middle boy) came to stay with me for a little while. The limitations of my apartment already compromise general privacy for both of us, but that’s OK in the short term. Not only do I love my step son, I like him too, so I do not feel burdened by his company. I’m not sure the feeling is reciprocal but, right now, tough titties for him if it’s not.

Earlier today we went out together for a while. When we got back to the apartment he immediately went into the bathroom. Grrr. I have a bladder the size of Thumbelina’s head and I pee about 20 times a day. Because I’m a woman and I don’t have a prostate, that’s not the problem. I don’t have some weird bladder disease and I’m not incontinent (yet). I just pee a lot. I pee in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning, before I go anywhere, as soon as I get home, and any other number of times throughout the day. I enjoy having a bathroom that is exclusively mine. After years of raising multiple children in apartments with only one bathroom, my husband and I finally bought a house that had two whole bathrooms. Or rather one full bathroom and one half bath. The point is, they both had toilets and it was highly unusual for my bladder to have to play second fiddle to another family member’s bathroom business. After my marriage was over and the house was gone, but before I moved to my current location, my bathroom situations were mostly shared. I didn’t like it then and I still don’t like it now.

I feel a bit guilty griping about this here. My bad-parent attitude is in full evidence. I haven’t addressed the issue directly with my step son because the arrangement can’t be helped. He has, however, done me the great honor of reading this blog on a regular basis so he will be informed of my toilet turmoil right along with the rest of you, and not before. Bad, bad step mother. Sorry middle son. We all have our issues. Take your time in the bathroom but please let me pee first when we get home. My years of experience have made me fast and efficient. I’ll be out as soon as I’m done writing this . . .

Spinach and Scales

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It isn’t especially unique to fail at dieting or exercise. Pretty much everyone I have ever known has tried one or the other. Most of them have given up or given in to cravings and their own basic laziness. A  few have managed, after several attempts, to maintain healthy eating and exercise lifestyles. I am not one of those few. It’s hard. Life gets in the way. Bacon gets in the way.

I hate scales. I refuse to get on the one at the doctor’s office. It lies. There is one scale I will get on and that’s the one I have at home. The floors in my apartment are decidedly not level. If I move my scale from place to place I can get it to produce results that fluctuate up to almost 10 pounds, depending on which room, and what section of the floor I place it on. Every few days I bring it down off the shelf to see if I have magically lost 70lbs overnight and my body just hasn’t deflated yet. I carry the scale from room to room and spot to spot until I get a reading I can live with for the next few days. Today (Friday), according to the kitchen tile directly in front of my refrigerator, I am 7 pounds lighter than I was on Wednesday per the corner of the bathroom floor. Fantastic! Now all I need to do is find the spot in my apartment where my pants agree with my scale. That part might be a bit trickier. Will the pants just go back to fighting to contain my ass the minute I step out of the skinny zone?

I have tried all kinds of diets and I have even had long-term, monogamous relationships with several gyms over the years. Right now, like in my romantic life, I do not have any aerobically inclined intimate relationships. I haven’t had so much as a short term fling in almost a year. I haven’t seen my sneakers in months. They probably went out for a run and just kept going. No point in returning home just to hang out in the back of my closet.

I tried Weight Watchers a few years back. I actually lost a great deal of weight. I was in an exclusive relationship with the local YMCA as well and we were all quite happy together. Then I went out on my own as an attorney and my youngest son started high school in a different town. The YMCA and Weight Watchers meetings were not local to my life any longer and, slowly but surely, one at a time, my old friends, sizes 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 came back from their extended vacations. It didn’t help that my husband (who had done WW as well and had his own extra-marital affair with the YMCA) was still losing weight and now had food-related OCD which made him obsess, out loud, about every last thing he ate. I think I got fat again partly in protest. (I didn’t lie when I said self-sabotage was my specialty.) 8, 10, 12 and 14 have now gone off again to some remote location but 16 has been hanging around for the last few years. She took a brief hiatus a little over a year ago when 14 came for a visit but 14 is gone again and 16 has taken up residence with me in my tiny apartment. She sits in my chair all day and eats all my food.

A few weeks ago, after waking up in the middle of the night a couple of times, suffering from food and alcohol over-consumption, I took 16 on a little trip to see my local GI. I have had digestive issues in the past and was starting to think my gallbladder, which gave up the ghost during my fling with WW and the YMCA, had returned to haunt me. The GI told me my gallbladder had moved on and no exorcism was required. Instead he suggested that I eat more frequent, smaller meals and cut down on the booze. I didn’t want to feel like I had wasted my 25 dollar co-pay on this brilliantly logical advice, so I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. Not surprisingly, it has worked in helping me avoid middle-of-the-night gastrointestinal distress. It has also resulted in my having a healthier diet over all. I live alone and buying food and cooking for only one person is a nuisance. I end up either eating the same thing day after day or wasting a lot of food. Now I eat a lot more raw fruit and vegetables because they come naturally in individual serving sizes. Except spinach. Spinach comes in huge bags and gets all wilt-y and gross really quickly.

My stomach feels much better most days now and my scale, even placed in the fattest spot in my apartment, registers about 12 lbs below it’s highest previous point. My pants are starting to get on board with the program and 14 called me a couple days ago to say that she might come see me soon. 16 is a little bit disgruntled but she needs to get outside for some fresh air soon. When she goes I’m changing the locks. I may even decide it’s time to get intimate again with some weights and a treadmill.

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