Meaner than a junkyard dog

Having a chat with a work friend about the various types of office drama queens we have around us. What we noticed is the drama queens thrive when they can share their drama with someone and usually they have  their go to minion who is at the ready to listen and agree with whatever the drama queen’s issue of the day happens to be.

My friend asked if two of the most notable drama queens in the office were buddy-buddy at the moment, a tactic in the drama queen world is to keep your fellow queens closer in order to be the one to control the daily drama….it’s exhausting. My reply was the worst of the bunch, due to her negativity towards everything and everyone was like a junkyard dog. Your best bet was to toss her a few treats as you walk by otherwise she will lunge from her yard and attempt to take your arm off as you try to escape. I go out of my way to avoid her office, just because I don’t want to be sucked into her drama. We were friends at one time, are no longer and I truly have zero interest in her, her life or whatever is bothering her. I don’t even want to share about my life, even things that are public knowledge. But like everyone, once in a while you have to give her a treat (your precious time) and listen as if you give a damn in hopes of buying peace for a few weeks.

So, there is my Southern Belle witty observation of the day. Hope you can avoid the junkyard dogs in your world today!

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Down, but not out

This week was rough. On Tuesday I strained my Achilles on my left foot, talk about painful. That same day, possibly related, maybe not, my back went out or rather, it felt like a sharp knife in my lower back. No matter the position: sitting, standing, laying down, I was in horrific pain. Back pain is what sent me to physical therapy to start with, so this sudden and more severe return of the pain caught me off guard. I had an MRI on Thursday, which showed nothing. While I’m glad that I didn’t require surgery or worse, there was an issue that could not be corrected, I hate not knowing why I’m in pain or what can be done to help. I wasn’t able to work out after Monday and with resting my back is feeling better and I am having a dry needle treatment this afternoon. Fingers crossed.

While at my doctor as a result of the pain, I was weighed. I was shocked to see the number of the scale SIX pounds MORE than when I weighed two days prior. WTH!!! I had not cheated. I had not used food to comfort me. So, before I panicked (too much), I figured it was the different scale. When I got to work, I had to check, so I hit the gym and the “official” weigh in scale and there it was, FIVE pounds more than two days prior. I won’t lie, it was a bit defeating. I stayed on track with my diet, although my water intake was a bit down for a few days. With the pain and bed rest, I didn’t get my steps in, not to mention no workouts. I feared stepping on the scale today.

Our usual weigh-in time is noon. I have my routine. Breakfast and then 24 oz of water, then no more until after weigh in. That allows my body to process and eliminate (aka pee) any excess prior to weigh in. With a 20 minute heads up, we moved weigh in to 10:00am. Ugh. I had just downed my water. Seems like a no big deal, but motivation is key to staying on track for me. I held my breath, stepped on the scale and was relieved to see the five pounds from last Wednesday was a fluke and I was down 1.6 lbs. Just shy of my weekly 2 pound goal, but still down.

But wait…there is MORE. I opted to recheck at noon, sticking to my normal routine and I was down 8 additional ounces!! So I did meet (and exceed) my 2 pound goal and over all I am down 12 pounds in 3 weeks!!!

 

True Hell…. A Dieter’s Story

I have never been “skinny”. I developed early and have had curves for as long as I can remember. I never had a problem with my weight growing up it was my mid to late twenties before my weight inched  into the “overweight” category. No matter my size I have always been comfortable in my own skin. I have been on various diets over the year, at one point after reaching my heaviest point after a prolonged period on steroids to control my arthritis, I lost over 80 pounds. That was 17 years ago and I have gained most of that weight back over the years. Last week a few things were like a sign that once again I need to make an effort to drop some weight, not for vanity, but for health reasons.

Sign #1: I have been having heartburn more frequently and it had gotten to a point that pretty much anything I ate would be followed by a dessert of Tums. OTC meds were long cutting it, so I made an appointment with my doctor. In addition to yet another prescription, my diet needed to change to avoid trigger foods. While at the office I made the mistake of looking at the BMI chart. I really have no idea who came up with these “normal” weight ranges, because I’m here to tell you, if I got down to 120 lbs, which is mid-range for my height, I would look like I had a disease worse than arthritis or GERD. But it was a wake up call that by medical standards I am in the unflattering category of the “morbidly obese”. Ugh.

Sign #2: A friend who had gastric bypass weight-loss surgery several months ago posted her 100 lost photos on Facebook. I am so happy for her and know the decision to have surgery was not an easy one nor  the easy way out. The sign was, for the first time I realized that her starting weight at the time of her surgery is my current weight. Now, she is shorter than me by 4 inches, which when figuring BMI is significant, but I never thought of myself of “gastric bypass” weight. I really made me think and I decided it was time to use her milestone as my motivation.

Sign #3: Thanks to physical therapy I am feeling better and able to exercise, which has not been the case for some time. Yes I can make changes to my diet, but without getting out and moving, I will not be successful in the hell that is life on a diet. We all want to see results of our hard work, so now I feel I can do both sides, the diet and exercise.

So, as of Monday I have started my new fitness routine. For me, when I spend money on something I am far more apt to commit, as I don’t want to waste my hard-earned cash. I signed up for the Beachbody program. Let me just say, that name is really stupid. To me, “beach body”, is a bikini body and no matter how much I lose, that will never be me. I see desiring a beach body to be vanity and that is not what this journey is for me. However, even with my dislike of  the name, the options for meal plans and workouts was the best fit for me. I have a coach, not a 30 something stay-at-home mom who works out non-stop and raves about how the program helped her lose 20 lbs and now she looks like a supermodel, my coach started the program at 57  and lost 127 lbs. I don’t need or want to lose that much, but I love having someone who was more my age and weight, she knows the struggle.

Right now the hardest part for me is the water. I need to drink A LOT of water! I thought I drank a fair amount of water before, but no, I was not, not even close. Along with the added water intake, you have the opposite and the many trips to the little girl’s room must count towards my daily steps, so win/win there. I gave up sugary drinks almost two years ago, so it’s not like I will see drastic effect of the water, but I’m sure it all works out somehow,  I can’t say I understand all the science, but I paid good money to be told to drink 4 liters of water a day, so by golly, I’m going to drink up.

The food, so far, hasn’t been too much of a challenge,  but I’m only 3 days in. The program gives you lots of options so it’s not like I’m being forced to each things I don’t like. One thing I have noticed, while I’m eating more during the day in addition to all the water, I’m hungry. I was never hungry before, even without eating breakfast most mornings. The plan I am on is you eat 5 small meals a day,  so I should NEVER be hungry, yet I am. I’m sure when my body adjusts that won’t be the case, but its hellish.  And eating healthy is expensive. Leaner cuts of meat are more expensive than the fatter ones. Fresh fruits and veggies add up quick. I was trying to find a lower carb whole grain cracker, the only one I found was cost five times what a regular box of crackers cost and was about 1/3  the quantity.  It’s crazy, but I’m going to do it!!

I am sure there will be many blogs in the coming months about my weight loss journey, maybe putting it out in the universe will add another level of accountability and keep me one track. Or maybe I just like having a place to bitch about being water-logged while eating my expensive, yet tasteless crackers and feeling hungry all the time.  Stay tuned….

 

Well, they finally did it

In my many blogs about my friends, Dick and Jane, the running theme has been dad always gives in. While I’m not a parent, I get why, even if I don’t agree with it. They are his kids. No matter what they do or say, he wants to be part of their lives, and them in his, and he has to believe they are better than the behavior they have exhibited. In my last blog things had taken a turn for the worst with his younger daughter, Sue. Dick allowed her a “mental health day” home from school after she threw what was nothing more than a tantrum over a question about a school project being asked at the dinner table. Dick has admitted that was a mistake, especially given how things got so much worse after. My guess is many of Dick’s decisions are made in hopes that his daughters will see the effort he is making to “hear them” and given them some say in their lives, as they claim he is controlling (you know, with making them bathe and attend school- insert eye roll here).

Much of last week the girls were allowed to come and go between their parents’ homes as they pleased- something that had not been allowed in the past, but given how unhappy they both have expressed being in Dick and Jane’s home, why not allow them extra time with mom (aka Medusa). After giving them that control and buying a small fortune in art supplies for Mary to do portraits at a local art fair, Dick hoped for a peaceful weekend. Poor delusional man. After taking Mary to the art fair Saturday morning he returned home to have a talk with Sue about events over the week. She had not been open to talking to him earlier, which led to her stress and need for the aforementioned “mental health day”. Sue said she didn’t want to talk if Jane was going to present, to his credit, Dick told her no, it was Jane’s home too and this affected her as much as anyone, so she was most certainly being part of the discussion. Acting more like a 3-year-old vs. a 13-year-old, she sat with her hands over her face refusing to talk. When she finally did speak it was to say that her mom was there. Yep, Sue had texted mommy and without conferring with Dick, Medusa showed up at their house to take Sue with her. Dick went out and sent his ex-wife away, returning to the house to FINALLY take back some of the parental power he handed over to his girls on a silver platter long ago.

Things escalated quickly with Sue making wild claims as to why she is so unhappy in their home and when they didn’t just except her crazy lies about Jane forcing her only wear clothes she picks out for her and how her father controls every aspect of her life, she ran (yes, RAN) from the house saying she was going to kill herself. Dick went after her, but rather than coddle her and give her whatever she wanted to make her stop saying such hurtful things, he called her mother and told her to come get her- however if she did, she was to keep her. Medusa, not one to give up her social life freely pushed back that she couldn’t keep her overnight, but could spend the afternoon claiming her down. Dick stood firm, if she took her from his house, she was not to return. Being backed in a corner, not wanting to say no in from of her daughter, Medusa agreed.

In the past Dick has said he would never allow the girls to live with Medusa full-time, that it was giving in to both their mother’s coddling and the girls desire to live with no rules or responsibility. I guess with the realization that Sue had been lying for months about being happy with him and Jane only to find out she hates them both and the time in their home is torture, causing her to threaten to kill herself rather than stay there, on top of the journal in with Mary said pretty much the same, he hit that point. He sent an email to their mother saying, on a temporary basis, he feels the girls should stay with her full-time given the threats of self harm, or worse. He also said they will be returning to family therapy to work on these issues. Family therapy had been set aside after both girls expressed the desire to have individual therapy on their own.  Medusa agreed, in theory, but she was pushing for more details regarding the arrangement, all self-serving, not about the girls. He told her that he was meeting with the family therapist on Friday to discuss details and he would meet with the girls over the weekend to explain it to them.

I’m sure what Medusa is concerned with is money, plain and simple. I know a lot of divorced parents and let me say, Medusa has the sweetest deal by far, especially considering infidelity on HER part was the final nail in their marriage’s coffin. She got a lump sum settlement that was enough for her buy her home outright, so no mortgage. Dick paid of the car she had at the time and still has, so no car payment. Dick carries the kids on his insurance and pays ALL out-of-pocket for medical/dental- every co-pay, prescription, EVERYTHING. He pays for tuition for both private schools and any extra school fees. The only expenses Medusa has for her kids is half of any extra curricular activities (which at this time neither girl does) and their needs when in her home (food, clothing, etc). In addition, to all that, she gets $2000 per month in child support, which comes out to $1000  per week that she has them with their 50/50 arrangement. Dick was more than generous when they divorced, for the sake of his kids, kids who treat him like dirt, in large part because their mom has made him out to be the villain at a every opportunity. So now, they have done it, they finally pushed him to cave and give them exactly what they want- but what they didn’t count on is what they will be giving up. Medusa claims to be broke, so all the luxuries the girls enjoyed while in Dick’s care will be gone. No more trips to the coffee shop.  No more cable tv with every channel. No more shopping for expensive art supplies, clothes or make-up. No more vacations to tropical locations. Dick will continue to pay for their cell phones service, however if their phones break or go missing, it will be on mom to figure out a replacement. Same for the fancy laptop Mary enjoys, mom will need to figure out a way to extend the photo editing software when the year is up that dad paid for. But they will be free of their horrible father, evil stepmonster and the prison like environment they made life in their house to be.

And Medusa will not get another cent. In our state child support is not based on the amount of time the children are with each parent. Doubling the time she has with the kids will not translate into double the support. Based on the state calculations, Medusa is currently receiving more than what is typically awarded- so she needs to consider herself lucky and figure out how to live within her means. My guess is that will mean a lot of using the word “no”, which the girls hate to hear, but this is what THEY wanted, all three of them. They will not be happy however. The reason family therapy was put aside was the therapist suggested that they make more effort and change to make their situations better. For years Dick and Jane had been the ones making all the changes, doing everything the therapists suggested to make the girls happier in their home- nothing worked. So they will go back, my guess is the girls will not speak, they will sick in silence for each session. At this point I don’t know if these girls are capable of being happy, which is sad.

Dick is heartbroken, but feels he has done all he can and its time to take this drastic step. His marriage was on the line, as well as the safety of both daughters if their threats were to be believed. He is  good man, with a good heart and the best of intentions, but you can only be pushed so far…. Dick has been pushed past that point.

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my birthday. I have never been one who was overly excited about birthdays, maybe because mine usually fell the first week of school, before friendships had been formed and my mom was not a “send treats for the class” mom. I do not recall a single birthday party with friends as a kid, so as I transitioned to adulthood, big celebrations were never my thing. I am also not one to dwell on my age. I had no issues turning 30 or even 40, but for some reason, this birthday, 48, I’m having a hard time.

It’s not that I feel that 48 is “old”, but more that I am feeling old and it has nothing do with my age. Needing physical therapy for a non-injury pain makes me feel old and weak. And to add insult to injury (so to speak), the therapy doesn’t seem to be helping. And while I also don’t view 50 as old, I think being this close is a bit of an adjustment. I don’t look my age, not that I really know what 48 should look like, but my guess is most don’t expect it to have purple hair. I have good skin, one thing I can thank my mother for I guess. I am often mistaken for being much younger, which is nice, but it doesn’t really change how I feel, it’s not about looking old, its about how I feel, on the inside.

I guess I have 364 days to enjoy 48 before 49 comes knocking… ugh.

Wow…. just WOW!

For those who have followed my blog, the endless drama with my friend Jane, her husband Dick and his daughters, Mary and Sue provide an endless supply of blog worthy material. When last we checked in on the family Mary’s journal had been left in plan sight and was filled with dark thoughts and talk of death. For the better part of the past year, all attention has been focused on Mary and her anxiety and depression, which does not seem to be getting better, so much so the girls’ mother, Medusa, reached out to Dick for a meeting with Mary’s psychiatrist. Medusa has gone out of her way to work against Dick when it comes to parenting and their children, so it’s a rare thing for her to suggest a united front. They met and very little came of it;  more therapy, encourage her to be more open (which to this point she has not been, at all) and a possible evaluation in a few months if that doesn’t help.

During this time, Sue, the younger daughter, has become closer with Jane and expressed on numerous occasions that she is happier in her father’s home than at her mom’s. One reason is she feels that her mom let Mary get away with doing what she wants; no chores, be mean to Sue, not attend school if she is stressed. Sue has a medical condition that causes her great pain and other issues, so she too misses a great deal of school (over 30 days last year, so much so both parents were called in multiple times to discuss). Part of me felt that Mary was being over dramatic with her issues to gain some of the attention that Sue had been getting for years due to her medical condition, as it is normal for kids to compete for parents’ attention. Now the tables have turned, Mary is getting the bulk of the parental attention and concern, and it seems Sue is not happy.

The girls returned to Dick and Jane’s home on Sunday. Monday was Jane’s birthday and neither girl made mention of that fact until Sue came down just before bed to wish her a happy birthday. Sue said she had not forgotten, but had not been feeling well. My guess was she was laying the ground work to miss yet another day of school (she has already missed 4 days this year, this is her 3rd week of classes). Tuesday was the meeting with Mary’s team of therapists and Wednesday Sue had a meltdown at dinner. Out of the blue she got angry when discussing a school project that had been discussed multiple times. At first it appeared to be a typical hormonal teen outburst, but shortly after while in a full sobbing breakdown she told her father she had been pretending to be happy at his house, that she felt she had to be the perfect child to be loved because Mary was so messed up and only her mother understood her. Wow… just WOW. Literally the week before this same girl was texting Jane telling her how her mom and her were once again arguing and she really wanted to live with her father full-time. This has been going on for months , yet NOW she claims it was all lies? I am not buying it. To add to the WOW factor, she woke up this morning and told her father she needed a “mental health” day off from school. That she just couldn’t deal with it and she was stressed over her father trying to control her life. WHAT THE HELL?!?!!? Keep in mind, this kid has missed 4 days in less than 3 weeks and with the holiday she already has had an extra day off this week. She is 13, it not “controlling”, it’s called GOING TO SCHOOL!

Sadly, Dick let her stay home. WOW

There is so much about all  this that makes me go WOW. Personally, given that every member of this family has their own therapist, as well as a family therapist, they need have come real talk, together. Dick needs to take control back from his kids. I say call their bluffs. Tell them that they need to deal with the reality of life in his house. Go to school, treat the other members of the house with respect and civility and do the minimal household chores they have been asked to do (which is pretty much limited to cleaning up after themselves). If they are so unhappy and only mommy understands them, let them try living with her full-time. My guess is they will miss the nice home and all that comes along with it. But Dick will never do that, he parents out of fear and this will continue, sadly until Jane leaves most likely. So, WOW to a grown man being afraid to stand up to his kids.

Jane is now actively looking at job opportunities out-of-state. WOW. I really never thought it would come this, but I can’t say I blame her. Literally EVERYDAY it is something else, and not a small something, but big major shit. She’s not an evil stepmother. She has done her very best to be a positive influence in these girls’ lives, only to have it thrown in her face and be told any kindness showed her was faked. While I know Dick loves her, at what point do you see that your kids are jerks who are looking to ruin your life for no real reason, not like mom and dad will get back together if Jane were to be out of the picture. It’s all so sad, for everyone, but Dick is doing no one any favors by allowing this behavior to continue.

So, wow… just WOW.

Be safe

There are times when local friends and neighbors will complain about being land-locked. To reach the sun drenched beaches of Florida, the East Coast or Gulf Coast require several hours in a car or a pricey plane ticket. This is not one of those times. While the Houston area experienced epic rain and flooding the likes the United States has never seen thanks to Hurricane Harvey, the only thing we got was a nice break from the heat with fall like temps and some much needed, all be it short lived, rain. And now, the Caribbean and Florida are bracing for what could be an even bigger storm, Hurricane Irma.

Yes, there is a trade off to live in paradise, but even knowing hurricanes are a possible trade off doesn’t make it any less daunting when you are faced with it. In Houston, it wasn’t the endless rains that caused widespread flooding on one of the countries more populated cities, reservoirs had to be released to attempt to control the damage. The fact that Houston’s infrastructure is unregulated, allowing for structures to be built between the two reservoirs added to the loss of property and possibly life (nearly 50 people so far have died as a result of the storm). In addition to man-made conditions on the group, many experts have said storms are bigger and more dangers due to global warming. So who is more to blame, us or Mother Nature?

I hope more in Irma’s path heed to the warnings and evacuate. I can only imagine the horrible ordeal it is to evacuate your home must be. To attempt to get all you can, including pets, and find a place to stay, for how long, you do not know. Not everyone has the means to go to a hotel, on the fly, for an undetermined length of stay.  In the Western part of the country, wild fires are raging, over 70 of them from Washington State down into California. May of those are man made disasters, but with a lack of rain the conditions make it easier for fires to spread.

In the Midwest and southern part of the country we get tornadoes. Up North, several winter weather, with heavy snow falls and ice storms create similar hazardous conditions. No one is “safe”, but we can listen to the experts, follow their advice, prepare as much as we can before hand and hope for the best if/when the storm hits, in whatever form it hits. And after, we must all come together, to help in whatever way we can, as you never know when it may be your turn to be on the receiving end.