Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Bad Muchacho

I shouldn't be allowed in public without a chaperone.  Truly, I will do almost anything to amuse myself.  It doesn't matter if I have an audience or not, I just can't help it. 

Recently, this has been exacerbated by a marathon of my favorite show "Impractical Jokers".   They dare each other to do stupid or silly things and make fools of themselves in public.  Somehow, I think I'm their long lost 5th member.

As part of the "Year of You, Year of Me" project, I've been working on getting doctors appointments set up for myself. (aka being an adult)  One thing on the list is to find a real doc for Mr. Man and I.  We've been seeing a doctor who is mediocre, bills us incorrectly, and because his schedule is always full we end up seeing the other doctors in his office.   Most of them graduated from the "Medical School of the Caymans" and regularly seem a little hungover.   They are also terrified to actually write a prescription and love to refer you to a specialist.  "Thanks Doctor, but I'm pretty sure my sinus infection, is not a rare tumor, since you know I had a cold last week and I get the SAME SINUS infection every year around this time.  I'd rather try antibiotics first before a CT scan and seeing an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist."

I mentioned to one of my kid's doctors that I needed a new primary doctor for me and asked for some suggestions.  His big advice was to interview doctors, just like I did with my kids pediatricians.  So I set up interviews and met with three doctors who have a concierge type practice.  One of them is perfect and it's not who I would have chosen initially, but during the interview we hit it off.  Interviewing the doctors was a genius idea.

However, during the  interview with the second doctor,  I could tell pretty quickly he and I were not going to gel.  I decided to abandon the questions I'd prepared and ask him some things off the cuff strictly for my own amusement.

Moi:   We established that you have same day appointments unlike my other doc.  Does this mean I can get my prescriptions at "The Target" like regular folks?  Or will I have to continue to stock up when I go to Mexico?

Moi: This one time I was in Mexico, I had a cough that wouldn't quit, so they gave me a pill called, "The Bad Muchacho."  I swear I didn't even get a runny nose for at least a year after I took it. I was healthier than a horse for at least 365 days.  Do you know if there is an American equivalent?

Moi:  Sometimes I can't afford to take a real vacation, so I take what I call a Valium Vacation.  It's similar to a Staycation, but I just take some Valium and lay in the sun.  Do you think I could get a doctor's note that excuses me from work during that week?

Shockingly, that doctor didn't have any room in his practice to take us on as new clients.  He promised to call when a spot opens up, but I'm not gonna hold my breath waiting around for his call.

Disclaimer: My questions were hypothetical and not an admission of drug use, buying drugs across the border, and/or using Valium for recreational use. I do not advocate taking a Valium Vacation or taking a pill called The Bad Muchacho.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Four Years Ago I Lost My Mom

Sometimes when I need a little extra strength to stand tall, I put on a pair of my Mom's shoes.
Four years ago today, my mom succumbed to Breast Cancer.   It was and is still so hard.  To be completely truthful, my relationship with my mom was complicated.  I loved her, she was my biggest cheerleader, and incredibly optimistic.  She also drove me nuts and my parents had some belief systems that sometimes strained our relationship. With all that being said, I miss her.  I miss her a lot.  

I still want my mom to be here, to be a Grandma, to be my friend, to tell me it's going to be okay.  I had no idea when she died, my family, in a way, would died with her.  My mother is probably horrified at the current state of the family and our infrequent interactions.  (The exception being my oldest brother, who is my best friend.  In spite of the fact that he hogged the dimples and good genes,  I still love him.)

As part of The Year of You, The Year of Me, I vowed that I would dump some of my emotional baggage that I've been hauling around.   I need to confess that while I miss my mom terribly, I have been so mad at her, I could hardly see straight.   I've been stuck in the anger stage of grief and just can't seem to move forward.  

She had Breast Cancer three years before her death and while she had surgery, she chose not to treat it with chemo or radiation.  She chose to go against the advice of her Oncologist.  She gambled and she lost, which resulted in my loss.  I lost my mom, my kid's lost a Grandma, and I lost my family as I knew it. I've been furious with her and her choice.

So, at the beginning of the year I decided it's time to move forward, to let go of the anger and leave my emotional baggage at the curb.  Someone else can have it, I don't need it anymore.   I've been lugging that around for a while now and I'm really tired.   With the help of a therapist I've been able to gain an understanding, a new perspective on my mom's choices.  It hasn't been easy and there have been many tears shed, but it has all been worth it.  

I have a new appreciation for my mom that I didn't have before.  She was a vibrant person whose life wasn't easy.  She spent most of her life swimming upstream while wearing hot pink lipstick.  She made the best of it.  Her Mama Bear instincts are legendary and I vividly remember the principal of my elementary school telling me, "I'm going to have to call your mother, but truthfully she terrifies me." (You can read the infamous Mama Bear story here.)

Last night I dreamed about her for the first time in a long time.  We were floating on rafts and I had been holding on to a rope tied to her raft.   She looked at me, smiled, and mouthed the words, "Let Go."  I hesitated and then she nodded and smiled.  I let go of the rope and she drifted away out of view, while I floated back to shore.  My kids, my husband were all there on the beach waiting for me to return.  

Today, I will celebrate my mom and honor the good things I inherited for her.  I will honor her vibrant spirit, put on some hot pink lipstick, and live my life to the fullest.  Just the way my mom would want me too. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015 - A round up of the awkwardness

Valentine's Day...repeatedly the most awkward day of the year for me.  Need some evidence, you can read my round up of Valentine's Day confessions below.

Valentine's Day in Junior High: A Tragedy .. need I say more?

Probably the most romantic Valentine's Day I have ever had... too bad it didn't involve Mr. Man

 Valentine's Day with someone more awkward than I.

The Valentine's Day that made me realize I never want to have a job that requires me to write "Dearest Schmoopy" on a card. 

Tell me... Love Valentine's Day or Loathe it? Post in the comments below. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Soapbox: Taming the Laundry Madness aka How I Stopped Sorting Laundry, Lost 20 pounds*, and Became a Millionaire*

Seems like these days, everyone is promoting "Hacks" on their blogs and websites. There are Cleaning Hacks, Parenting Hacks, Breathing Hacks, and every single time I get lured into them by their promising titles.  I'm a sucker, because I want easy answers to my life problems.  *I'm going to be upfront, I didn't actually lose 20 lbs or become a millionaire..... well yet, there's still hope.*   I just didn't think I could post about laundry without a snazzy title and an outlandish claim.  

I have been told on several occasions that I need to share my "Laundry Hack". I'm kind of known around these parts for my unorthodox laundry method.  It all started right after we moved to The Chalet. We were remodeling and finding a dust free spot to organize and sort the laundry was challenging.  One time I actually went out to my car and popped the trunk and started folding laundry out of the back of my car, it was the only dust free place I could find.

My big secret to doing laundry:  Stop Sorting, Use Shout Color Catchers.  The End.

It seemed crazy that I was gathering all the laundry from the hampers in each room, sorting them by color, washing the clothes, and then resorting them by each family member to fold and put away. Too much sorting!  The laundry was already sorted by person, because everyone has a hamper in their room so why not do laundry by person/room and not by color?
So one week I just grabbed Mr. Boys hamper and tossed it in the washing machine without any other laundry. I realized he had hardly any whites, he is a pretty colorful kid. I risked it and threw it all together in the wash using cold water.  When it was done, I grabbed the basket and just walked it over to his dresser and it took just a few minutes to fold  and put away his clothes in the dresser. 
Then I discovered Shout Color Catchers, they absorb any extra dye that might leach from the clothes and make sorting a thing of the past.  I have washed AK's reds and pinks with her ballet whites, and they all come out good as new.  So now I don't sort at all, I wash laundry by each person, or really by each hamper. 
Clean underwear on the head is an optional accessory for doing laundry.
Then I realized with my new method, my children are capable of doing their own laundry so now they load their own clothes in the machine. (I usually hover around at this part because otherwise odd things end up in the washing machine, such as, but not limited to: sporks, chili peppers, Legos, Barbie Shoes or crayons)  We toss in a Shout Color Catcher, some detergent (it's crazy easy for the kids to use those Detergent Pods) and we are good to go.  I usually move it to the dryer and then the kids get their laundry from the dryer to fold and put away.  

Even if I end up folding their laundry it usually takes about 10 minutes to put away their laundry, since it's all being put away in one place.   They aren't the best at folding, but they are getting better over time.  Then once a week I do the random loads, towels, sheets, cleaning rags.  

For me, this method works and has saved me lots of time.   I'm dying to know your best tip (hack) for saving time doing housework... share in the comments below! 

*Disclaimer:   As of publication date, I haven't lost 20 lbs or become a millionaire.   Stay tuned for updates on that front. Nor have I been paid or endorsed by Shout Color Catchers.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

2015 - The Year of You, The Year of Me

I'm late to the game with New Years Resolutions and themes for the year.  I have been thinking a lot about the "Yes Project" I did in 2012.
During the Yes Project,  I tried to say yes more often than no to opportunities that came my way.  The amazing thing is that I ended up doing pretty incredible things.  I repelled thirty two stories down a skyscraper, watched America's Cup in person, met Queen Latifah, and ended up writing for her  website.  It was an incredible year and I am grateful for it.

This year I keep coming back to the idea that this is the Year of Me.   It sounds incredibly selfish but it's really not.   You know when you are on a plane and they tell you in case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first, THEN help those around you including children.   This is my intent for the year, putting on my oxygen mask first so I can have enough oxygen to help those around me.

There are some changes I've been thinking about and there is no time like the present to tackle them.
  • I've got some emotional baggage that I'm hauling around that I need to dump.  
  •  I feel better when I'm eating more fruits and vegetables.  I also know I should be drinking more water, it's better for my skin and health.   It also might be time to bid my beloved friend Diet Coke goodbye. 
  • I love hiking and swimming but always put it at the bottom of the list in favor of tackling emails and chores.   Those pesky items can wait.... the hills and the water are beckoning me.
  • It's been about 15 years since my last routine physical and eye exam, it's probably time to get a check up.  
  • I spend way too much time reading about keeping my skin young and fresh and not enough time trying to keep my skin young and fresh.  I'm going to wear sunblock more, drink more water, and actually put on those fancy creams that adorn my vanity. 

I'm sure I'll add to the list as year goes by, but my goal is to take on a new challenge for the month.  For example this month I'm going to make all those appointments I've been putting off.   I'm going to make all my doctor's appointments and book some time with a therapists to get rid of my baggage.

What are you going to do this year during the Year of You!  I want to know and I'd love to have some friends join me as we put on our oxygen masks first.