Friday, March 22, 2013

Work is tedious? Really?

Hey everyone!

Yes, I'm still breathing.  More or less.

I'd like to offer up a series of reasons for my absence that inspire admiration, understanding, sympathy, or even pity.  But at the same time, I want said reasons to be believable on some minute level.  Of course, I came up with absolutely NOTHING that would fall into any of the first options and still cling to the second option.

So the truth is:

I have a new full time job.  I am still adjusting to a full time schedule.  I still enjoy sleeping.
None of this is condusive to computer time.  So blogging just kinda got left hanging in the linen closet.


I should be napping before my shift starts.  I'm already yawning and it's only 7pm.  I start work at 9pm and won't get to come home until 6am. For some odd reason, my bosses frown on us pitching forward to snore and drool on the keyboards.  As a result, we've all become drug lords in our own rights as we take turns supplying each other with nightly supplies of Jet Alert, migraine meds, and liquid caffeine bombs.

Seriously, if they come out with flavored caffeine pills we'll be leaving holes in the walls and ceilings as we ping off every surface we come into contact with.

Hmmm?  What do I do?  Oh right!  I work in a call center for roadside assistance.

Kinda boring huh?  Heard someone say it sounded like a very tedious job.

Well, it can be.  There's only so many times you can be excited about sending someone out to jump start a car or change a flat tire.  But it needs to be done and there's almost always a grateful customer who's relieved that there are people crazy enough to stare at a computer all night long in case a tire blows, or a car mutinies out on a pitch black highway in the middle of Bigfoot territory.

And then there are the inevitable calls that trickle through all the normalcy filters and make you stop to look around for a "You've been pranked!" camera crew.

Cust: "I need to get a tow for this Jaguar."
Me: "And you are the owner of the vehicle?"
Cust: "I will be as soon as the tow truck pulls it to my house."
Me: "....."

Cust: "I have a flat tire in my driveway and I can't get the spare on."
Me: "That's no problem. We can send someone out to change that for you.  May I get your home address?"
Cust: "Ummm.  I don't know what that is."
Me: "Oh did you just move in?"
Cust: "No. I've lived here my whole life.  Why?"

Cust: "I need you to send someone out to unlock my door."
Me:  "Sure thing! Where are you located?"
Cust: "Why do you need to know that?? Just send someone out here!"

Cust: "I'm stranded out here and need someone to come help me immediately!"
Me: "Of course! We'll get you some help on the way.  Can you tell me approximately where your vehicle is stuck?"
Cust: *gives street location*
Me: "*pause* Isn't that your driveway?  Where are you right now?"
Cust: "My livingroom."
Me: *twitch*

Cust: "My car just stopped running."
Me: "Alright, let's see what we can do to help with that.  Did it overheat? Is there electrical issues?"
Cust: "No, it just stopped suddenly."
Me: "Did it make any noises before it stopped?"
Cust: "I'm not sure. It was really noisy when my car hit the guardrail."

Cust: "Can you send someone out to my location to pull my truck off of a rock?"
Me: "Ermm... okay.  Can you give me any landmarks to help us locate you?"
Cust: "Oh they won't miss me.  Just look for the 19 or 20 other cars stuck on rocks too."
Me:  *blink*

Cust: "This stupid BMW is locked with the keys inside right where I can see them. Will you send a locksmith out here to unlock the car door?"
Me: "Of course!  Once they get the doors open, you'll need to show proof of ownership and photo ID."
Cust: "You mean I have to be the owner??"

Cust: "My car broke down at this casino in Reno, and I've gotta be at work in 6 hours.  I need to have it towed home!"
Me: "May I get your home address so we know where we're towing the car?"
Cust: "Just outside of Flagstaff."
Me: "Wait... Flagstaff, Arizona?"
Cust: "Yeah! And I gotta be there before dawn.  That's not an issue, is it?"
Me: *repeatedly slamming skull into keyboard*


Cust: "I need to get someone to come pull my truck out."
Me: "And is the truck stuck in mud? Snow?"
Cust: "It's stuck in a cow."
Me: "Come again?"


Sunday, February 3, 2013

A few creations....

It's been a fairly slow week on the blackmail fodder front.  I've been working all day every day and by the time I get home, everyone's generally too tired to aggravate anyone else, which really cuts into any opportunities for sadistic entertainment.

Once I rotate over to the evening shift, I should have a few choice tidbits make appearances here and there.  And if I can get my paws on the graveyard shift, I'm gonna be all over every piece of lunacy that presents itself again.

As for this week.. really don't have much to go on about.

I'm down to 159 pounds.  My goal when I started this mess was to lose 55 pounds and I gave myself 6 weeks to do it.  It's been 5 weeks and I've lost 8 pounds.  So at this rate, I'll make my goal in about 35 weeks.

I'm close! 

If you call aiming for the North Pole and landing in Antarctica "close".


So it appears I'll be doing the working out thing on a pretty permanent basis.  While I'm less than ecstatic about the results in the weight department, I sure can't complain about everything.  I'm fitting into clothes I haven't been able to wear in months.  My portion sizes when eating have shrunk exponentially.   My energy has skyrocketed.  I still have serious issues breathing while I'm actively working out, but the attacks I was getting on a fairly regular basis at other times have all but vanished.

Plus, now my kids are wanting to workout all the time.  Little Hunter even asked for a set of weights for Christmas!  (We got him a pair of 2 pound weights since he's still so young.)  Heather's mad that she's far too small for the Tread Climber, but Sarah's looking forward to her birthday when she's legally old enough to use it.  We'll see if she's still as enthusiastic after she uses it for the first time.


*cough*  Anyhoo....

There were a few accomplishments to brag about this week.

First, check out the magic Manny worked on my cross stitch!

I'm really looking forward to giving this gift to its recipient, but that won't be until I finish the one I'm working on for his wife.  In other words, he'll probably get this sometime in the next decade or so....

I also have to brag on my 13 year old daughter's artwork.  I was going through some more of my mother's things and came across a collection of oil, chalk, and pencil pastels.  Of course, those went straight into Sarah's possession and she set to work immediately experimenting with yet another new medium. 

The first result:

And the second finished product:
From what I understand, she started out wanting to make the eye into a world.  Somehow it evolved into something of its own creation.  I personally think it's amazing regardless of what it was "supposed" to be.

Awesome stuff, right?

Just wait.  I have one more to show off.  The masterpiece of all masterpieces, so wonderful it puts everything else before it to shame.

This one is Steve's work of art.

None of us have his kind of talent and probably never will.

You ready?

You sure?

Okay, here it is.... 

Beef stew with fresh vegetables in a brown gravy sauce and poured over white rice.

Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Never trust anything that bleeds this much and doesn't die

Someone told me that once.  I nearly killed him on the spot out of sheer principle... well that and the need for a convenient target to unleash all my monthly hormones and irrationality on.

I've matured since then.  Now I just torture victims in subtle and frightening ways.

Okay, so they aren't all that subtle.  And my potential victims have learned enough to stay just beyond arm's reach.  And to hide potential weapons.  And to leave plenty of chocolate peace offerings.

Just picture that scene with the M&Ms out of ET.  Yeah, that about sums it up.


So Saturday was supposed to produce an update on my weight loss progress, but it didn't.  It's like this.

My monthly trek into the happy vacation land of cramping, bloating, mood swings, water retention, random flashes of homicidal rages, bright red waterfalls, headaches, and maniacal urges to mutilate anything too slow to outrun me began Friday.

I weighed myself Saturday morning.  The scale said I had gone back up to 164 pounds.  Steve pointed out that it had taken me months to find a scale I liked as much as the one we currently had and that my jumping up and down on it while screaming violent threats at the top of my lungs really wasn't all that great for it.

And for some odd reason, everything in the house that had a pulse seemed to avoid me the rest of the afternoon.

There was no way I was going to admit to the internet that I had gotten HEAVIER while working out and dieting.

So no update.



Yesterday was Sunday and I managed to behave myself.  Even after discovering that someone at church had left the coffee pot on... 
All.  Week.  Long. 
I must have looked really odd racing through the church halls holding a glass pot at arm's length while a blackbrown stain on the bottom of it bubbled and oozed like it had a slowmotion heartbeat.  I honestly shudder at the thought of what might have happened if the pot hadn't been nearly overflowing when I agreed to leave it on for someone else's use last week.

Okay, it's church and we're taught to be patient and understanding and remember that we aren't perfect ourselves.  In my case, rather than striving for perfection I strive for surviving most of my choices from day to day.  This is becoming something of a challenge.

Anyhoo, last night I was sitting at the computer mucking around when I suddenly realized that I had torn a massive hole in the inner thigh of my favorite jeans and there was about to be a matching hole on the other thigh.  My favorite jeans!  Are you kidding?!?!?

PMS urges.... going into overdrive...

Down girl... deep breaths... deep breaths...


Having successfully reduced me to a quivering mass of frayed nerves just waiting for an excuse to implode on a cosmic level, Aunt Flo calmly packed up and sauntered off to make someone else's family miserable for a week.

So I got up this morning to get ready for work and decided to give the scale a chance to redeem itself.


That's better.  I think I'll celebrate with a bit of chocolate.


Monday, January 21, 2013

My blog. My title. Get over it.

I just had a rather interesting note sent to me via Facebook.  One of those friend of a friend of a friend kind of things, I think.

On a positive note, it got me to double check and tweak my privacy settings again.

I have no idea who this person was.  The name looked suspiciously like something you'd get if you entered Bartholemew Aliouicious the Third into one of those "What's your Hobbit Name?" doohickies.  There wasn't even a profile picture; just that blue and white portrait thingie they have. I got agitated and deleted it before it occured to me to try to figure out who it might have been.

The basic gist of the message?

My blog is offensive and should be banned from the internet because I have a "prayer" in the title.


You're kidding right?

There are blogs depicting crime scenes, S&M, bigotry, racism, political rantings, random attacks on equally random groups of people, etc, etc, etc...

And my blog is offensive because I have the audacity to say "Dear Lord"?

Well, I have a couple of things to say in response...

Bless You.

Heavenly Father watch over you.

In our Lord and Savior's holy name.

Jesus loves you.

May your days be blessed with Heaven's Grace.

May all the angelic hosts of Heaven guard your every step.

God protect you.

Oh... and I almost forgot.

Dear Lord.... HELP me to bite my tongue when I need to no matter how badly some people desperately need to show off their complete lack of double digit IQs.


P.S. - Maybe a side of tact with a sprinkling of patience would be in order too.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yeah, yeah... it's been a week...

So, apparently someone aided a whole collection of days in escape without my authorization.

Once the culprit has been outted, there WILL be repercussions!



Okay, so let's get the ugly stuff over with first, shall we?

I said I might get courageous and post picture updates as we watch this slow motion train wreck. So before I can chicken out of that promise....
Took this one yesterday morning.  I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised.  There is actually a visible, albeit teensy, difference between this photo and the first one.  And I'm fitting comfortably into a pair of dress slacks that used to whimper in terror when I glanced in their general direction.

My diet has improved a tad.  I'm not eating junk food day in and day out anymore.  I'm eating salads drenched in my favorite dressing (mmmmmmmmmm... Russian!) for lunch, Atkins shakes for breakfast, protein bars in between meals, and when I absolutely MUST satisfy a craving for dark chocolate, I have dark chocolate covered raisins and almonds to choose from.

Still getting used to my metabolism demanding something to eat every other hour though.  I now see why they keep saying that you should eat six times a day instead of just three.  And I'm constantly startling myself with how little I manage to eat at each meal before my stomach calls it quits.

Although, that could have something to do with our typical meal conversations too...

Tonight for example, we somehow started talking about extended family.  Being a military family, "extended" family generally means extended travel to see any of them.  So Heather started trying to remember where everyone lived.

Heather: "Grandma lived in Georgia!"
Me: "Which Grandma?"
Heather: *pointing to my Mother-in-Law* "Grandma!"
Me: "No.  My mother used to live in Georgia.  Aunt Tanya and Grandpa live in Georgia."
Heather: "Oh yeah."
Me: "So where did Grandma *pointing to Mother-in-Law again* used to live?"
Mom: "In the State of Confusion."
Heather: "Where's that?"
Hunter: "Can I go visit?"
Sarah: "You're already there."
Steve: *pointedly ignoring this latest bit of chatter* "Where does Aunt Meredith live?"
Heather: "Ummm... Texas."
Me: "Good job!  And what about us?"
Heather: "That's easy!....



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two Weeks Down, Four To Go

But who's counting?


That's what I weighed yesterday.  For a grand total weight loss of three pounds in two weeks.

*insert ecstatic cheers, cartwheels, confetti throwing, fanfare, and other overdramatic expressions of excitement that I can't be bothered to muster up right now*

I'm getting so aggravated with this.  Steve says I'm doing great because I'm still using the Tread Climber, and I do have to admit that I put on a pair of pants this morning that I haven't been able to wear in months.  I even got them to close, wore them to church, and sat and listened to the service for two hours.  All without holding my breath or sneaking in a quick prayer that the button fastening them didn't spontaneously pop off and put a hole in back of the head of the gal in front of me.

But having said that, I'm still aggravated.  I see nothing at all wrong with expecting 6 weeks of results out of 6 days of effort.  Isn't that what all those infomercials and "As Seen on TV" products promise us??

I've noticed some distinct changes in the last two weeks though.  My energy is up again.  I'm not having as much pain when breathing as usual.  I AM having all sorts of odd pains everywhere else in my body.  The speed I had originally set the Tread Climber for when I started this now feels excrutiatingly slow so I've almost doubled it. And my appetite has skyrocketed.  I'm hungry all the freaking time!  But not for burgers, pizza, bread, or even chocolate.  I'm wanting cucumbers, salads, carrots, and eggs of all things.


Wanting veggies and protein.

And not wanting dark chocolate.

It would seem the world is ending after all. Not to mention that I got an odd postcard in the mail blaming me for some sort of blizzard in Hell.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Why does stitching take so long?

This past Sunday, I took my latest finish to church in hopes that the poor soul I consistantly ambush to frame my projects would be there.  He wasn't, but my finish got noticed by several people and the same question and answer session repeated itself a few times:

Friend: "Wow!  How long did that take to stitch?"
Me: "Just over a year."
Steve: "She's got others she's working on too. One for about 2 years and one for going on 4 years."
Friend: "Holy cow! Why does it take so long?"

Well, for most people, it doesn't take so long.  (Unless you're the unbelievable Sharine and working on something to rival the Sistine Chapel. Check out her Faery Tales project!!) Most people are able to set aside time to devote to stitching with minimal interruptions and maximum attention spent. A few people are able to set aside time to devote to stitching with more interruptions and slightly divided attention spent.  There are even some people who are able to set aside time to devote to stitching even with constant interruptions and miniscule attention to spare for their projects.  Somehow they all manage to complete these beautiful works of art within the same decade they started.

Then there's me.  My attempts at setting aside stitching time somehow seem to morph into what must appear like a clandestine affair in the works that has not only been discovered, but caught in the act, and now involves a spectacular falling out worthy of a Benny Hill skit.

The day starts with me racing around the house at 7:00 in the morning to get children taken care of and housework completed.  Children that should be in school are shooed off to their pertinent school buses.  Child who hasn't been successful at sneaking onto the attendance rolls is distracted with much toy goodness and the occasional Disney movie.  Cats are fed and sometimes bribed with catnip. 

Why yes! Flight of the Bumblebee does tend to play in my head.  In fast forward.  Wait... why would you ask that?

9:00 arrives with dishes, laundry, and straightening completed until the next rut and breeding season scheduled for sometime in the afternoon.  I scamper about as quietly as possible collecting stitching materials and sneaking everything into place. 

No one notices.

I sit on the bed and test the "MOMMY'S SITTING DOWN!!!!" alarm.

No one notices.

I turn on the TV and get my shows set up, even raising the volume to a level that can be heard outside the room.

No one notices.

I exhale in relief and reach for my cross stitch.

The bed vomits cats.


But hey. I'm a determined stitcher and I need to make some progress on this project as it was promised to be a Christmas gift. 

For 2011.

Oh and I suppose all YOUR projects were completed on time?  Mine's only ...




..and not done yet.



For me, stitching is a steady process of repeated actions.  They are usually as follows:

~Thread the needle
~Unthread the cat
~Straighten the thread on the needle
~Remove the cat from the thread
~Straighten the thread on the needle again
~Get up and chase down the cat
~Retrieve the thread and needle
~Rethread the needle
~Hold cross stitch project over head while inserting the anchor loop
~Lower project and distract the cat with belly rubs until she falls asleep however she lands
~Pick up project and begin stitching by pulling thread up from the back
~Insert needle into designated spot and pull thread through to the back
~Lower project slightly in response to back and arms threatening to quit and move out
~Pull needle and thread through from the back
~Remove the cat's paw from the thread loop
~Remove the thread from the cat's jaw
~Rethread the needle
~Pull needle and thread through from the back
~Remove the cat's paw from the thread loop
~Distract the cat with more belly rubs until she falls asleep however she lands

~Pull needle and thread through from the back
~Insert needle into designated spot and pull thread through to the back
~Squawk in dismay and sheer terror
~CAREFULLY remove the cat's back claws from the linen without interrupting her stretch
~Set project aside
~Shove the cat unceremoniously out of lap
~Resume stitching in fast forward now that the cat has slipped into her afternoon coma

~Pointedly ignore the sound of a steadily approaching frog croaking in time with the Jaws theme.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bushy tailed and bright eyed! .... honest.

*sidesteps a lightning bolt*

Alright alright.  So there is absolutely NOTHING bright eyed or bushy tailed about me today, but I'm up and moving anyway.

The plan was to be out of bed by 6:00am and have everyone packed up, in the car, and on the way to church by 7:00am.  What happened was us hearing Sarah get into the shower at 6:30am.  Steve grumbled about his alarm not being set and rolled out of bed muttering something about us taking two cars this morning and got himself ready to go while I laid there watching him and mentally poking myself to drag my own backside out from under the covers.

I knew there was no chance of us making it to church early, so I said the kids and I would get there in time for the 8:00am service. I set my alarm to give myself another 15 mins of sleep and waved bye to Steve who still had to get there early to do his job.

Apparently, I am an absolute master of hitting the snooze button.  In fact, I hit the snooze button so much this morning that I distinctly recall hearing the alarm say in no uncertain terms, "Do that one more time and I hit back."


Mornings.  Oh well.  At least it's not Monday.

When I finally did manage to oust myself and open the bedroom door, I got run down by four maniacs intent on being the first body to land in the warm spot I had just vacated.  After checking for damage to my person, I asked Sarah to go get her brother and sister and bring them downstairs so I could get them dressed for church.


*growl* I could have done that....

It took me a couple of minutes to peel myself off the ceiling, and couple more minutes to match Sarah's volume while telling her that
I didn't need her to wake up the entire neighborhood,

I just needed her to go get her siblings, and that it's

extremely obnoxious to be screaming at that volume at this hour of the morning!!


*cough* Not one word from anyone.  Not one.

Eventually everyone was dressed and ready to go to church.  We even made it on time! 

...for the 9:00am service.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One week down, five to go.

Well, I survived the first week of this "improved" lifestyle.

Loosely translated:

~I got on the Tread Climber every day like I was supposed to, and even enjoyed it when I wasn't struggling to inhale.
~I managed to avoid eating chocolate and junk food for more than 7 hours the first day.
~I am actually eating salads for lunch everyday (except today... had half a sonic burger today).
~I checked the calendar to see how much longer I'm going to be doing this to myself and I didn't burst into tears this time.

I'm down to 165 pounds, having weighed myself about an hour after eating lunch.  Only two pounds in the first week and I have to admit I'm sorely disappointed by that.  If not for promising to blog about this misadventure, that abysmal result right there would probably be enough to make me quit and eat a package of After Eights. (If I could get my grubby paws ON a package of After Eights anymore.  *sob!*)

There are a few obstacles trying to make me give up.  First of these being the fact that in order for me to be able to find a few uninterrupted moments without an audience, I had to wait until 2:00 in the morning the first couple of days.  That's now settled to a bright and early 11:00pm.  I keep trying to move it up a few minutes each evening, but so far, no success.  I guess that isn't too big a deal in the long run, since I'll be working the evening shift and won't get home to do my workouts til after 11:00pm anyway.

Sleep's overrated.  I've been functioning just fine without it since 1995. 


Another roadblock I really should have seen coming is this blasted breathing problem I've got.  While I'm no longer in pain trying to inhale thanks to the Lyrica, it is still impossible for me to feel like I'm getting any air into my lungs while I'm on the Tread Climber.  I can inhale and inhale and inhale (and make it hurt in the process) but I still feel like my lungs are empty.  I guess the easiest way I could describe it is to be sucking in as much air as physically possible, but it feels like it's not being routed to the right place.
I assume I am actually getting the oxygen my body needs since no one's had to catch me or pick up my carcass and plant me back on the Tread Climber yet, so I'll keep plodding away at it.

Then there's the expected speedbump of my complete lack of willpower when it comes to foods.  It became apparent the first day that I stood no chance of changing this aspect of my life.  I promise I cleared all the candy away from my desk and stitching area.  I sat down and had one of those Atkins shakes for breakfast and was minding my own business all aglow with the potential of getting healthy again.  Then it happened.

A mob of chocolate candy swarmed me.  You should have seen them!  There were Kit Kats (I'll give you a break...), Crunch bars, Baby Ruths (yeah, they hit like the Slugger too!), Twix bars, Andes mints... even the kids' bags of leftover Halloween candy joined the melee.  I had no choice but to defend myself and eat everything in sight!

That's my story and I'm sticking to it, and a few other things til I wash my hands.  *cough*


I know, I know. 

I'll go get back on the Tread Climber now....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Getting back to normal... who are you kidding?

So the holidays are over and everyone's supposedly getting back into their typical routine.

Around here, that means Steve has started back to work with all the enthusiasm he can muster.  Basically, he narrowly avoids smashing his alarm clock/phone to itty bitty bits every time it goes off. Eventually he rolls out of bed and grudgingly stalks over to the closet to get dressed. He very gently and tenderly wakes me up to kiss me goodbye, then turns on his heel and marches down the hall threatening one of four moving speedbumps every couple of steps.

Once he is on his way, the cats realize that he's no longer defending the bed and I become a human trampoline, wrestling ring, and lump of dough obviously in need of vigorous kneading... all at once.

This can actually be fairly entertaining, and sometimes the kneading feels pretty good.  But invariably, just as I'm settling in and sinking back into a contented sleep an earthquake begins. 

The house starts to rumble.
The cats all freeze in place and adopt that famous "We're all about to DIE!!!!!!" expression.
The stairs begin to tremble violently.
The cats all sink to their haunches and frantically scope out the various escape routes.
I brace myself.
Two small children race noisily down the hallway and burst through the bedroom doorway whispering loudly to each other that "Mom's still sleeping and we have to be quiet."
Four cats erupt in four different directions... usually directly into each other.
Two small children squeal in delight at the sight of moving stuffed animals and charge.
Four cats extricate themselves from each other... and me... and vanish out the door.
A teenager in the next room squawks in surprise as four cats land unceremoniously in her bed, vying for hiding places under blankets.
Two small children invade my bed with morning requests:

"Can I feed the cats?"
"Can I watch TV?"
"Can I have breakfast?"
"Can I go outside?"
"Can I paint?"
"Can I put in a movie?"
"Can I get a game out?"
"Can I go to the store and get a toy?"
"Can I play dress up?"
"Why are you looking at the calendar?"
"Why are you smashing your head against the wall?"