Sunday, March 7, 2010

Forward my Mail!

OK, kids, here it is. The new blog.

Bookmark it. Love it.

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

Hello, boys and girls!

This just in: DeathMetalMommy is changing it up. I will be starting a new blog soon. That means that there will be no more new posts on this one. I know, I know, but don't cry for me, Argentina. I will post a link to the new URL as soon as it is created and there will be a link to this blog on the new one. That way, you won't miss a single moment of hilarity.

Details as they develop.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

From time to time I get the hankering to start running. Rarely is this followed by the desire to continue running. Nevertheless, the urge has hit me yet again. Perhaps it’s the promise of spring just around the corner or maybe it’s the nasal, British accent coming from my Asics. There’s no need to decide. Here I am contemplating a 5K once again.

I visit a few running websites for the articles and for tips from long-time runners. I also go to them to make myself feel a little better about being so slow. It doesn’t work. I read about someone who is apologizing for their snail’s pace time only to find out they run a ten minute mile. Oh, just shut up. So I guess I’m the one making other people feel better about being what they consider slow.

I have decided to start training by way of the Couch to 5K program on It is a much touted regimen that takes a sedentary individual and runs the crap out of them until they are so accustomed to the abuse that they can run a 5K. That’s the basics of it, anyway. So, ever determined, I journeyed to the Y yesterday after work to start my grueling self-abuse. So exciting!

Parking wasn’t so bad, though it was snowing a little when I went in. I signed in and headed for the locker room. The door to the ladies’ locker room was plastered with flyers as usual for tai chi, prayer group, what have you. I heaved it open and went in to change. Bypassing the scale (why would I want to do that to myself when I’m in a decent mood?)I grabbed my water and shuffled off to the cardio room.

Ah, the cardio room. An endless line of treadmills and ellipticals. And every single one of them was taken. Oh, come on! It’s 4:45! Half of you should still be at work! Great. I could either do something else or stand beside the occupied treadmills intently, busying myself with tips to make my pecs ripple in Men’s Health. Don’t try to picture it, just don’t. Luckily, I noticed someone had just gotten up from a recumbent bike, which I love. I hopped on it, set it to manual, and pedaled away, all the while swiveling my head at all the treadmills to make sure that no one had vacated yet.

After about ten minutes I notice one lady get off the treadmill and go to wipe it down, a new requirement. So I stopped the timer on my bike and hurried two aisles up to claim her unoccupied machine. Wouldn’t you just know, by the time I got up there someone else had jumped on the damn thing. So I had to trot back to my bike so that no one would get it either. There’s not a lot of ways to make that look cool. You could act like you’re stretching out a charley horse, I guess, though still not the height of cool. The girl beside me was looking at me like I was an idiot, and for good reason. She’s still trucking along meanwhile I’m over here playing Musical Cardio Chairs, just hoping for a machine. So I decided to wait a little while the next time I saw someone leave.

It paid off eventually and I got on the treadmill. My heart rate was already up from all the bicycling and hopping from machine to machine, but I still did a warm up. The first day of the Couch to 5K is a five minute warm up walk followed by 60 seconds of running alternated with 90 seconds of walking. The hardest part there is doing the math to make sure your time is right. So I spent the running part trying not to step off to the stationary side of the treadmill whilst still maintaining composure trying not to hyperventilate. Why am I doing this?

I’ve read articles that suggest you focus on what you’re thinking or what is causing you pain while running. I tried that. While I was trying to figure out what I was thinking, all I was thinking was the phrase ‘what am I thinking?’ Vacant? Maybe. Any question I asked I was grasping for answers. My mind is that frantic while I run. I am panicky and mentally wigging out.

I tried to focus on what might have been causing me discomfort, like the article said. I did get an answer to that one. What was causing discomfort? Running! Running! Running is causing me discomfort!! It goes away when I get to walk for 90 seconds. Oh, look, I diagnosed myself. Other than the obvious, there was no distinct pain, just trying to breathe on my left foot. That’s taking a breath every time my left foot hits, I’m not actually doubled over trying to blow on my left foot while I run.

I did finish however. I am keeping a log of my running exploits. Last night it looked like this:

C25K-Day 1

Time: 27:03
Distance: 1.61 mi
Feel after: not tired necessarily, defeated maybe
Thoughts during: Do I really want to do this? This sucks!

That’s my running recap. And yes, that is actually what I wrote.

Winded yet satisfied, I dragged myself back to the locker room for a shower. I undressed and donned a towel, grabbed my shampoo and headed for the shower room. There was a flyer on the door. It said that the shower room was closed for retiling. Come on, man! I sweated! I’m not used to it!

There are a few people around my locker talking so I decide to play it cool and go into a bathroom stall. Why that’s cool, I do not know, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I was just trying to detract from the fact that I hadn’t noticed the flyers on the OUTSIDE door and, like an idiot, tried to go shower. If that wasn’t enough I thought that going to the bathroom in a TOWEL was going to make me look cooler. Have I been drinking? Well, I got into the stall and the toilet was out of order. Both stalls were. Thankfully there were no signs that I had ignored that said ‘out of order.’ There were still people all around my locker. What to do now? Just lean against the wall in a towel and greet people, maybe warn them about the toilets and the showers? Please go away, people. It worked!

I grabbed my clothes, changed, and left. It didn’t help that it smelled like ham outside when I went to get in the truck.

After all that, my running aftermath consists of tight calves and toe cramps. TOE CRAMPS. All the typical runner injuries out there—IT band issues, shin splints—and I get toe cramps. Fabulous.

On the bright side, I get to do this again Friday.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A few weeks ago I felt that the time had come for me to get contacts. Yes, I’m a good bit behind the times in my choice of vision correction in that I have had glasses for years. I usually only wear them when I drive so that I can make the squinty mole face whenever I can’t see the television. Some of you know this face. So having lost my glasses yet again, I decided now would be the time to get contacts. I made an appointment and waited, gradually filling with anxiety.

Finally the day arrived. I drove to the optometrist, sans glasses of course. I told you, they’re lost. As I sat in the waiting room I got even more anxious. When I casually think of the eye doctor I don’t have a problem. When I actually think about it in detail I get kinda antsy. I mean, you go to sit in the chair and then they give you the optical pop quiz. “Can you read the second line for me?” What if you can’t? What if that G is actually an O? Then I start to freak out. How could you get something so simple as a letter wrong? You know what a G looks like right? How could you think that was a G? What are you, stupid? Or even worse, you said that O was an L. An L?! Really?!

And then you just know they’re going to want to put stuff in your eyes. That’s what they do, isn’t it? I don’t even use eye drops I hate putting stuff in my eyes so much. It’s about this time that I start to think, maybe contacts aren’t for me.

So I get put in this little exam room, dim of course. They always are. The nurse lady hands me the big flat spoon to put over my eye and starts asking me about the letters. I consider squinting just so that I won’t be wrong. It’s like cheating on a test. But I didn’t. As a direct result I believe I called an E a 7. So now I’m blind and dyslexic. AND they’re going to put stuff in my eyes. Why did I make this appointment? It seemed like such a good idea a week ago.

Then my doctor rolls in after I pretty much fail the eye test, revoking my license to see. My eye doctor is pretty cool. I don’t get to see him for most of the check-up because I’m stuck behind the big machine wearing its little face mask that makes you look like an owl. So in his Barry White voice he says things like “one or two?”; “two or three”; “Is three better? Better still? How about four?” This is a very good place for indecisive people. It requires you to decide on the spot. That also worries me. I’m afraid I’m going to get it wrong. I’m afraid that after I confirm that lens five was the best I’ll yell “No, wait! Seven! Seven was the best.” But I won’t be sure.

So once the lens game and my nervous breakdown were over he asks if we’re dilating my eyes today. No. It’s always a no. That man has been pestering me for ten years to dilate my eyes. I don’t quite know how it works except that there are drops involved and he says it’s so he can look in my eyes. What could be in there, but...eye? I just have this image of him holding my ears and staring into my eyes like one of those old movie boxes, like he’s trying to watch Steamboat Willie in my head or something. So, no. I’m driving, no dilating.

Instead I get the consolation prize of some other kind of stupid drops, only this time it’s a dye that can stain your clothes and makes your eyes numb. Maybe it’s just me, but does that sound safe to you? It will stain fabric and makes mucous membranes numb. Is this bleach? But he is the ‘doctor’ and I’m not so I really feel like I can’t refuse. What a great date he must be. So he pulls back my eyelids and puts this stuff in them. He shines a light in them and makes some notes, telling me that the pressure is good. He’s checking pressure? What am I, a tire? Then he asks if there’s any particular type of contacts I want to try. What do I know about contacts? He should know better than me. So he scribbles on my chart, leads me outside where another guy takes my chart and takes me to a table in the back, overlooked by the diploma of my doctor from eye school and a poster of what look like Andy Warhol renderings of eyes. It’s very cozy.

The guy goes and gets two individual little packets, which I can only assume contain contacts. Turns out I was right. Dude has glasses. He takes them off and, in a manner which is not supposed to be scary, shows me how to put in a contact. This guy’s eyelids stretch so much farther than human skin ever should. I think I saw his skull. Wait, though—he doesn’t even wear contacts. Should he really be certified to show people how to wear them? That’s like an Amish guy telling you he’s your electrician. He tells me to go wash my hands and then I get to try. An overwhelming sickness rushes over me and suddenly I wish I was looking at a chart identifying letters as numbers again.

So I scrub up and return to the table. Before me sits a magnifying mirror which I go to great lengths to avoid in normal circumstances. So I pull my eye far too open and start trying to put this tiny piece of plastic on my eye. Meanwhile, Dude is leaning across the table directing me like an air traffic controller, “Closer to your nose! Straight in! Go!” It was at this point that I realized I am a blinker. A flutterer if you will. That fact makes it pretty hard to put in a contact, especially when your eyelids have chosen the latter of the ‘fight or flight’ instinct. It took several tries but finally I got them both in. That was when I looked up and realized the Andy Warhol pictures were actually a poster of degenerative eye diseases. My, what bright colors! One didn’t even have an iris! Seeing clearly is overrated.

So I was victorious and was ready to leave. Then he started to talking again, “OK, to take them out...” Oh, God. I hadn’t even considered taking them out. It was hard enough to get them in! So I watched him pull apart his eye again (ew). Then he told me to take one out. Seriously? Right now? I just got them in! You saw the issues I had with that! Why do you hate me?

I heaved a great sigh and raised my hands to my already watering eyes. The basic directions are pull down and pinch. Sounds healthy for an eye, right? It was about the time that I was ready for ‘pinch’ that I realized what very long thumb nails I have. This is not random, I promise. How am I going to pinch when my actual thumb is an inch away? I’m going to stab myself in the eye. That’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to try and take out a contact and end up stabbing myself in the eye. Luckily, and this is rarely considered lucky to me, I had broken the thumb nail on my other hand so I decided to try it left handed. Somehow or another I managed to do it. Dude said “Great! Now go ahead and put it back in.” Dammit! What more do you people want from me?! Make up your mind!

So as I fumbled with my eye again, he filled out a form. He asked me to sign it, as it confirmed that I was able to put in and remove my contacts. So what happens if you weren’t able to remove them? Do they take them back? And if so, how? Do you have to stay there until you figure it out? Is it a hostage situation? Fortunately, I didn’t have to find out. Dude gave me a case and some solution and sent me into another exam room. He said the doctor would join me shortly.

Barry White doctor came in and turned on an eye chart. I just took this test! Come on!! Let me out! So I rambled off some G’s and E’s and I was out of there. There wasn’t as much anxiety about this test. It was more like a test I had studied for this time.

The guy had told me only to wear them for four to six hours the first day. So I knew to take them out around 3. The anxiety began to mount again. I was beginning to think maybe contacts aren’t for me. I’m going to need Xanax to wear contacts. It’s terrible. Inevitably, 3:00 rolled around and I started trying to remove the contacts. Once I’d pulled them down my vision was blurry and I couldn’t see it to grab it. I also couldn’t feel it with my fingers. What a terrible joke on the myopic of this world. After twenty minutes of trying both eyes with both hands I had used every expletive I knew and even made up a few more.

At this point I called the Chicken, a longtime contact wearer. She didn’t answer. I called Mom, who happened to have the Chicken with her. I asked if she had any tips and/or tricks on getting contacts out. She said pull down and pinch. Oh, what help! Dude with the stretchy eye said that! It doesn’t help! I can’t feel anything! Get these things out of my head! I’m not playing! Then I commenced a long-winded freak-out, mentioning never getting them out and them crusting over onto my eyes and going blind, and then having to get a seeing eye dog which I will never know if it’s cute or not, and how I don’t want a dog that can do things that I can’t, namely see. I believe I also waxed on about how I was afraid of puncturing my eye with a fingernail and having eye juice seep out. I don’t think she was listening to me anymore because it would have been hard to over all the laughing. This is serious! I have foreign objects on my pupils that I can’t get off!

I hung up the phone with much chagrin and went back to the bathroom. (Note: I properly said goodbye, not like in the movies where they just hang up the phone without warning.) So I just started pinching at my eye and got so mad that I got them out. I stuck them in the case and that is where they remain two days later.

Maybe I’ll try again another day.

Do they make seeing eye Pomeranians?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I was scheduled to attend a birthday party this past Sunday. Not just any birthday party either, and sadly not one with an open bar or even a cash bar. A three year old’s Strawberry Shortcake themed birthday party. That’s some of the best kind. There’s only so long that you can plan a theme birthday party and it not e considered stupid. My niece Hannah, daughter of The Chicken, was turning three.

The weather and surrounding details were not what one might consider to be ideal. The two weeks leading up to said fete were full of stomach virus hell. For all concerned. It started with me, though I swear I did not give it to the Chicken’s family. It passed through my family, thankfully sparing baby Mo, and then started on the Chicken’s family, sparing no one. Hannah even still has a touch of it today. On top of all that, it was like a gale outside. Postponing the party had been mentioned, it was so bad. Strawberry Shortcake won out in the end, though.

Now as anyone with children knows, orchestrating a trip out of the house can take some doing even on good days. The party was at 1400 hours and at 1300 hours, Connor was still taking a nap. I don’t like to wake him up if I absolutely don’t have to. It was looking like I was going to have to. A familiar buzzing led me to my phone and a text from the Chicken, frantic and with feathers flying no doubt. The text read as follows: can u get balloons? (I had to scroll through many several messages to find that just so it was verbatim.) The back story to that was she had been planning to go get balloons before the party. Not a very involved back story. I agreed.

Luckily, Connor woke up before I had to shake him awake. We got all the babies dressed and, holding them over our heads like soldiers with rifles in ‘Nam, stuffed them in the car. The roads were standing in water, it had rained so much, and was still raining. We got to Kmart and I jumped out to retrieve balloons, wrapping paper, and red and pink candy. I got the paper and candy, stashed them near a register, and dashed to the floral shop, hoping someone was in there.

I told the girl behind the counter I needed balloons for a party. She asked how many and I told her I needed 6 red and 6 pink. It was about that time that I began wondering how I was going to get all these helium filled floating bits of happy into my car. So that was the real reason the Chicken didn’t get the balloons. She didn’t have room in her car! And she has a Tahoe! Oh, dear. The trunk, maybe? Maybe each of the boys could hold one? No, surely, one of them would bite a balloon and it would pop and then we’d have two diapers to change.

In the time it took for this woman to press one valve 12 times I felt like I could have gone and cleaned out the trunk. In reality, it was five minutes. These balloons looked huge floating there on the ceiling, curly ribbons trailing from them. So finally I paid for everything and started outside. It was raining harder, if you can believe it. I couldn’t communicate with Dave what I wanted to do with these balloons so my only option was to run for it. Of course he pulled up so that I had to run around the car to get in. So I splashed around the car and dove to get in, all the while pulling red and pink balloons with me. I pushed and tugged them all in and shut the door.

I heard Connor behind me yelling “B’loons! My b’loons!” So there I was, lost in a cloud of Strawberry Shortcake. I managed to stuff one balloon under the dash. That was the only one that was maneuvered. They were all on top of me, obscuring Dave’s vision and making the drive to Lindale just a little bit more thrilling. Is there a car coming? Who knows?! Go anyway!!

Somehow I inched around and found my phone and texted the Chicken that the balloons had been gotten and we were on our way. Then just to verify the issues I was having with said balloons I sent a picture as well. In it, you can see the balloons invading my personal space and I think one of them even had a gun. One of them owes me a drink.

Finally we arrived and PeePaw came to escort us to the door with the umbrella. I spilled out of the car behind the balloons which were still all tied together with their little yellow ribbon. The bouquet o’ balloons seemed to be the guest of honor and only two popped, which was not my fault at all and I wasn’t even near them when it happened. I did my job.

So Hannah had her birthday party and, other than Connor, was the only one who noticed that there were balloons there at all. Highlights from the party include Hannah running around in a pink bathing suit and rain boots, Hannah and Uncle Mike playing with a Strawberry Shortcake play set, and Dave presenting me with a teddy bear that I have complained about being lost since Boxing Day, totally unrelated but a highlight nonetheless.

Always plan ahead, because you never know when you may have to ride 15 miles with your left leg behind your neck and your right knee in your left eye socket just to transport helium filled rubber.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sixty-seven percent of Americans are members of a gym. Less than forty-two percent of those Americans actually go to the gym of which they are a member. This makes it easier to believe that by the year 2018 eighty percent of Americans will be obese. (Statistics courtesy of my head)

OK so maybe my numbers aren’t entirely accurate, but they’re close. And even if they aren’t close, the main idea is right. People pay money to go to a gym but they don’t go to it, yet they continue to pay. That is why Americans are, in essence, big fat tubs of goo.

The point of this blog is not actually to harp on larger American citizens. This is about the gym, or in my case the YMCA. Not the state of the facilities or anything, though that may pop up, but the odd and at times entertaining sights that I see. Walk with me, talk with me.

In the main room there are cardio machines are far as, well, to the wall. There are probably fifteen treadmills or more, seven or eight ellipticals, and about eight stationery bikes, upright and recumbent. There are weight machines peppered around the room’s perimeter. Now if you get bored doing your cardio and your mind starts to wander, that means your eyes have probably already been wandering. That’s when you tend to see the stuff you try hard not to laugh at.

Most of the comical sights I see are people on the treadmills. As I rested between sets on the rowing machine, I looked up to see what I thought was a woman falling off the treadmill. At second glance, I realized that this woman had jacked the incline on the treadmill up as high as it would go and was now hanging for dear life from the handrails on either side of the belt as her feet frantically tried to keep her moving. In my memory, I swear this thing was at a forty-five degree angle, though that may be exaggerating a tad. Then my Asics asked me “Why bother getting on one if you can’t even stay upright on one?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

Another time, it was a sound that caught my attention. I heard the treadmill turned up to a breakneck speed yet there were very few footfalls to be heard. Turning, I saw a man with the speed set to what must have been fifteen miles an hour. He, too, was clutching the handrails, but he was sort of leaping to keep from being thrown off backward. He was holding himself up with his arms and occasionally putting down a foot. Then my Asics said, around my own feet “I hope he knows that’s not really running.”

Then there was the woman who was not dressed in any kind of fitness attire, but who was on the treadmill. She was holding her keys, walking at a 1.2 mph speed, and talking on her cell phone. This is the same woman who, when she dismounted the treadmill, would go to a weight machine, adjust it to the lightest weight, do one set, and move to another machine—all while talking on the phone.

Just as bad is the woman all decked out in workout clothes, but only walking two miles per hour. She, too, was on the phone. I’m inclined to believe they were talking to each other. My Asics asked “Why bother to come here if you’re not going to work out?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

My first go on the recumbent bike was fun. Up until someone got on the one beside me. He was a pudgy man, bald and very shiny, wearing glasses and singing audibly along with his mp3 player. He was singing the Pussycat Dolls. It was all I could do not to turn and tell him I think it’s great that he’s here and he’s queer, but please do so more quietly.

Most recently, I encountered a gentleman on a stationery bike. He had been on it for perhaps six minutes and had already worked up a considerable sweat. I chose the recumbent bike beside him. As soon as I had set the program, I realized that perhaps now wasn’t the best time for me to do the bike. Why, you ask? I’ll tell you why. The man beside me was emitting such a foul stench of body odor that I had to turn my head to try to breathe without smelling it. I always hoped that if I threw up at the Y it was because I worked out so hard, not because some guy beside me had gone nose-deaf. Luckily he was done before me, but at least he left two pools of sweat on the floor to remember him by. My Asics asked “Shouldn’t someone tell him he stinks?” I don’t know, Asics. I don’t know.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It is a definite sign of the recession when on a Saturday night all the excitement in your life is hinging upon the late night bout of Monopoly. Not just any Monopoly. Lord of the Rings Trilogy Monopoly. Don’t judge me. I actually did read on MSN that some economy expert based his opinion of the recession status on the skyrocketing sales of board games. Some other guy based his on the sales of men’s underwear. These people are getting paid for this?!

Yes, once the babies are tucked away in their beds, the adults get their Monopoly on. I always wondered as a child what happened after I went to bed. You always knew that it was something soooo good and that’s why you wanted to stay up. Turns out, that may not have been the case. Personally, I always envisioned some type of cocktail hour. Of course my parents weren’t big drinkers and it’s also pretty doubtful that they were inviting two dozen people over at 8:30 at night just to have a very quiet evening of imbibing whiskey sours or Harvey Wallbangers or whatever the popular drink was at the time, wearing courdoroy sport coats with elbow patches and nylon tricot dresses. I paint quite a picture, don’t I?

But no, none of that likely happened. Now I know. Dave, Collin (live-in manny), and myself set up the board to continue a game of Monopoly. I had taken a picture of the board on my phone and everybody’s deeds and pieces went into separate bags. Yes, that’s how serious this was. Now somewhere along the way, the instructions and rules were lost. We know the basic rules and all so when a question would come up, we would decide on the answer that made the most sense and benefitted us all the most. Because of this, no one mortgaged anything, but all of a sudden we were all recreational loan sharks. “You can’t pay the $390 rent on my property? Pay me $100 now and I’ll take your next two $200 pass and go.” Apparently interest also mounted in those kind of transactions. No money? What kind of properties do you have that I need? You can keep your houses but give me the deed; put the houses on something else.

When you’re playing with only three people, it can get somewhat brutal. As luck would have it, there’s usually at least one person who ends up owning half the board. Then they put houses and hotels (or strongholds and fortresses, in LOTR Monopoly) all over the place. Next thing you know, you’re paying $785 rent on a space whose rent used to be $26. Wow, just like the real world.

After so many turns with the jacked-up rent payments, you start to get somewhat surly. At least this was the case with us. Dave managed to buy out more than half the board and had plopped fortresses on just about every one of them. My money was running out quickly even though I had a good many properties myself. No one was landing on my stuff, they kept landing on the ones where you have to draw a card. That doesn’t help me. During this particular game I started to get a little miffed that every time I would roll the dice I would have to fork over more of my money to Dave. Seemed like every turn would be more of my money gone to Dave. So I started to be a little less than cordial. Collin was in the same boat as I was. He was down to four deeds and twelve dollars.

Finally Collin and I called the game because we were tired of giving our money to Dave. And he never could figure out why I was looking at him all mean.

Next week it’s ‘80’S Trivial Pursuit.