January 2007

I am organizationally challenged. This is a source of much frustration. There are so many problems in my surroundings that I can’t even number them. I live in a basement apartment with my husband and three small kids, 5, 2 1/2, and 3 months. We have 3 bedrooms, a hall/kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. There is no storage space except for two miniscule closets, one of which has our water-heater in it, and a “cupboard under the stairs” that is currently housing camping equipment, all our dress clothes wrapping paper, two quilting projects, lots of shoes and an old Singer sewing machine, all in one lovely, unapproachable pile.

We also have no shelves. And only two dressers, one for me and Derek, and one for all three kids. My baby grand piano is also a table for putting everything from junk mail, to used batteries, to my brothers cast-off Nintendo. Under the piano are the bucket car-seat, the DI box, a basket of clothes waiting to be put away, and the baby’s bouncy seat.

That’s just the beginning. I cannot stand it that we have so much stuff and nowhere to put it. I feel like I’m drowning. I periodically take a load of stuff to the thrift store, but I always manage to fill the space somehow.

On a lighter note, I ran 6 minutes today at a 10 minute pace and felt good. The girl I ran with is training for a 1/2 marathon in May, and she had a baby just 3 weeks before I did. I guess I could commit to something like that, but I’d count on walking a good bit of it. then again, I still don’t feel completely whole yet. I think I’ll wait. The last race I ran was the Hobble-creek 1/2 marathon in August of 2005. I took a month off to recover (I had run another 1/2 marathon two weeks previously), and then in October, I got pleurisy. That’s an inflammation of the lining of the lungs. It’s very, very, very painful. So the doctor told me not to do anything that could possibly be at all strenuous. Including vacuuming. I love it when you have such a good excuse not to vacuum.

So I had to skip the 10K my parents-in-law had planned in Zion. I had to watch. I always feel so incredibly jealous, watching races. Especially ones in places like Zion. My next scheduled race was the Blue Mountain to Canyonlands triathlon. I was teaming with my uncle, since I hate biking, and I don’t know how to ski. Anyway, I found out I was pregnant about a month before the race. It’s low key, so I figured I’d do it anyway. I kept training, and sure enough, I got the worst cold of the century. Plus, the weather took a dive and temperatures were consistently below 10 degrees. With asthma and a fierce cold, I couldn’t even breathe at all if I went outside.

It was my good fortune that I didn’t have to bail on my uncle, because Monticello, Utah got a blizzard the night before the race and it was cancelled. No one could even get to Monticello at all. But that was when I pretty much gave up on running for the rest of the pregnancy. I don’t have comfortable pregnancies. I usually lose 10-15 pounds and can’t walk by about 5 months because of the pain.

So it’s been a good long time since I had a good long run. My 6 minutes today is a small victory, but a victory none the less. I love running.

My lower back still hurts every time I wake up and get out of bed. It’s been so long since I did yoga that I can’t even touch my toes anymore. I want to take one of those yoga classes. I don’t trust the child-care at the gyms, so I will have to wait until Kiki is at least in preschool. Even 3 days a week would be great.

My dream is to drop the kids off at school (we will all walk, of course) and run for however long I want, then go to yoga class for an hour a few days a week. I like to run in daylight, and on the road or on a trail. I’m not so fond of the track, but in the winter, an indoor track sure comes in handy, especially if you can only go running in the wee hours while it’s still dark. There’s one here where I live, about a mile away, so I can get up before the kids and go running/walking, but I don’t know if there will be one where we move. I think we’re moving this summer.

So I might be buying a treadmill for the winter months. I can’t bear to run when my cheeks and nose feel like falling off for the cold. So far, my experience with treadmills is limited. My mother-in-law has one. While we were getting new carpets, the carpet company messed up our order, causing us to require relocation for about 2 weeks. We had moved every scrap of furniture out of our apartment, and the carpet had been delivered. The installer came in and ripped up the existing carpet in 2 bedrooms and the living room. The other bedroom had been stripped previously, because of the mold problem. The flooring under the carpet was old, old vinyl tile that was impenetrable to staples because of the cement under it. That’s right, cement. There were those wooden strips with little metal spikes all around the perimeter of the rooms.

When the carpet guy unrolled the new carpet a little bit, he noticed a nice line through it, which he told us could possible go through the entire length of the piece. He advised us that with a flaw like that, it was likely that the carpet would not last long. He told us we could choose whether to have it installed anyway, or call up the place we bought it and make them replace it. So we decided to have it replaced.

My good mother-in-law invited us to stay at her house until the carpet was installed, since I didn’t fancy us all sleeping on the vinyl floor, nor did I want my 2 1/2 year old or my 4 month old to get impaled on the nail strips. Oh, and we didn’t have a kitchen, since the remodellers had gutted our entire kitchen.

So, there I was, at Grandma’s house, with my 2 makulit little boys. Funnily enough, that was one of the most pleasant 2 weeks I can remember. Probably because I totally took advantage of my mother-in-law. I could go shopping without the kids, I could let them run free in her house even while I was there… I’m surprised she still talks to me. Anyway, she has this treadmill in the basement. I tried it, and it totally made me dizzy. I didn’t like it at all. But if it’s going to be -16 degrees outside, I’d rather have a treadmill than not go running.

For a little while, I had this fantasy of living in Hawaii. I would run on those crazy roads through the jungle that they were always driving the Corvette on in Magnum P.I. I would have pineapples in my garden. Too bad all the people I know who grew up in Hawaii are weird.

I have a bit of advice that I need to share with you before it’s too late. I’m telling you this purely out of the most selfless of motives, and soon you shall see why. Here it is: If you ever buy Adam’s peanut butter, or any of the kinds that you have to stir, Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get the brilliant idea of stirring it right in the jar with an electric mixer using only one of the beaters and without holding on to the jar. This may seem like the perfect solution to all peanut butter woes, but it will not produce the desired effect, which would be nicely combined peanut butter STILL IN THE JAR. Once again, this is a very bad idea. I hope I have saved you from the misery which surely would have befallen you, had you endeavored to perform this operation in this manner. I have learned, through painful experience, that it is wise to empty the peanut butter into a separate and very large receptacle, and commence stirring with an un-motorized implement, until the peanut butter is incorporated with the oil, and then return the emulsification to the original container. I hope you will pass this advice on to all that you love, and save them from peanut-related despair.

After reading Kathryn’s Lycopene post, I was reminded of this similar incident that happened to me not too long ago. My then 4-year-old, we shall call him Calvin, had invited his best friend over to play for the morning. They are fantastically rowdy, but they loooove each other, and can play all day together. So we invited T-man to stay for lunch. I asked what they wanted, and they said “Twirlies!” Those are just peanut butter and honey on a whole-wheat flour tortilla, rolled up and sliced about a quarter inch thick. My kids love them. Anyway, I made the twirlies, then decided to tackle the gigantic tub of peanut butter that hadn’t been stirred yet.

It took about 1/4 of a second to realize the flaw in my plan, but about 6 seconds for the beater to come to a full stop. By that time, the damage was definitely done. I wasn’t holding on to the jar. Instead of swirling around the peanut butter inside the jar, my powerful Kitchenaid electric hand mixer just picked up the entire jar and spun it around at lightning speed, just like a centrifuge. And just like a centrifuge, it dispersed the contents in the center to the nether regions of my kitchen.

Needless to say, there was peanut butter and oil on everything within a 12 foot radius of the operation, namely me, the counter, the toaster, the wall (cinder block with all those happy little holes and crevices), the floor, the grout on the floor, the cupboards, the fridge, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

After a stunned silence in which I did not swear, I looked over at Calvin and T-man, who were looking at me. Calvin said, ” Mom, why did you do that?” he then turned his attention back to his lunch and his friend.

Remind me to check my facts before I start my journalistic career.

Fact #1: I weighed 136 pounds on my bathroom scale the week after my baby girl was born.

Fact#2: I weighed 154 pounds on my bathroom scale yesterday.

Fact #3:(this is the one that I slipped up on) At some point between the birth of my daughter and yesterday, someone, and I’m not naming names (I’m almost positive it was my makulit little 2-year-old boy) changed the calibration of my bathroom scale to start at 10 instead of 0.

Please don’t call me an idiot to my face. Say what you want behind my back, though. I deserve it. I know I shouldn’t be so wrapped up in body image. I had thought I had it all under control, back before I got pregnant the 3rd time. I thought I had such a progressive view: “I don’t need to be a certain weight or size, as long as I’m healthy and feel good.” Then I gained some weight and girth, and suddenly I feel like nobody should like me, like my husband will want to leave me, like I can’t be seen in public. I realize now that the reason I felt fine about my image back then was because I was skinny, healthy, and I could run 10 or 12 miles whenever I wanted. The running part is more of a bragging rights sort of thing, but you can’t deny that a person who can run 10 miles nonstop has got to be in some sort of good shape.

So the point is that I still care too much about weight, and that my self-worth is tied up in this. I know this sort of behavior is passed on to children, so I hope I can cure myself before my kids start caring about their appearance. And I don’t mean whether to wear the Superman socks or paint the toenails pink.

After stepping on the scale this morning and realizing, to my horror, that I’ve been reading it wrong for the past, well, I don’t know how long, I am now fully motivated to start practicing moderation in all things. I guess after 9 months of deprivation and feeling crappy, and not gaining any weight during the pregnancy, I felt I deserved a little slack in the eating area. That, along with the fact that I’m no longer running 20 miles a week, has caused me to gain a little weight in the 3 months since my little Sunshine was born. I have gained more weight than she has. By a factor of 3. Oh, My.

Just don’t call me an idiot to my face. I read the scale wrong by TEN FREAKING POUNDS!!! So I’ve gained twice as much as I thought. No wonder I feel so weird! It’s almost a relief. Almost, I say. Now I might really go over the deep end, but at least I know why.

I have this little orphan living in my chest. It’s sort of a burning ball of tangled and unexplained anxiety that sits just above my heart. Sometimes it moves to my belly and cries. Sometimes it reaches out with its tentacles and grabs me behind the eyes, and causes half-awake delirium. There are a few things that pacify my little friend: huge, major distractions, like a week-long family reunion at a cabin in the mountains with no chance of escape, or eating constantly anything that falls into my view, or that I know is lurking somewhere on the horizon or behind the cupboard doors. Even Kryptonite cupboards would not have spared the innocent box of granola, or the frolicking tortilla chips. Let alone that giant 10-pound bag of chocolate chips that I thought was such a good idea, back when I couldn’t eat anything that wouldn’t resurface 10-15 minutes later in a transmogrified state.

So here I am. Too big for my britches. What do I do?

This is the default title for my first blog and I like it. I am in limbo between the world and the grime on my living room floor, and I have needed the world for a long time. I intend to fill my own void by verbalizing the ideas that bring me hope, that get me to the end of the day in one piece. Hope is the only way I can survive. I hope I can teach my kids to be nice. I hope I can learn to be nice. I hope I can have a clean house sometime in the future. Or at least a clean room. I hope I can run 6 miles at a time by June. I hope I can keep my brain from turning to mush before my kids start needing help with their math homework. I hope I can overcome my snobberies. Oh, I could go on.

Oh, wait. I will go on. Yay! Now I have a home for my hopes. Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins, just you wait!

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