Just once, I wish my husband would lie to me

A match made in heaven
A match made in heaven

Running, for me, is one of those things that takes a real effort to get motivated. People talk about a “runner’s high” and how they love to commune with nature on a solo trek. Not me. I can’t say I’ve ever hit an endorphin high other than the relief of seeing a finish line and the elation of knowing there was breakfast just a few feet away.  I have a drawer full of race bibs and medals to remind me of  proud moments and achievements this body has tackled. Unfortunately, the only real motivator, for me, is the number on our bathroom scale.

It does help that recently I partnered with a very dear friend who has similar struggles with athletic prowess. We don’t live close enough to run together on a daily basis, however, we do make an effort to be accountable. In fact, we have recently run a 5k Color Run, a 10k and a Mud Run together. She also convinced me to run a 10k with her in Toledo in December, while I pushed her to run a 10k with me in Chicago this coming September.

My friend and I are trying to follow the same running plan to get ready for our weekend in Chicago. We are also buddies on an internet application called “My Fitness Pal“. It is a free calorie counter, diet and exercise community and journal. She and I are able to see each others fitness and diet progress, give encouragement and keep ourselves accountable. My favorite part is watching the calories burned strike out the calories consumed, making it so much easier to pour that extra glass of wine knowing how many calories I can spare.

For about a month I have been really good about logging into my journal every day and being honest with myself about food and activity. I also started logging all of my exercise on a white board next to our treadmill. So you can only imagine how pissed I was getting on the scale this weekend and seeing absolutely no weight loss. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

“This is insane!” I whined crawling under the covers.

DW and I were spending the evening eating dinner and watching movies in bed while the kids were out doing their own things.

“I have worked out every day this week, and for what?” I said, waving my second glass of wine over an empty pizza box.

“Is that a rhetorical question?” DW asked quietly.

“NO!” I snapped, “It’s not rhetorical. I have exercised and watched everything I’ve eaten for a whole month and have lost nothing!”

DW said nothing.

“Well? Wouldn’t you agree I’ve been watching everything I eat?”

“You could say that,” DW said, “watching it go from your plate to your mouth I guess.”

“Seriously!?” I barked, “I’ll show you my fitness journal and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.”

I pulled my phone out and opened up the application. The whole week had been entered except that day, so I added the information, then hit “complete entry”.

Immediately I got this message,

“If every day were like today…You’d weigh **** lbs in 5 weeks”

Stunned, I realized I was staring at the same exact number I saw on the scale that morning. Quietly, I put the phone down. DW pursed his lips while turning the movie back on.

“Yes,” I said.

“Yes, what?” DW answered confused.

“Yes, that was meant to be a rhetorical question,” I said, “in fact, let’s just assume it is ALWAYS meant to be a rhetorical question.


And then the truth came out

It was hard to sleep Monday and Tuesday night. I just kept replaying my daughter’s voice in my head over and over. Her words convicted me.

“It was better than I thought,” she muttered, “I’m sure tomorrow will be even easier.”

I had pushed her to work hard, make her accountable for her future plans, and she eventually rose to the challenge. There were no more rolling of the eyes, whining, procrastinating or silent treatments. She never complained again after the initial shock wore off. I realize it has only been a few days, but this is a positive change. She seems almost happy with the decision, actually. Which is probably what is most convicting. I asked her to push her boundaries, push past her fear of working her body to its max potential and yet I have not put in the same effort this year. It’s not enough to say, “I had to work that hard for my goals last year” because I still have goals this year, and she knows it too. She knows that fear keeps me from moving forward often.

This is one of my favorite pictures of DW and The Tortoise just before a 5k run we did as a family a few years ago.

My children make me a better person every day. After months of nothing, I finally got my butt on the treadmill yesterday and ran my first workout of the new year. It was slow, intervals of running 5 minutes and walking 1 minute until I reached 2.5 miles, but it was consistent. I printed out blank calendars for the next three months, marking the races I have already signed up for and the ones I would like to sign up for if possible. The first 5k is in less than 5 weeks, but luckily it is a fun run/walk called a Color Run. This race sells out across the country, so a group of us registered the first week registration opened months ago. Then there is a GOTR 5k less than two weeks after that I have not yet registered for, a 10K the beginning of June and a 5k Mud Run mid-June I am registered. Then of course, somewhere in between is the half-marathon I ran last year, but I have not registered yet. That may be unrealistic, and I would need to find one later in the summer or early fall.

The entire time I was running, I kept thinking about my daughter facing the pool this week. Her brave face and positive attitude that surfaced in the wake of uncertainty inspired me to get moving too. I believe I need to work hard alongside her, encourage not just with words but in actions. It made the workout less painful, knowing that at the end of the day I could share my accomplishment with her over dinner. She could be proud of me, just like I was proud of her.

As we all sat down for dinner, my thighs were already starting to ache. But the impending burn was just a reminder that my body was tired from effort, and I knew that with each run it would get easier. I would get stronger.

“I just want you to know how much you inspired me today,” I said to my daughter, “You have been a real trooper this week and it inspired me to quit wasting time and just get to work.”

She smiled smugly, quietly nodding her head.

“I mean, you haven’t complained a bit. Thank you for that,” I added.

The Tortoise slowly took a sip of water before responding, “Well, I just haven’t complained here. But trust me, I’ve had a few choice things to say to my friends at school.”

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at her honest remark, even DW chuckled.

“But you can keep feeling inspired,” she added giggling, “then we can be sore together.”

It might be easier to move

I’m not really sure how that happened.

20130317_122417 20130317_122423 20130317_122440 One day I’m looking at a perfectly clean and organized house and then in a blink it looks like a crime scene or burglary. Boxes and bins turned over, drawers emptied, contents spilling out in random piles. Trace evidence of intruders are present in inches thick of dusty prints. The bathrooms are vaguely recognizable. In fact, I wonder if the public restroom at the corner gas station is cleaner.  It surely smells better. The house is at a point of no return, I’m afraid. The point where I’m ready to light a match to it, file an insurance claim and just start over.

Or move.

Of course, if I were The Fly Lady, this would never happen. She taunts me, you know, sending ridiculous emails and reminders each day about how “easy” it is to keep a clean and organized house. (As if a clean sink is going to make all the difference the next morning.)

“I want your bedroom to be a haven for you each evening when you put your head on your pillow.” ~FlyLady

I had become sort of numb to the whole situation, living in a sleep deprived state of denial. Until I needed something from my craft room. Nothing major, but necessary to the success of my weekend of stamp camp and card making coming up in a few days. Space. I needed space to work on my card swap project.

Okay, and supplies. You can’t work with what you can’t see either. They were buried somewhere under the rubble, under months and months of projects that were never put away. It had crossed my mind that buying new supplies and renting space might be easier, but not exactly cost effective. I tried to chisel away at the giant mess a little each day over the weekend, weeding out trash and lack luster treasures. My piles for the garbage man were growing rapidly over the piles for Salvation Army, and yet I felt like no progress had been made. It took three days just to make a path into the room, and then a half a day to make it possible for DW to remove the old computer desk and bring in our old farm table that has been hiding in the basement.

20130320_210146 20130320_210422 20130320_210209By Tuesday morning it actually looked worse than when I started. DW merely looked at me in disbelief, shaking his head in confusion. There wasn’t much time to tackle it again during the school day. My plan was to go at it again after dinner. Two glasses of wine and a forgotten stash of Valentine chocolates later, I finally went to work around 7 o’clock that night, feverishly purging.

My craft room is in our loft above the garage. It is a small room adjacent to a much larger space for the playroom, spanning the length of our 3-and-a-half-car garage. As I cleared out space in the craft area, a few piles of discarded items, trash bags and random things needing to go in the basement might have found their way into the playroom.

This process went on for several hours until I suddenly realized it was close to 1 am.

And the wine and chocolate ran out.

When DW came home from work yesterday, I was eager to show him all of my hard work.  Surely he would be so impressed with my ability to turn chaos into function.

“Um, this looks great,” he said slowly, looking at the newly organized craft room.

Then he turned around, surveying the discombobulated playroom adjacent to my oasis.

“But what  happened here?” he questioned.

“Yeah, that,” I said confused, “I’m not really sure how that happened.”

Mama Kat Button


First light kisses

Mama Kat ButtonDW teases me often. It’s never hurtful or mean, only lighthearted and playful. I can especially count on him to point out the obvious when I make a dumb mistake, finding humor in everything. His jovial personality keeps me from taking things too seriously or becoming wrapped up in drama and emotion. Sometimes, he doesn’t even have to say anything. His eyes are full of laughter.

“Stop looking at me like that,” I giggle back often.

Yesterday I absently picked up our toaster by grabbing the opening where you put the bread. Apparently the metal lip folded under is not smooth or finished like the rest of the shiny body. As I placed the toaster into the cabinet, my pointer finger slid across the inner edge. Immediately I dropped the appliance with a thud, pain shooting up my finger towards my hand. My arm felt weak, blood burned quickly.

“Go get Dad,” I croaked, “and have him bring the band-aids.”

The Tortoise was also in the kitchen helping me clean up before dinner. Without hesitation she rushed upstairs while I ran my finger under cold water. My finger throbbed.

“What’d you do now?” DW bellowed down the stairs.

I braced myself for a joke or two, still holding my finger under the steady stream. But as our eyes met, he silently walked through the kitchen. DW held my finger firmly in a paper towel, my arm wrapped around him while I hid behind his back. I leaned my head against him, waiting.

“There, all better,” he said, securing a band-aid and giving me a big hug, “you okay?”

“Yeah,” I answered sheepishly, “it just startled me.”

“I bet,” he smiled, “you looked pretty freaked out.”

There was no more talk about the incident.

The alarm clock woke us up at 5:45 this morning. My finger still throbbed, probably from being tucked under my head all night. I slipped quietly out of bed to make sure The Tortoise was up and make a quick potty stop. We wake up in the dark. The first light of the day peaks out under doorways and around hall corners. It is found in tiny patches of illuminated numbers and blinking machines.

I decided to slip back into bed, snuggle under the covers between DW and Luna. The heat from DW’s body felt good against the cold. He stirred slightly and reached for my hand, placing a hot kiss on my bandaged finger, pulling me even closer to him. I don’t think any joke or sharp wit could have made me smile any bigger than that moment.

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

*This post was also inspired by today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: First Light


Cafe Confusion

It's impossible not to love such a sweet smile.
It’s impossible not to love such a sweet smile.

My teenage daughter has discovered the sweet bliss of cafe mocha. It’s like hot chocolate on steroids. Although I have avoided letting her start such a decadent and addictive morning ritual, high school has introduced her to a whole new world of temptations.

She likes to bring a hot drink out to the bus stop. First she started with hot chocolate. Then she started making tea: Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Chocolate Hazelnut. But once she tried her first “adult” drink with her friends, she was hooked. And now it is a frequently denied request.

However, I understand the need for something warm in your hand. I relate to that mind awakening  smell of nutty bittersweet as steam leaves its first kiss on my cheeks. It’s comfort in a cup. So, since she is quickly approaching her fifteenth birthday, I counted my blessings that this is the most “adult” vice she has asked to partake.

“I’m not willing to spend almost $5 a cup of coffee,” I said earlier this week, “but I will buy you some tasty creamers if you want to have a cup of coffee in the morning.”

“Really?” squeaked The Tortoise, flashing a grin.

“Sure,” I replied, “I can just add an extra cup for you when I program the pot at night.”

I brought home a box of York Peppermint Pattie creamers. It wasn’t cafe mocha, but it seemed like a good alternative. The next morning The Tortoise filled her monogrammed insulated cup and happily added the creamery. We each lingered over the heat, breathing in the smell of mint and chocolate.

Her eyes beamed.

She took her first sip.

She set the cup back on the counter.

“What’s wrong?” I asked confused.

“Nothing, I guess,” she replied.

“Doesn’t it taste just like it smells?”

“Yeah, it does, but…”

“But what?” I asked in a huff.

“But it still tastes like coffee,” she grumbled.