Sunday, November 29, 2009

One-Uping the Husband... And Then Some

So I get this text message about a week or two ago... "UR TOASTER CAUGHT FIRE. U NEED A NEW ONE. WHILE UR OUT, PICK UP DETERGENT AND LAUNDRY SOAP." Roughly rephrased, but that was mostly it. So I call the Hubby, and he says, "Um... YEAH, about the toaster oven... well, I found the fire extinguisher, and put it out, but yeah, it's gone."

That was a Thursday. Two days later, a beautiful late Saturday afternoon, apparently, I decided to get even. And then some.

Short Version: Ka-BOOM!

Long Version:
Well... It was my last fun run of the day at an autocross. I had better times than most of the boys in my class, C-Street-Prepared -- okay, I had better times than ALL of the boys in my class -- and I was really close to both boys in C-Stock, my previous class before we installed the new radiator. (Yeah, that "improvement" moved me to a different class.) So I decided to go for a couple of fun runs after the event and get my time down a little further... and I did. I got a clean (no cones) run in 32.8 seconds! (0.68 seconds behind the guy in first in the other class, by the way.) It was awesome!... until I came across the line, and suddenly the engine started making some weird noise.

The guy who's been coaching me, immediately motioning me stop. I stopped the car, popped the hood. Apparently to every guy within hearing distance, it was like a homing beacon, and they all came running. Four of them were standing in front of my poor Miata, shaking their heads. (Not a good sign. EVER.) On of the guys, Joe says, "Oh yeah. Cylinder Number Four." Then he looks up at me and says, "Sorry. It's toast." Then he adds, "Don't worry, I did this same exact thing last week. We could probably get you a new engine this week, and have you back on the road by the weekend." Geoff, my coach, says, "Yeah, I could probably pick it up tomorrow, get it to my place and get bearing by Monday." So they got me to wheel it into a parking spot at the Orangeburg Mall where we were holding the event, I locked it up, and that's exactly what happened. Crazy, right?

I called the next day, just to see if he had gotten by the mall to get it, and he says, "Oh yeah, I got it. I took it apart this morning to get a look at what happened. Joe was right. Cylinder Number Four." Awesome. Just awesome. I managed to blow my husband's daily driver to pieces.

But I can't imagine getting more lucky. Half of the guys there had car trailers already, and Orangeburg isn't that far away from Lexington, where both of my aunts live. Additionally, I got a diagnoses in less time than it took for me to get the car to come to a complete halt. Not only that, these guys managed to figure out what was wrong, the parts I needed, how to get them economically, PROCURE all the parts (except for a head gasket) and had it ready to put back together before the week was over. Not only that, he made some "adjustments" to my flywheel on a lathe he had in his shop. It was really cool. Geoff himself is freaking amazing and awesome and wonderful. Seriously.

Now, mind you, I don't have the car back. When I left, they were waiting on the head gasket. So I haven't talked to anyone since I left for Thanksgiving vacation. Not only that, I'm sitting on my in-laws' couch in Iowa, and my phone is dead. Even if it weren't dead, to paraphrase, "I get NO BARS in this tiny little town in the middle-of-nowhere-Iowa!" NONE. Not even a BLIP. There's supposed to be a hot-spot for my service at the Barnes & Noble, but my phone died moments before I got over there. Of course. And I keep forgetting to charge the damn thing up. However, I should be able to do that tonight, get the number and call on the Hubby's phone. Hopefully.

Anyway, so that's the story. I guess I'm even with the Hubby for my toaster oven... and then some, I think.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Coma Recovery!

So I gave up my weightloss goal, right? Perfectly timed RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING, right??? Yeah. Exactly. Oh, and what did I volunteer to do? Yeah. Make dessert. Go ahead and guess what happened? Yup. I made two. Two delicious cheesecakes after I made cheesecake just LAST WEEK for the guy who's helping put back together my engine. (Oh, did I mention I blew up my car? No? Another post then, promise!) And not just ANY cheesecake. One Paula Deen recipe. You ever notice that all of her recipes (and The Barefoot Contessa's) usually include four sticks of butter? Yeah. But damn, it was delicious. But how could Apple Pie Cheesecake NOT be delicious? I mean, seriously, go ahead and read that again without drooling: APPLE PIE CHEESECAKE. See?

The second cheesecake? Pumpkin, also a tribute to the traditional desserts. I figured I couldn't get too out-of-the-box here, being a Traditional holiday, and all. Sometimes it's better not to mess around with a proven thing. Which is probably why we always have turkey... Dressing/stuffing directly from the bird? How could it be any better?

My mother-in-law did a great job as always, especially considering her normal partner-in-crime went to California this year to spend the holiday with her kids. But I think my favorite part is always the stuffing from the bird. I really wonder why it's called dressing in some areas. Especially since it's never really on the OUTSIDE of the bird. But it's still delicious, no matter what you call it. My family always have a HUGE get-together way out in the woods on the family property. Somewhere between forty and sixty people usually show up, which means it ends up like your wedding day: you see about five minutes of everyone, but never actually get to just hang out and spend quality time. My in-laws, on the other hand, spend the whole holiday (all four days, not just the three hours before and after the meal, together, and all in one house, so it's really nice and cozy.

The downside of Thanksgiving for me: it's in Iowa. And Iowa, if you have never been there, usually looks like how I imagine the tundra of Alaska: completely frozen solid and covered in white stuff. (Fact: when we returned to their house after visiting relatives in Missouri, the top of the Jeep's hood scraped along a wall of snow, and my father-in-law actually said, "WOW. We hardly got any snow at all!") Not that I have anything against snow. In fact, snow is pretty cool itself, especially since, being from the South, we don't get a lot. But it's still freezing, and the wind is pretty vicious. The few times I've been here in summer, it was like a wind tunnel, and it never let up.

However this year, my in-laws installed a hot tub. A FREAKING HOT TUB WITH MASSAGE JETS!!! It's the most wonderful thing ever. It even has massage jets for your feet. So the last few nights, I've spent outside in the thirty-degree night (fairly warm for Iowa at this time of year, honestly) sitting in the dark in the steamy hot water up to my nose, staring up at the stars while the steam billows up into these columns above my head, then disappears into the night sky. It's amazingly calming. The jets are so strong I have to wedge myself into the seat so I don't get shot out across the tub. And I don't have to badger anyone to rub my neck or shoulders or back or anything, and I even get that weird little place just above my tailbone massaged. Again: freaking fantastic. The really interesting part: the deck on the way to the hot tub was covered in ice from where we had gotten water on it, making the trip into the hot tub just a little thrilling.

But yeah, so Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey + stuffing + gravy + rolls + mashed potatoes + corn + sweet potatoes) plus Beer plus Wine plus Dessert (Cheesecake*2) plus HOT TUB = Three Day Coma. This year, Thanksgiving has been really stupendous. We can definitely make this a repeat experience.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sleep Update

I was going to say how wonderful it was the past few weeks with my daughter sleeping through the night... and then last night happened. Again, it wasn't as bad as it has been -- although I could be completely wrong about this, considering it was the hubby who got up with her all night last night. But it wasn't like he had much of a choice, since the little brat kicked me out when I went up to check on her, and screamed NO!!!, GO!!!, and DADDY!!! at me on my way out the door. And I absolutely cannot sleep when she screams like that. It honestly sounds like she's being beaten and stabbed up there, yet when I go up, she doesn't want anything to do with ME; she wants DADDY. Yippee. For both of us.

Now, while we were in the middle of the last sleep crisis, I made an appointment with a Pediatric Sleep Clinic. (Are you surprised too?) Unfortunately, like all specialists, they were booked out until the end of December. If this keeps up, of course I'll keep the appointment, but what about if it stays this weird intermittent thing? There's no rhyme or reason to it, that I can tell. And I know what I hear from everyone: consistency is the key! And we do keep a fairly stable schedule during the mornings. It's the nap where it gets all wacky.

It's like Russian roulette napping. An hour? Two hours? Three hours? Forty minutes? Twelve-thirty? Two? Four o'clock? There's no telling with this kid. Sometimes she passes out cold on my way home from the gym; sometimes she's up for two more hours, and going gangbusters. So I never know how the afternoon will go, or when the nap will take place. Even when I know she's sleepy and tired, it still may or may not happen. I've driven her around for miles before, and nothing. I've also put her in the car at 11am before, gone back inside to get my keys or shoes, and come back out to her snoring away in the backseat.

So, as of yesterday, I was going to say that things were going great... but now that we had another relapse, I'm not sure how long this is going to last or how bad it will be.

There's also a nice hole apparently in her room, because on Sunday, I got a text message saying that there was a massive leak in the ceiling. I got home, and apparently water had dripped down between the seams of the drywall sheets, and there was a water line halfway across her ceiling, and the drywall was mushy. I called my neighbor over to look at it, and he just pushed a finger straight up through it and into the insulation, which was soaking wet. Of course. There's no water lines and no water heater up there, at least, so that does narrow it down... but this is only one of several leaks we've gotten over the last year, so our ten year roof may be on its last legs. Again. Great. Fantastic. WHEEEE.

And then there was the exorcist-like happening on Sunday, where water just began to randomly drip out of the light fixture below the upstairs bathroom. At least now we have a good idea as to why that light went out.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Alright, So It's Offical: I Give Up

At least with actively trying to get the weight off. Because NOTHING I have tried works. NOTHING. I get all kinds of advice, and have now compiled a short list:
  • You need to eat LESS.
  • You need to eat MORE.
  • You need to watch your snacking.
  • You need to lift weights.
  • You need to add more aerobic activity.
  • You need to eat less carbs.
  • You need to have your thyroid checked.
  • Blah blah blah blah...
Yeah. The short list. Okay, so I've done all of these things. And more of course. But nothing seems to work. I can skimp by on nothing, and it doesn't help. I eat more, and still nothing. I lift weights, I did step aerobics, the treadmill, the track, the machines, the stairmaster (for which my back has its revenge on me if I use it for more than 15 minutes -- I found out the hard way), I cut back on all carbs, cut back on snacks, cut OUT snacks, had my thyroid checked. You name it. Nothing. Just hanging out here at 136. And to be fair, 136 is a fine number, but that doesn't make my wedding rings fit again or my pants. Both of which I miss terribly.

And people will tell me, "Oh, but I'm sure it's MUSCLE." Honey, if this were ALL muscle, I would look like a GODDESS. I mean seriously. And my pants would probably fit again. But it isn't, and they don't.

SO. Here's the new plan: there IS no plan. No calorie counting, no diets, nothing except trying to eat healthy, not go overboard, and keep my activity level at least where it is. I have turned my attentions to another goal, another obsession -- Ihor, my Ukrainian drill sergeant, and trying to not feel like a redheaded stepchild every time I come out of my dance lesson. (If you're wondering how to promounce that, think an internet prostitute, adn I'm sure you're work it out correctly.) He asked me to compete in this year's Harvest Moon Classic. I said no, mostly because it's ungodly expensive -- starting with the $300 entry fee, and the $60 dance fee for a minute and a half for each dance. (Keep in mind this is one of the CHEAP competitions.) But then I went to watch, and realized where he wants me to be. And I'm nowhere near that good.

I also realized that if my technique were better, he would spend less time drilling me on basics and more time on teaching me cool stuff. And that would also be a better use of my time with him. So what I've been doing is going to the gym as much as I can, and working on drilling basic CRAP over and over until I either "get it" or get sick of it. But it's really hard to get sick of samba music. Or salsa. Or cha-cha. Rumba too. Ooooh, the TANGO. Did I mention waltz? Much better than watching Rachel Ray or The Andy Griffith Show (no, I'm not kidding) for the five-hundredth time while my eyes glaze over on the elliptical. Or while going around the track for the eighth time, only to realize that's only four miles. Much better use of my allotted nursery time, I think.

I can also work on my posture -- on which I get lectured on endlessly. Okay, it's less of a lecture and more of a surprise sharp poke to the ribs with a Ukrainian behind me scaring the crap out of me yelling, "SHAPE UP!!" It's not awful, but it's really irritating. And it'd be really nice to have my instructor not say after a dance, "That was GREAT! Except your posture was TERRIBLE."

My arm styling too is fairly lousy, since I'm terrified to do anything with my arms. I don't know why, I just am. Oh, and I'm not exaggerating. One of the other teachers had me for a one-time lesson, and his words were, "Your arm styling? It is terrible." I think that was about two years ago or so. A little less. So at least now, I can take some time to work on it and get more comfortable with it.

I think I have also discovered my inner hippie. I started poi or "spinning." I picked it up a little in martial arts in college and always liked it. Then a few weeks ago, I saw a group of performers called Thee Inner Cirkus at a bellydancing show, and loved it! So I picked up some practice poi and have spent a few days this week and last trying not to give myself a concussion or brain damage. I may even start hoola-hooping. The hoop girls were FANTASTIC. They could do such amazing things with a hoola-hoop. It was insane.

So there you have it. I'm dropping one obsession to spend more time on another. I don't know what it'll do for me, if it'll help me accomplish previous goals, but hey, at least I'll have a good time with it. So anyway, we'll see how it goes. Hopefully my husband won't kill me when I ask for a $30 "professional" hoola-hoop.