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The Crazy Cleaning Monster Strikes Again

Monday, July 28, 2014

Can I just start by singing, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah? This week, I lost another 2.2 pounds. That makes my total lost 27 pounds thus far! I will so take that!!

I was really unsure that I would lose again this week. I have been doing a lot of deep cleaning around my house which really set off the ol’ allergies and asthma. I am always worried when I have to take medicine that I am going to have some sort of adverse reaction that will cause me to gain weight. Obviously, this was not so.

I feel so horrible for my poor husband and I have apologized multiple times for my poor temperament over the past weekend. There is just something about cleaning that takes me to a bad place. No matter what, I always seem to turn into an ultra-moody, obsessed monster. I think it may have something to do with house cleaning as a child.

When I was young, every Thursday was house cleaning day. My mother would sit in her chair and tell us kids what to do. If we had been bad in the past week, we had to do extra cleaning while the other kids got to go out and play. (I spent a lot of time cleaning while the other kids got to play.) I have very vivid memories of carefully removing everything from the lower shelves of the table in front of the window in our living room. It was an octagon with wrought iron scrollwork sections on four of the sides. It had a giant Christmas cactus on top that hung half way to the floor. I remember dusting it over and over because it was never perfect – pushing the cleaning rag through the spirals on the scrollwork, trying to make sure that there was not a speck of dust on it. Or there was always the windows. They were always hell. I could never get them quite right and I always had to wash them inside and out multiple times because there were tiny streaks just out of reach. No matter what, nothing was ever cleaned well enough for my mother even though I never once saw her clean anything herself. And I am not talking about doing the house cleaning as a teenager, here. I remember having to dust spindly table legs over and over before I ever started kindergarten.

My mother’s obsessiveness about the quality of cleaning her children did resulted in my very great displeasure in the chore to this day. I do it because I do not want to live in filth, HOWEVER, I find myself doing certain things over and over because I can clearly see that they are not perfect. I do not think that I am quite so anal about some of the cleaning as I used to be even when I am deep cleaning. For example, I no longer get down on my hands and knees and scrub the tile floors in my house with a brush. (Yes, I do remember scrubbing the tile floor in the bathroom of the house I grew up in with a one of my own old toothbrushes.) Instead, today, I just spray a little cleaner on the floor and use my steam mop. So much faster and easier on the knees.

I am a list maker. If you can believe it, I have a checklist that I have saved on my computer that lists everything that needs to be done when deep cleaning so I am sure to not miss a thing. It is broken down by room and has a column for the chores, a column to fill in the date I plan to do the chore and a space to check it off when it has been completed. Deep cleaning in my house is usually a week long process so I can take the time to pay extra close attention to detail to each item on the list. And yes, I also color code it by day so I am extra sure not to miss anything on the list.

The obsessive cleaning kind of makes me sound like a bit of a nutter but honestly, I am not. I normally only deep clean the house once or twice a year or only when we are getting out of town guests. The rest of the time, I am good with a quick window washing (no big deal if there are a few small streaks), a quick vacuum and a light dusting with a Swiffer or one of my husband’s old socks. Bing-bang-boom and I am done.

So why the freak-out deep cleaning now? You may remember from a previous post that I mentioned that my niece is coming for a visit this summer. Well, her visit is almost here. Just three more days until she arrives! I cannot even begin to say how excited I am for her to arrive. The poor thing and my sister have had the wildebeest (AKA my mother) move in with them in the past year or two and she is even crazier than she ever was. This is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. EVER.

That brings me to my next worry. My little Bean, who is in reality 19 years old now, will be here for two weeks. We are going to be doing a lot of running around and site seeing and dining out in addition to making homemade farmhouse cheese and taking an Italian dessert cooking class. I am so freaked out about eating while she is here. I am going to do my best to stay on plan. I have been doing so well with Weight Watchers. In the past, little slip ups have led to major backslides for me. I know that slip ups are just part of life and I need to learn to deal with them as they come. Two weeks is a big test of the lessons I have learned from WW so far, though. It is really the first test of what I have learned from WW since I started. I am just not ready to come out and announce to everyone around me that I am on WW yet. Hello? I have not even “announced” it to my husband yet. I mean, he knows. I pay for it out of our joint checking account and I am pretty open about when I log my food on the website. And I mention the amount of weight that I lose each weeks. I just have not said plain and simple, “Hey, honey. By the way, I joined WW.” I did not really feel the need to do so. I know that he knows and he knows that I know that he knows and that is good enough for now.

I know I can stick with my plan no matter what. I have learned a lot and I am committed to seeing this through. Anyway, WW is supposed to be about learning to make healthier choices in everyday life, not about doing a strict diet for a while to lose a few pounds and then going back to eating the same garbage as before. I can do this.

One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VAINVT 7/28/2014 11:29AM

  How very sad to hear your story about your troubled mother. You must have a big heart to take your niece for two weeks and to get her away from her grandmother. Best wishes to you.

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Confessions of a Food Addict

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Today is just one of those days where there is a really dark cloud hanging over my head. It is the kind of day where, not so long ago, I would have let my emotions get the best of me and I would have gone on a day-long binge. I have always been an emotional eater so I suppose that I should look at today as something of a victory since I did not turn to food when I was down. Even that thought does not brighten my day, though.

My morning started off with my husband in a foul mood because he had to work extra since his coworker is off on vacation through the weekend. In two weeks, he has only had two days off and has been working extra on top of it. Then, the neighbors were extremely noisy when I was trying to take a short nap. When my husband called to say he was on his way home from work, he was still in a bad mood because when he went out to get in his car, it had a flat tire. Upon returning home, he was rather short with me and then asked that I call one of my sisters whom I have not been speaking with (family tiff) to ask a simple question that he could have easily gotten the answer to if he had just looked it up online. When I got on the phone with my sister, I got the answer to his question quick enough but then I had to listen to my sister go on and on about her life and she did not even bother to ask about my life. I know that none of the things I listed are big, emotional events but when you add them to the regular stresses in life, they transform from molehills into the proverbial mountains.

At one point in the day, I caught myself thinking about what food was in the cupboard and fridge. When I was feeling the most stressed, I actually thought, “I’m hungry. There is Babybel cheese in the fridge and a box of BBQ popped crisps in the cupboard.” Instead of stopping in the kitchen, I went outside to sit on the swing for a little bit and calm down. I am proud of myself for doing that and ignoring the thought suggesting that I eat. At the same time, though, I am more than a little bit bummed that the “voice” is still there with such clarity when I am stressed. I know that, as someone who is basically an addict, it will probably never go away no matter what I weigh. It is no different than an alcoholic or any other addict and their drug of choice. I just wish the thoughts telling me to turn to food when I am stressed would fade a bit quicker. In the mean-time, I have been trying to drown them out with positive thoughts.

Joining Weight Watchers has been a very good thing for me. So far, I have lost exactly 20 pounds in 7 weeks. Already, I am starting to notice that I am feeling better. My knee does not bother me nearly so much as it used to, I do not get out of breath as easily and I have noticed that my clothes are fitting looser. Where my jeans were uncomfortably snug less than two months ago, as of last week, they are now baggy and bordering on being too large. I have also noticed that I am starting to swim in my nightgowns and some of my shirts.

I know that when the day is over, I have to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. The more I do this, the less I will notice that the negative thoughts are there. If I want to lose weight, it has to be as much about positive thoughts as it is about making healthier food choices. Today, I proved to myself that I can make the right choices no matter what kind of cloud is hanging over my head.

One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.

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Reward System Breakdown

Monday, July 14, 2014

I wrote before about my reward system. I am certainly not the only person who self-rewards pounds lost with a charm bracelet. Around the time I joined Weight Watchers, I decided that for each 5 pounds I lose, I will buy a charm for a Pandora style bracelet. A simple system, really. Simple works, though, doesn’t it?

In the beginning, I decided that the real deal Pandora bracelets were just plain more money than I was willing to spend on myself. With the real bracelets costing $65, I decided to go the cheaper route in an attempt to save a little. After all, I have a very long way to go. At one bead for every 5 pounds, I would end up purchasing at least 60 beads by the time I get to my goal weight – and that is on top of the initial purchase of the bracelet and a chain guard. Then add in that I will have to purchase multiple bracelets since there is no possible way to fit 60 beads onto a single bracelet.

When I lost my first 5 pounds, off the Amazon I went where I purchased a very cheap but nice looking snake chain bracelet with a barrel clasp. It looked nice and was identical in size to the Pandora bracelets. I was so proud when I put it on. Shipping was slow and only a few days after receiving it, I snuck past my ten pound loss. By that time, I had at least 70 beads on my Amazon want list and I knew exactly what my first one would be. I ordered a little dachshund bead because my little shadow just so happens to be a dachshund named Fritz. It arrived very quickly and I immediately added it to my bracelet. The next day, while walking to my front door, the bracelet fell apart. I did not lose the bead but there was no way to repair the bracelet. Back to the drawing board.

I still did not want to spend the money on a real Pandora bracelet so I decided to buy from Amazon again but this time, buy a more expensive, better quality bracelet from a different seller. I did a little research and settled on Queenberry. They offer bracelets, charms/beads and necklaces at a moderate cost. I ordered a snake chain bracelet with a barrel clasp and a sturdy looking little safety chain.

I waited for what felt like a million years and it finally arrived. I got out my little dachshund bead, ready to put it on my lovely new bracelet. I twisted one end of the safety chain onto the first set of threads…and then it stopped. It would not go beyond that first set of threads. I contacted customer service and they sent me a prepaid mailing label, apologizing for the defective merchandise and promising to make sure that the quality of the new bracelet and safety chain would be top notch. A week and a half later, I received my replacement. I got out my little Fritzie bead, ready to put it on the bracelet. Then, as I opened the envelope and pulled out the bracelet, I was disappointed to see that one of the sets of spacer threads wan not attached to the chain and instead was free floating. Defective. Again.

Tired of messing around, I wrote to the Queenberry customer service and let them know that I had received a second defective bracelet and that I was not willing to try for a third. They apologized (again) and sent me a prepaid mailing label (again). I packaged it up right away and took it back to the post office, eager to be rid of the stupid thing.

After all of that, I decided that I was not going to mess around anymore. By then, I had decided that it was worth it to spend the money on a nice bracelet for myself. I had also realized that many of the beads on my want list were all silver with very few that were colorful. I did a little research on Pandora bracelets and knew what I wanted when I went down to my local jewelry store. Instead of the snake chain bracelet, I picked out a pink leather Pandora bracelet. As soon as we left the store, I took my little dachshund bead out and put it on my bracelet. Perfect at last. And I saved a little bit of money by purchasing the leather bracelet instead of the snake chain. I plan to purchase all leather bracelets in the future with each of them being a different color. That brings me to the unfortunate incident with the 15 pound loss bead.

In the past, we have had a few problems with mail theft in our neighborhood. We are the only neighborhood in our area without the locking cluster type of mailboxes. Last Christmas was a nightmare that ended up with me staking out the mailboxes, waiting to pounce as soon as the carrier made a delivery. Since then, we have not had any problems that we knew of…Until last week.

I have a small obsession with garden gnomes so the bead I selected for my 15 pound loss was an inexpensive, yet cute, little mushroom house. I waited for several days, tracking the shipping online each evening. Finally the day came when it was to arrive. I had been busy and had not been out to the mailbox, figuring my husband would bring it in when he came home from work. When he did so, he laid a single sales flier on the counter. Mail theft – AGAIN!

I was so angry. It was not that the bead was expensive. It was just that there had been so many problems with my reward system up to that point that it made me wonder if the universe was trying to tell me that my reward system was bogus.

Since we have been going around with the post office for two years about getting locking cluster boxes to no avail, my husband and I decided just to bite the bullet and buy one of the nice, locking mailboxes. I am pretty sure that my neighbors thought I was nuts as they watched me rip the old box out off of the box row and install the new one. Heck, I am pretty sure that my husband thought I was nuts as he watch me go at it. The result was fantastic. While not failsafe, hopefully the people who have been stealing our mail will pass us up for the easier targets of all the other traditional boxes on our street.

Anyway, back I went to Amazon to order another little mushroom gnome house bead. According to tracking, it should arrive in the next day or two. The nice thing is, I am flirting with the 20 pound loss line now. If I do not hit it this week, you can put money on it that I will hit it next week.

The lesson I learned in the past few weeks? I really am worth it. In the past, I have not felt good about spending money on myself for things that went beyond basic needs. It really is OK to do it sometimes, though.

One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEW1960 7/14/2014 5:23AM

    You ARE worth it emoticon

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

For a long, long time (at least as long as I can remember), I have been a night person. Even before I gained all of the weight and decided that I felt more comfortable going out at night because there are fewer people about, I preferred to be up at night. It’s quiet during the night. There are so many fewer distractions. The world is just a more peaceful place at night.

That is not to say that I cannot function in the daytime. In fact, most of the jobs I have held over the years have been regular daytime jobs. Given the opportunity, though, my body always seems to revert to a nocturnal rhythm. I can be up and about all day long and so, so tired but once the sun goes down, I find my energy. It is not insomnia. I sleep just fine in the daytime. I have heard experts say that some people just do not have “normal” circadian rhythms and I guess I am one of the not normal ones. I’m not weird in a bad way and I am not one of those nuts who thinks they are a vampire. I just feel more creative at night and, as a writer, that is pretty important.

In a few days, I am going to begin adjusting to a daytime schedule. It is not my favorite thing to do but with my niece arriving at the start of August and my father in-law arriving at the end of August, it is a must. My husband and I normally take our guests on a lot of Seattle and Pacific Northwest adventures and sadly, the rest of the world does not operate on my schedule. If enough sites were open at night, night tours would work for my niece since she is college aged and a bit of a night person herself. Alas, most of the things we want to see and do while she is here are only open during the day. Drat!

Tonight, I am still living on my time which is nice considering the heat we have had the past few days. I hate cooking when it is 90 degrees out. While my husband and dogs were busy sleeping, I cooked and portioned out enough healthy food for 4 days – enough to get us past the worst of the forecasted heat for the coming week. In addition, I cleaned the kitchen and did a load of laundry – and it’s only just past 2:00 a.m.! That leaves plenty of time to get my writing done, do a little reading, throw another load of laundry in the wash and who knows what else. Now all I have to do is get at it.

I wonder if the neighbors would be bothered if I decided to warm up the grill and cook for a few more days…

One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GHOSTFLAMES 7/13/2014 5:28AM

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Celebrating Us

Friday, July 11, 2014

Today is my wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that my husband and I have already been married for twelve years. Even on my grumpiest days, I am one-hundred percent thankful for having him as my partner. We are well matched in tastes and interests. Despite the way I was raised, we are not very extravagant people. I do not need big, fancy gifts or expensive vacations. I am just happy to spend the time with my husband.

Most years, we celebrate our anniversary by going out to eat. Our restaurant choices have been all over the place. Some years, we chose very basic, cheap restaurants and others, we went for fancy, expensive establishments. This year, my husband asked me to decide where to have our anniversary dinner since he now understands how important it is for me to stick with my Weight Watcher’s plan.

Over the past couple of days, I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on, trying to decide where we should go. Living between Seattle and Tacoma, there are so many options. Originally, the plan was to go to a little Chinese restaurant just south of Tacoma but I have since decided against it. It is not because Chinese food is one of my biggest trigger foods. Rather, it is because he has to work the next day and I cannot, in good conscience, ask him to drive all of the way home to pick me up then turn around and drive all of the way back past Tacoma. (His office is in Tacoma.) In addition, there is the heat to think about. With the warm weather we have been having as of late, neither one of us has had much of an appetite. To top everything off, I seem to have picked up a nasty little chest cold. In all honesty, all I really want to do is sit in front of a fan with a large glass of icy water and stare off into space. Romantic stuff, eh?

So how does one make a decision on how to spend their anniversary when taking all of the above into account? I have decided that this year, we will celebrate our anniversary at home. I will make a nice steak for him and a chicken breast for me and I will throw a couple of potatoes on the grill. We will have nice salads. His will be bleu cheese dressing with a little side of baby spinach and I will go for my beloved broccoli slaw style salad with a tiny bit of bleu cheese. Simple and delicious and we will dine in our own back yard with our little dogs by our sides. Perfection.

One day at a time. Small goals. Because I am worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEEMEMIMI 7/13/2014 5:16AM

    Thanks for all of the well wishes and positive thoughts, everyone! Very much appreciated!!

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SANDICANE 7/11/2014 7:34AM

    Your plan for this year DOES sound PERFECT! Congratulations and happy anniversary!

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JANUT57 7/11/2014 5:37AM

  Sounds great! Happy Anniversary! emoticon

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PICKIE98 7/11/2014 5:32AM

    Congratulations!! I think your dining decision is wonderful! Loving your husband and thinking of his comfort first, is what makes the marriage last. Compromise and thoughtfulness...

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GHOSTFLAMES 7/11/2014 4:34AM

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