Subtraction: My Uncomfortable Relationship with Numbers in Weight Loss

Note: Body-image issues beneath the cut. Consequently, trigger warning.

The other day I was weighed for a medical test. “Wow,” said the nurse. “I never would have guessed that to be your weight! You hold it really well!”

…insert spiral of shame, here, until I forced myself to write this entry in my blog.

Continue reading

Whitney and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

My week has been so bad it’s actually gone the other way and is now awesome. I’m not sure why my mood has remained buoyant despite the load of bull I’ve been dealing with, but I’m actually in a great mood. All the stuff that’s happened is on the minor end of the tragedy spectrum, so consequently in list form, it’s fantastic! This week:

  • My AC broke.
  • A dustpan fell off the wall and hit me in the head.
  • I managed to destroy the company website on my lunch break (….I did fix it, eventually).
  • I had a flat tire.
  • …twice. (Different tires.)
  • When tossing a paper towel into the trashcan, I missed. This isn’t surprising because I don’t have game. I then leaned over to pick up the paper towel and put it in the trashcan only to lose my balance (?!?) and fall, knocking my head against the computer and potentially damaging the fan inside. I don’t know, it’s making an angry whirring noise. Also, I have a lump on my head.
  • A little kid ran into me at the library and took a tumble.  Poor thing! But he looked at me like I was Satan and waaaailed and I felt awful.
  • Scratched the floor something awful when moving furniture. It’s time to buy a new rug!
  • Scalded myself on the popcorn maker.
  • I have a doctor’s appointment. For women’s troublesOooooh.
  • Got cable and internet installed in my apartment. Both didn’t work on Day One. Got them fixed. Now the DVR isn’t working.

And such.

What you need to understand is that all of these things happened in TWO DAYS. TWO.

Surely I’m good now. Right?  RIGHT?

I’d Rather Move Bodies

Have you moved recently?

Good, then you’re going to feel me on this one. Settle in.

I’m a freakin’ James Bond when it comes to moving. I’ve moved from one residence to another (both across-the-street and across-the-country) nearly twenty times. I’m good at packing. I’m ruthless when it comes to keeping stuff or dumping it. I’m organized enough to know what I have to do when, experienced enough to anticipate what I’m going to break or what’s going to be broken (who needs an air conditioner in June in Alabama?) and  cynical enough to understand that this isn’t going to be cheap no matter what (I break leases like I break hearts).

And the funny thing is, this has been an incredibly smooth move-in. Nothing horrific has happened. Sure, there’s been minor drama, but nothing that isn’t par for the course when you’re moving 32 boxes, furniture, and clothes up two flights of stairs into a place previously inhabited by four (four!) galloping pitbulls and their owners (my downstairs neighbors just LOVE me and my two cats, let me tell you).  But moving to a new state takes time, money, and stress management skills that unless you’ve done it, you simply don’t understand. For example:

1. You must expect to get ripped off.

Generally, people aren’t even doing it out of malicious intent. They just have 7,342,394,300 fees to charge you because it’s what they’ve always done. Applying to live here?  $50. Running a credit check to live here?  $50.  Have pets?  $200 (and that was a deal! With two cats, I should be paying $400 but the manager was super-sweet and let me do it for $200). Need internet?  That’ll be the monthly fee plus installation plus parts plus labor.  And don’t get me started on Huntsville Utilities charging me $300 just to sign up for an account. I’ll see half that money again in 2 years. I’m not holding my breath.

2. You don’t need all that stuff.

When I was leaving Florida to move back here to Alabama, I had a pretty clear policy: if you want my furniture, you can have it for free.  The caveat to this policy was that I was not going to help you move it. Disassembling and getting the furniture down the three flights of stairs was entirely on the person who wanted the free furniture. You’d be surprised how many people went “oh yes, I want your Mistress of Pain dungeon set!” (hypothetical) only to back out once they realized that they were responsible for lugging it downstairs themselves while I drank gin and tonics on the couch. I gave away a TON of furniture. Most of my furniture, actually. I had a few kind people who asked me “are you sure you want to give this away?” and I said “YES, PLEASE, JUST GET RID OF IT SO I DON’T HAVE TO RENT A BIGGER U-HAUL” and they were worrying about my sentimentality getting the best of me. I assure you, once you start moving, you will realize what you want to keep and what you want to give away because you have to pack that shit in a box and then lug that box across the galaxy. You don’t realize the value of belongings until you’re forced to actively deal with them. I lost so much stuff I feel like a lighter person.  It’s fantastic.

3. Moving is never quick.

I’ve been in my apartment since May 15th. Here are the things that I still don’t have: a bed, cable, internet, towels, a bathroom trashcan, dishcloths, a bedside table, a desk. And all my art is on the floor, unhung. I’ve been working my ass off to get my apartment “done”, and I’m just beginning to remember that when moving into a new place, YOU ARE NEVER DONE. NOT FOR A YEAR.  You have to order stuff. It takes two weeks for them to ship it. You can’t just get cable; they have to come install it. Etc, etc. When I hear about my friends who have plans to move into a new house over a weekend I have myself a nice long laugh, because their definition of “moving” must include “using our boxes as a coffee table for the next six months because Jesus fucking Christ this shit is never through”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I hate smug movers who assure you that their moving experience was done in a weekend. Yes, there are moving hipsters. No, I don’t get it.

4. Hire someone to help you move, or rely on easily guilt-tripped friends. You can’t do it yourself.

Moving from the rental house to Huntsville, I hired two guys who got all the horrible lifting done in an hour-and-half versus all day of me huffing and puffing.  It cost $200 including tip and it was the best investment I’ve made in the last year. Before that, I begged my friends to help me move with promises of Cracker Barrel and beer. That worked out nicely, too, and it costs almost the same amount (a little cheaper, but it made some fantastic memories).  Thank you, easily-guilt-tripped friends!

In short, moving is torture and I’m stress-eating. Don’t do it unless you love your apartment. I do.  But holy crap this mess THIS MESS.

Quick Update

I don’t believe in hiatus posts for blogs, generally, because they alert readers to the fact that my awesome has been absent from the blogosphere, but I really am going to be MIA for the next week and a half due to a vacation in Yellowstone and the fact that I have no internet at my new apartment yet (woe! my life has a dearth of lolcats!).

I will return with a vengeance in June with new tales of That Time I Nearly Died and a discussion of tasty, tasty bison.

‘Til then, dear followers.

Posted in Me

Moving In, Moving On

Yesterday I got the keys to my new apartment, and promptly got severely nauseous. While there’s a stomach bug going around, I think it has more to do with the concept of permanency than any genuine illness.  I’ve always had a dislike of putting down ties; there’s no tragic backstory to explain my distaste toward commitment. I just don’t like pending obligations (or yard work).

While an apartment with a year-long lease barely seems to be commitment at all, for me, it’s pretty big. I’ve spent a lot of my life running around with my belongings in a cardboard box, and purchasing Real Furniture literally weighs me down. It’s exciting, sure, but it means that for a while: here I am.

My list of places, unabridged: Continue reading

Would you like fries with your vengeful ghost?

While driving to the store today, I saw a family in a graveyard by the Baptist Church.

They were in lawn chairs and grilling.

Now, it’s difficult to shock me, and my list of things I’d consider “gauche” is pretty short.  However, enjoying an Oscar Meyer wiener and playing frisbee amidst the mausoleums is one of them, particularly when there’s a perfectly nice, green park about five miles down the road that isn’t fertilized by the decomposing body of someone’s grandmother.  Isn’t that the perfect setup to a horror movie? Some hapless family has a picnic in a cemetery and the angry spirits of the restless dead rise up to smite them?

I’m trying to think whether or not I’ve ever done anything remotely as insensitive in a graveyard. Surprisingly, no. I’ve done ghost walks, of course, but they were all sanctioned by official historical society people.  I’ve done etchings off a farmer’s 1774 tombstone in a tiny little country cemetery in Tennessee, but I was quiet and respectful and didn’t drop a burger patty on holy ground.  There’s a difference, I think, between visiting a graveyard to tour it, and visiting a graveyard because you can work your Green Egg.  There’s a matter of respect.

I held my breath for the super-historical cemetery I walked past every day in Fredericksburg, Virginia. There’s an old Southern superstition to hold your breath as you pass by a cemetery lest the ghosts jump into you. I’m not sure what would happen if a ghost were to jump into you, but according to the tone of Southern tradition, bad things would follow. It probably wouldn’t be as awesome as anything Whoopi Goldberg could manage, just saying.

So it’s very strange to me to see people just… grilling away. I hope they had a good time and didn’t disrupt too many spirits.  That cemetery is only a mile from my house, and I’ve seen Night of the Living Dead way too many times (“There coming to get you, Whitney!”).

And related to nothing, the tips of my brunette hair are now dyed blonde, and I can cross off one of the things on my list.

Leash Laws: Into the Wild in Alabama

One of the most obvious differences between life in Orlando and Northern Alabama is the wildlife. It’s not that Orlando was an asphalt wasteland devoid of life that wasn’t in a Mickey costume. I saw lots of wildlife. I saw it dead on the highway all the time, a menagerie of squished armadillos, various cranes that had taken a wrong turn at Tampa, and assorted flattened groundhogs. It was somewhat troubling that I’d never seen any of these creatures alive, but if you’ve ever driven in Florida for any length of time, you know that the odds of survival are against you as soon as you put a toe on the interstate.

My neighborhood in Alabama is brimming with creatures – and few of them are dead! We have the typical kamikaze squirrels, but we also have possums, raccoons, coyotes, deer, rabbits, and foxes. Our house is pressed tight against the woods, and the contents of the wild often spill out onto our property. The tall, green trees look nothing like the stunted palms of Central Florida. When I close my eyes and breathe, I smell sap, honeysuckle, and undergrowth – not the exhaust, dust, and waffle cones of the Magic Kingdom parking lot.

One other note about animals in Alabama? There are no leash laws.

This seems a minor point at first. If you’ve never lived in a place without leash laws, you just assume that everyone keeps their dogs and cats or whatever in a fenced yard. This is optimistic, but it’s not the least bit truthful. Dogs roam in packs over my neighborhood, and while they’re (currently) all friendly, it can be a little overwhelming if you’re not expecting to have five other canine joggers with you as you do your evening run. When I was little, a less-kind dog pack roamed, and selling raffle tickets to the neighbors became something of a life-or-death situation as I torpedoed from the safe zone of a front porch to another, hoping to avoid the snap of canine jaws. It’s something to think about before you let Chester the Cat outside. And don’t get me started on the exotic birds.

Exotic birds? you ask. In Alabama? Well, yes. One of my neighbors collected them. Peacocks, emus, and guinea fowl. When he died, they roamed around the neighborhood for years; it wasn’t unusual to look out the window and see a peacock staring back at you, willing you to throw a piece of bread outside. When I learned to drive, emus chased the Volkswagen, pecking at the tires and flapping their useless wings. And guinea fowl? Are the stupidest creatures alive. They run straight into the car every time (I may or may not be lingering under the guilt of having hit a few in my earlier days).

There was also a beautiful parrot who was sometimes allowed to fly around the neighborhood. His owners assured us that he was totally fine and always flew home. He had the uncomfortable habit of looking in and squawking “touchdown!” whenever an actress on television took off her top.

So no, I didn’t have any of that in Orlando. I kind of missed it.