To Tone in Private: A Personal Weight Loss Journey

In August of 2012, I had a realization.

It was one of those epiphany moments where music played, the camera zoomed in, and someone with an incredibly deep voice began narrating in my head. “It is time.”

It was the start of my journey to lose weight.

We had just returned home from a Vegas vacation with our amazing friends, and we had celebrated my upcoming 40th birthday there.  I wasn’t turning 40 until September, but it seemed like a perfect “excuse” to go to Vegas and have some fun.

My friends came over bringing photos – printed out ones (amazing, right?!) – documenting our trip.  I was ecstatic to see the pictures.  We had had such a wonderful time, and the pictures were actually printed! Rock on!

I wasn’t prepared for the shock of seeing myself in photos.  Now, understand me when I say that I see myself daily, but it is easy to “hide” from my appearance in the mirror.  It is easy to “see” exactly what I wanted to see when I put on make-up.  It is easy to “convince” myself that I looked fine.

But photos tell another story.

I looked on them in horror.  After our friends left, I said to The Captain, “Why didn’t you tell me I looked just plain awful and disgusting?!”

“I think you look fine,” he said.

Fine. Hmph.

About a week later, my oldest, then ten years old, gave me a bear hug and proceeded to say, “Mom, maybe you should go on a diet. I can’t get my arms around you.”

The Captain, trying to spare my feelings, said, “Apologize to your mother right now.  That isn’t nice.”

String Bean looked at me and said, “Sorry, Mom, but really, maybe you would like to exercise sometime. You may feel better, ya know?”

He was right.  I had avoided being healthy.  I had avoided looking – really looking – at myself.  I had avoided it all.

I made a decision.  I didn’t share it with anyone.  Not my husband, my kids or my friends.

I made an appointment with a dietician.  And it has changed my life.

Walking into a new atmosphere can be daunting.  Walking in knowing that I was more than 80 pounds was downright frightening.

It took some time, but the weight began to come off.  And the new habits of eating right and exercising became commonplace to me.

It took a lot of time.

But now, two years later, I can safely say I have changed (and I am still changing), not only in body, but in spirit and mind.

I will write more about the transformation process soon, but, for now, I will end with this:

No one can decide what time is right, it is personal; a personal journey.  I had to make the decision to make a change, others could not make it for me. And I am still on the journey…

It literally makes me cringe posting this picture.  The left is 2012 and the right is this fall, exactly two years later. Wow.

It literally makes me cringe posting this picture. The left is 2012 and the right is this fall, exactly two years later. Wow.

 

Car Conversations

Middle school is an odd time.  I say odd because there isn’t really another adjective I can use to explain how weird my discussions with my middle school son, String Bean, have become.

And the car has become the place for these odd talks.

Long gone are the car discussions about the merits of Wendy’s nuggets over McDonald’s McNuggets.  Or the chats about the zillion unique Pokemon characters (Legendary ones versus morphed ones, etc.) and how important each one is to the game.  No.  These car conversations are now replaced by talks about social skills and, gulp, dating.

I should preface – String Bean is in 6th grade.  I still recall playing Barbies in 6th grade.  I don’t remember having a boyfriend or calling a boy’s house or being at all interested in the opposite sex.

Times they are a changin’.

This past car conversation proved very interesting.  String Bean and I had just left the community theater and I was running one of the middle school girls, who is in the musical with us, home.  She is in 8th grade.  String Bean is smitten with her and, basically, wouldn’t lend a word to the conversation.

So I led it and told her that String Bean and I were going to go home and try to catch an episode of The Family Guy. This is something he wasn’t allowed to watch until he hit middle school status, so we watch it together (mostly in case of any questions that may come up!)

She laughed and said that it was a funny show.

String Bean sat there and said nothing, but his body language said it all.  I had done the worst thing a parent can do: embarrassed him.

We chatted more, and finally arrived at her home.  I waited until she went inside before pulling out of the driveway.

The silent middle child sitting in the car became quite chatty.  He asked me how I talked to people so easily.  I told him practice.  I also told him the biggest secret of all: ask THEM about themselves.  It works like magic.

He took all of it in and seemed completely content by the time we reached our home.

About 10 minutes later, he got a text on his iPod from the 8th grade girl.  It said: “Turned on the TV and The Family Guy was on.  Thought of you two.”

Needless to say, String Bean didn’t stop grinning all night.

Growing too fast.

Growing too fast.

Hug a Teacher

The best days are those when a child actually gives a real response to the everyday questions, “How was your day?”

This unbelievable occurrence happened in my household on February 28th at approximately 3:11 p.m.

I notated the date and time because it is a rarity.  Rarer than the talking dog from the film Up.  Rarer than my husband likes his steak.  Rarer than me being on time for an event.  I am talking rare, my friends.

Since my oldest has hit middle school, he arrives home before the rest of the household.  He usually has about 10 minutes before I get there. Most of the time I find him watching The Family Guy on Netflix (he has been instructed since the beginning of time to start his homework, alas it doesn’t happen often without prompting).  This was different.  The TV was silent and the dude was sitting at the computer looking something up on Google.

“How was your day?” I asked.

“It was OK,” he answered.  A typical response at our house.

“That’s good.  Anything else going on?” I questioned, hoping he may add something to the conversation.

“Mom, you know what?”

I turned, shocked that I was actually asked a question!  “What, kiddo?”

“It stinks that it is the end of February.  I liked February.”

My mind raced trying to think of why… Maybe it was because he had one of the leads in our community theater’s production of Willy Wonka (he was Mike TV, appropriately) and we were heading into the final weekend of the show? Maybe because snow days are fewer in March? Maybe because a free Pokemon download wasn’t available after February at Game Stop?  Maybe I should just ask him?  Yeah.  That’s the ticket.

“So, why did you like February?”

“We learned a lot this month in Social Studies.  We learned about all sorts of people I had never heard of,” he replied looking a little melancholy.

“Really?  That’s awesome!” I exclaimed, excited that he is actually absorbing what he has been taught. Then, curiously, I added, “Who was the person you liked learning about the best?”

“Ella Fitzgerald.  She was very talented.  She was an inspiration,” he answered without hesitation.

“Wow, I’m impressed,” I said.

“I know, right?  Who knew February would be such a great month in Social Studies!” he said, jumping onto Minecraft on his iPod.

“So true,” I said as I began humming a little Ella.

I will be hugging his teacher soon.  For sure.

And he is back on technology. Again.

And he is back on technology. Again.

Middle Schoolers Seeking Dating Advice From Crazy Parents: A True Story

My oldest son is now in middle school.

We have entered the big leagues, my friends.

The thought of String Bean walking through the doors of middle school sent me into a panic. All I could think about were my uncomfortable days of junior high.  I never wanted to relive those moments of hell again.

Fortunately, all my worrying was for nothing. String Bean has had a good run thus far.

Lately, he has been asking me some unique questions.  Questions that he has decided I am the best resource to ask.  Questions about dating.

Yes, dating.  Apparently something resembling this happens in sixth grade.

Sadly, I don’t want to share my middle school dating experiences which only consisted of one slow dance, a note that had the words, “Will you go out with me? Circle one: yes, no or maybe,” and being dumped by the said note-writer because I wasn’t allowed to go with he and his older brother to an amusement park.

Obviously, I was not the best person to ask.  I didn’t become a good person to ask until later in high school and in college.  Oh yes.  Good times.

So sorry – I digress. Back to String Bean.

“Mom.  Can I talk to you?” he said as he is working on his math homework.

“Sure thing, dude,” I said as I stared blankly at his math homework.  It looks more advanced than my college Algebra class.

“How do you know if a girl likes you?” he said, not making eye contact with me.

“Do you talk to the girl at school?”

“Yes. We sit near each other in Social Studies.”

“Have you talked to her about anything in particular like movies or Legos or anything?”

“Mom. Seriously? You think I am that dorky that I would talk to a giiiiiiiirrrrrrrlllll about Legos?”

“No, not at all. Probably not a good idea to talk about Legos.  I was just thinking about Legos for a second. My bad,” I said while looking at the Lego Shakepeare figure he gave me last week.

“How do I know if she likes me?” he said, starting to lose patience with me.

“Has she given you any hints that she likes you, such as giggles or whispers to her friends or smiles really big when you are around?” Yes, I am grasping here.  Failing like I failed many a math test.

“Yeah, kind of.  So, how do I ask her on a date?”

Wait a second.  A date? Wwwwwwwhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaatttttt???

“Umm. You could ask her if she likes Thor, and if she has seen any of the movies,” I said.  I am not sure where my response came from except for the fact I really like Thor.  Really like him.  And I want to see Thor, so I would take anyone to see it with me!

“OK.  Maybe I will talk to her about movies then,” he says and goes back to his homework.

Successful dodging of topic!  Hooray!

Later in the evening, as we are doing the bedtime ritual, I go to tuck String Bean in.

“Mom.  So how do I ask a girl on a date again?”

“Starting talking to her and then see where it goes,” I said, and, knowing full well The Captain was nearby, I added, “Maybe you should ask your dad because he is a guy also.”  Ha.

“Dad, how do I ask a girl out on a date?” he said.

The Captain appeared in the doorway looking completely baffled at the question, but without missing a beat, he replied, “You are too young to go on dates.  Now go to bed.”

String Bean looks at me and whispers, “See, Mom, this is why I asked you. Dad must not have had any dates in middle school.  He probably talked to girls about Legos.  Poor guy.”

They grow up too fast...

They grow up too fast…

“You Old Hag” and other not-so-nice sayings

I knew that I had a wild child when he told my dear grandmother, Charlotte, that she was “nice stupid.”

My youngest, Squishy, has a way with words.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

Here is Squishy at age 3. He is on the right with the not-a-smile expression. An expression of wild.

When he was just a little dude at the tender age of three, he vocalized his feelings.  He didn’t hold back; he just said whatever was on his mind.

My dear grandmother, who was in her early 80s at the time, was talking to him asking him what he wanted to eat (she always wanted to feed all of us – all of the time).  He kept telling her that he wanted ice cream, but she had trouble decifering the toddler-speak.

Finally, when she asked him for the third time, he stood up, put his hand on his hips, and blurted out, “Mam-ma, you’re stupid.”

Enter epic parenting fail.

She, however, didn’t miss a beat, and, this time, she perfectly understood what he just said to her. No decoding needed.

“Luke, Mam-ma is not stupid.  Mam-ma is nice,” she calmly retorted.

He turned as if he was about to leave the room, and then turned back, dropping his arms to his side and tilting his head ever so slightly.  The wheels were turning in that three-year-old brain of his.

And I was petrified by what he would say next.

“You’re right, Mam-ma.  You are not stupid… You are nice stupid,” and he did an about face and left the room.

This is when I knew I was in trouble.

At school, Squishy was (and is) the perfect angel.  It is just at home where his filter is lacking.

A few summers ago, when Squishy was six, he called my mother-in-law an old hag…in front of her bridge club.  (Yes, I am a proud parent – cough, cough).  Apparently he was “just kidding” and “only wanted some snacks.”  When she asked where he learned that phrase, he said “my mom.” I don’t recall ever in my life uttering the words “you old hag,” but in his mind, it was a free pass out of trouble.

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

How can anyone be mad at this face? Or not laugh at this crazy expression?

More recently, he has been caught saying “shut your pie hole.”  Now I do know where this reference came from.  It is from the movie “The Sandlot” and The Captain was very excited the dudes liked the film.  Very excited, indeed, especially when Squishy not-so-subtly said this to my mother-in-law.

I found out about this gem of a phrase when I walked in on my mother-in-law discussing my “poor parenting choices” with a friend of hers.  She went on to tell the friend, “and she just laughs at what he says instead of disciplines him.”  Later I found that, once again, he blamed me for teaching him the phrase.  Hmmm.  Is there a trend going on?

When I addressed the behavior, he justified it by saying, “She wouldn’t stop talking, Mom.”

Touche, Squishy, touche.

Autumn and the Zombie Archives

In Ohio, the autumn weather can be tricky.  Usually there are some pretty days of glorious color followed by overcast and drizzly days.  This past weekend, we were lucky enough to have one of those gorgeous fall days when I want to spin on a hilltop singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”  Wait, that is another fantasy.  I digress.  Of course, there are only a few pretty days left on the calendar, and this was one of them.

With a beautiful weekend day comes the classic question: “Mom, can we go outside and play?”

Of course, my answer is, “Yes, please, do, go, bye!”

On Saturday, the sun was shining, and I received the question I knew was first thing on their minds when they woke up that morning.

“Mom,” said Squishy, “It is nice outside! Can we go outside and play?”

“Of course you can,” I said, looking up from the waffles I was making. (Actually, Eggo made them. I put them in the toaster. For me, this is domestic bliss.)

“Well, when can we go? We have some business in the woods to take care of,” he said sounding like he was about to audition for The Sopranos.

“What ‘business’ do you have in the woods?” I asked.

“Oh, Mom, all you need to know is that it is for your protection. OK?”

“What, in fact, are you protecting me from?” I questioned him as I sprinkled cinnamon on the waffles (see, I am a domestic diva!)

Zombies are the thing.

Zombies are the thing.

“We are saving the neighborhood from the upcoming zombie attack,” he said with sheer seriousness.

I turned to him in horror thinking maybe he had seen an episode of The Walking Dead or something?!

“What would make you believe there is an upcoming zombie attack,” I asked, praying he didn’t access my Netflix account on the iPad (darn you, zombie shows that pull me in, darn you!)

“Mom, it is just a matter of time when someone makes a vaccine that will take out the human race and turn everyone into a zombie.  Seriously, you should know this. You are a teacher.  Gosh,” he stated as he rolled his eyes, disgusted with me.

Now I am wondering if he was scoping out my Kindle and came across my latest read, The Passage.  Or maybe I Am Legend.  Was there some zombie thing on TBS or something?  Darn you, TBS, darn you!

“I highly doubt that will happen, Squishy, but if it does…”

“If it does, Mom, you will probably make us have the shot at the doctors, and you really won’t be prepared when we turn into zombies. So, we must prepare now,” he said interrupting me.

What the heck is he watching on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel?

“OK,” I said, knowing full well he was getting antsy to get outside and save the world.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

Taking zombie precautions one street at a time.

After a while, I went outside to check on the progress of thwarting the impending zombie apocalypse.  I found Nerf guns, sticks and a mountain of leaves ready to protect the innocent.  I also found the neighborhood posse in the middle of the street strategic planning their next move.

“What are you all working on?” I said to the group of defenders.

“Mom, I already told you. We are making sure the neighborhood is safe,” Squishy answered.  The rest of the posse nodded enthusiastically.

“Well, in that case,” I said, “carry on.”

And they did.

So, a message to all zombies: Beware, zombies, beware of our street.  We have protection in the form of elementary students.  Scary, right?

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

For Halloween we had a zombie and a werewolf.

The Birds, the Bees and Puppies

You never know when you may have to explain the birds and the bees to your children.

I did not think this would come into play at their tender ages of 11 and eight, but thanks to my mother-in-law, I had the horror opportunity to tell them a little bit about how babies are made.

One Tuesday night as I was in the middle of teaching a tap class, I received a frantic voice mail from my mother-in-law, Salt.

It went a little like this:  “Allison, hey. We have a problem here. The dogs are stuck together and I don’t know what to do! They have been stuck for over 20 minutes and I can’t get a hold of anyone.  You must call me back as soon as you get this because I just don’t know what to do!”

Reluctantly I returned the call.

“Hi there.  I only have a minute because I am in between classes,” I said.

“Chewie and Maisy got stuck together!  It has been over 30 minutes!  I didn’t know what to do!” she wailed.

“Are they still stuck together?” I asked in a calm voice so I could try and assess the situation.

“No. Finally they got themselves unstuck.  I called the vet because I couldn’t get anyone on the phone,” she exclaimed, her voice revealing how stressful it had been for her. “And the boys wanted to watch it the entire time!  I had to close the curtains!”

After hanging up with her and finishing teaching my dance classes, I ran my dudes to the store.

It would be an understatement to say there were a few questions that were asked.

“Mom, why were the dogs stuck together?”

“Mom, grandma said that Chewie’s penis had to shrink before they could be unstuck.  Why?”

“Mom, what does amorous mean?”

“Mom, why did grandma tell the vet the dogs were ‘getting it on’?  What does ‘getting it on’ mean and where were they getting it on to?”

“Mom, did you know that Chewie looked like he was doing the Harlem Shake on Maisy’s back?”

“Mom, Grandma kept trying to close the curtains so we couldn’t see the dogs. Why was she doing that?”

and the biggest question of all:

“Mom, is that how people make babies?”

OMG.

By this time, I am standing in front of the cashier at Kohl’s.  She is staring at me like I have lost my marbles (which, at that second, I wished was true).  Both boys were staring at me, too, waiting for answers.

Surely this should have been the exact moment I could’ve said, “Ask your father.”  But, alas, I am not that lucky.

I started lightly.  “Amorous means really, really lovey.”  Yes, I took the easiest question first.  Can you blame me?

Next answer: “Chewie probably doesn’t know the Harlem Shake,” but then I asked the stupidest question, “How exactly did this start?

Both dudes jumped at the chance to answer, speaking over each other.  The cashier looked at me like I had horns.

“Well, you see Mom, Chewie came inside and started following Maisy around. I mean, literally, (he uses this word a lot – he is 8) Chewie would not leave her alone,” Squishy chimed in.

“Yeah, and then he started to jump on her and stuff,” said 11-year-old String Bean with a wide-eyed grin, “And he wouldn’t stop, don’t be mad if I say this next part, Mom, OK?  Grandma said it wasn’t a bad word.”

“Ummm, OK, I guess?!” Fear bubbled up inside of me.

“Chewie started humping her.  That is what Grandma called it,” he said, looking at me to gauge my reaction.

Squishy interjects, “Yeah, Mom, it was crazy! It looked like this,” as he begins a vivid demonstration even Elvis would not have attempted on national TV.

“OK. You can stop showing me now,” I said as I pushed them out of Kohl’s.

“And Grandma said Maisy was a hussy.  What exactly is a hussy, Mom?  I’ve never heard of that word before.”

And so it goes.

As I tucked the dudes into bed that night, they were still buzzing about the events of the evening. They were hoping puppies would arrive soon (I did have to break down and explain how puppies are made), and they were bouncing off of the walls about the entire situation.

Squishy did have an ace up his sleeve.  “Mom, look at this!” he said, shoving his iPod in my face, “Here they are stuck together!”

Photographic proof of the event taken by an eight-year-old.  Amorous, indeed.

Stuck together.

Stuck together.

Hey, Santa!

Yes, you, Santa, the man in red with the belly bursting out of your suit, the laughter that is practically trademarked and the rosy cheeks from too much exertion after eating junk food.  You.  I have a bone to pick with you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

You, Santa, yeah you.

Look, jolly dude, I am getting tired of not being on your payroll.  You owe me big time.  I am so busy doing things for you, and I am getting sick of not getting any of the accolades.

You need to cough up some dough for this job I am doing for you, Santa.

Let me start with the search for the perfect gifts that I can’t even put my name on.  Yeah, I spent three hours hunting down an obscure Lego set, yet you get the smiles and the thanks.  Really?  Is this fair, Santa baby?  I don’t think so.  And now, both of my dudes want iPods.  These are not cheap, Kris Kringle, and, yet, your name will go on them.  That stinks, bearded man, it really does.  Will you set them up for the dudes?  No?  Oh, so add this to the list of another one of my grievances.

And then there is the Advent calendar.  Each night (or early in the morning when I wake up startled by the fact that I forgot the night before), I run and put little gifts in the Advent calendar.  Gifts that are “supposedly” from one of your minions.  Yeah, the elf that sneaks into our house, i.e. me, is getting ticked, Santa.  So are the dogs.  Why, you ask?  Because they get blamed when there is nothing left in the calendar.  Poor dogs, Santa.  Poor, poor dogs.  They sit, hearing the blame, and tuck their tales between their legs.  Is that fair, Kringle?  Shouldn’t you be sending a reliable elf each night that doesn’t have to swear through piles of essays to grade?  Yes, Santa, you should.  And you owe my sweet, innocent dogs.  Big time.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

Creepy Elf. Sneaking into the manger. The horror.

And then the creepy Elf on the Shelf.  Do you know where he was one of the mornings?  Why he was sitting next to Mary and Joseph in our manger scene.  He actually moved Mary and the baby Jesus in order to fit in there.  Creepy?  Heck yes, Santa.  He also has these spooky, hollow eyes – I almost feel like he is following me (and even undressing me) with them.  It is a strange feeling, Santa, and one you both should be aware of.  The last thing that looked at me like that, the chocolate Easter bunny, met an untimely demise.  IMG_2889 The dogs are mad at him, too, because they were also blamed for his failure to relocate one evening. I am sure they would like to have him as a chew toy, Kringle, so you need to tell the Elf, who the dudes named Henry, to keep himself out of the dog’s reach.  And stay away from my martini glasses.  Seriously, Papa Noel, those are not for children.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

It is diet time, Santa. Yeah, you heard me.

Oh, and Santa?  I just want you to know that I am leaving you carrots and celery this year.  They are for you so don’t try and pass them off to the reindeer.  Maybe it is time you join Cookie Monster in demonstrating a healthy lifestyle.  You need to be careful, Santa dear.  Plus, I have discontinued the candy tradition in the Advent calendar.  Why, you ask?  Have you ever witnessed an eight-year-old who has candy for breakfast?  No?  It is not pretty, St. Nick, but you wouldn’t know anything about that because you haven’t been there to talk a small child down from swinging on the chandelier.

Checking my list.  Twice.

Checking my list. Twice.

Your present this year is a lump of coal.  You are on my naughty list, Santa dude, yes indeed.  You may make it to my good list if, and only if, you can turn that coal into a diamond for me next year.

I need to go, Santa, I am bidding on eBay for a present that is completely sold out at Toys-R-Us.  You owe me.  Big time.  Ho, ho, ho.

Chasing Harry Potter (Legos)

My boys love Legos.  They LOVE them.  I can’t begin to describe this love, but it is very intense in their 11 and 8-year-old minds.  Legos are all over my finished basement.  I am not exaggerating this.  They are EVERYWHERE.  Seriously, I even found one on top of the toilet.  It was Yoda.  He was using the force to change the toilet paper roll (I wish!)

Have you ever stepped on a Lego?  It hurts more than a staple gun.  It is sheer pain, and, chances are, if you step on one, during your hopping and jumping and screaming, you will step on another.  Legos can cause serious injury.  You have been warned.

But, back to Lego Loves.  It is exciting when there are new Lego sets released. In fact, it is a feeding frenzy.  There are phrases such as, “Mom, I neeeeeeed this Lego set,” and, “I must have it today.  Can we go to Toys-R-Us?”  Pathetically, I get in on the action by saying things like, “Oh, yeah, that one is really cool,” and “Is Princess Leia included in that set? If so, we will have to get it!”

The Captain (my husband) gets frustrated with the Lego obsession.  His usual statements are, “Do we really need yet another Star Wars Lego set?” and, “Do we really even know what sets we have down there?”  (Side note:  Notice the “we” in his questions.  The “we” is not only directed at the dudes.  Oh, no.  Who has two thumbs and knows the “we” includes her?  Yeah, this girl.)

The Captain felt this way for a long time.  Until last November when Lego introduced the Harry Potter Hogwarts castle.

This set was the mecca of Lego wonderment.  It looked huge on the internet, and all of us (and I mean all) imagined ourselves in Hogwarts fighting along side of Harry defeating Valdomort.

It had to be ours.

And then, magic happened.  A coupon appeared in my inbox from the toy giant of all toy giants.  Thirty percent off all Legos (except Star Wars Legos, of course).  This was it! After all, who needed the Star Wars Legos when we could be at Hogwarts.  The magic, the mystery, the castle would be ours!  All ours!

So, I ventured to the palace of toys, grabbed the iconic castle and waltzed up to the register.  I presented my coupon and my rewards card (seriously, ten bucks off a later purchase – which would most likely be a Star Wars Lego set – was a supero dealio) and opened my wallet.

Panic.  No wallet was in my purse.  I proceeded to dump it out on the counter in front of the cashier.  Heat was rising in my face as I scrambled to remember where my wallet was.  Bells went off as I realized it was in another purse, and one I had carried for only a pathetic two hours that past weekend.

“Will you take a check?” I asked the cashier while he stared at the feminine hygiene products I was trying to sweep back into my purse.

“Yes, of course, with a driver’s license,” he said, stunned by the massive amount of lipstick, store receipts and gum wrappers that were plopped on the scanner.

“Well, that would be in my wallet, you see, which is in my other purse.  At home.  Thirty miles away,” I added the last bit more for effect.

“Sorry, m’am.  Can’t take a check without a license,” he said as he pulled the glorious castle from the bag.

“Stop!  Put that back!  I have a card in case of emergency – hang on and let me get it!”  Not only did he stop, but now the rest of the store is staring at the frantic woman who is pointing viciously at the cashier with the flashlight on her key chain.

The hallelujah choir began singing.  Birds chirped in the distance.  And a peaceful ocean breeze passed over me as I brought out the shiny blue card.

“Will this work?” I said, smiling like the Mad Hatter.

“Ah, sure,” said the cashier contemplating whether to finish the sale or have me committed.

As I walked out with the bag, glowing in my purchase, I shuddered when remembered the words once spoken to me by The Captain:

“Only use the emergency card in extreme emergencies.”

I stood there, keys in hand, glorious Lego castle encased in the brightly colored bag and paused for a moment thinking to myself: Does this qualify as an emergency?

Ode to the magic of Harry Potter.

It didn’t take me long to load the bag in my car and drive home with it.

I apologized to The Captain, but it wasn’t necessary.  Once he saw the amazing treasure, he, too, was wonder struck by its awesomeness.

Magical times.  Magical times indeed.

The Bet

My husband, The Captain, and I had a bet.  I lost.

I must preface this by saying I knew I was going to lose.  I agreed to the bet on the undeniable fact that I was going to lose.  Heck, I actually wanted to lose.  But I made the bet anyway.

It was: whoever has the most shoes must buy a Keurig.

Going into this, I was aware of my not-so-small obsession collection of shoes.  I am not a shoe crazed maniac or anything (unless I am in DSW with a time limit), but I like shoes.  They always fit.  They always look good.  They are amazing.

Even this mug needs a Keurig.

But, I digress.  I wanted a Keurig.  Badly.  Since our visit to my dad’s home in Houston this past spring, the Keurig was on my mind.  It was so easy to use, and there are oh-so-many flavors to pick from.  It was like a home Starbucks where pajamas and bed-head hair were welcomed with open arms and good coffee creamer.  The Keurig was Heaven in a coffee maker.  I had to have one.

Summer approached quickly, and I couldn’t justify to The Captain why I needed to drop some cash on the Keurig.  Here is a sample of one of our little “discussions” on the topic:

“I really want a Keurig.”

“We have a coffee maker.  We don’t need a Keurig.  Plus, we are going on some vacations this summer,” he said.

“I really want a Keurig.”

“We don’t need a Keurig.  Stop it with the Keurig already.  Geez,” he stated, adding a classic eye roll for effect.

“I really, really want a Keurig.”  By this time, The Captain has left the building (or room if I must get technical).

So, I put on my thinking cap.  “I am going to get that Keurig if it is the last thing I do before the school year ends.”  And then I laughed.  Loud enough to sound like a complete maniac.  Game on, Captain, game on.

A few weeks later, after setting around hints like leaving the computer on pages advertising the Keurig and posting Keurig sale flyers on the family bulletin board, I came up with the ultimate plan.  “I’ll get you, my Keurig, and your little K-cups, too!”

The Captain’s shoes before the bet.

The Captain was standing in the kitchen (he really likes it there, but that is another post for another day), and I began tossing jibes at him.

“You know, for a guy, you really have a massive amount of shoes.”

“No I don’t.  You have tons of shoes,” he said as he began concentrating on loading the dishwasher perfectly.

“I think you have more shoes than I do.  Seriously.  When was the last time you counted your shoes?”

“What are you getting at?  I don’t have more shoes than you do.  No one but your mother has more shoes than you do,”  he said.

“I think you do.  Let’s bet on it,” I stated innocently as my plan was unfolding brilliantly!

“OK.  What do we win if we have the fewest shoes?” he asked.  Dang, I thought, this was way too easy.

“The loser buys a Keurig,” I replied trying to stop my pinkie finger from touching my lip a la Dr. Evil.

“You’re on,” he said, “but there are some stipulations.”

Ugh.  I thought. He is on to me.

“OK.  Spill,” I said, waiting for my plan to evaporate.

“All shoes count.  Even those we don’t wear, OK?” he said, looking to me as if I was going to challenge his little rules.

“Perfect,” I said with a grin spread from cheek to cheek knowing full well the outcome of this bet.

And, as I said, I lost.  My final shoe count was 126 (not including the shoes my mother had dropped off that were hiding in the trunk of my car).  His was 62, although I seem to recall that his was more like 82, but I won’t get technical today.

Home, sweet Keurig.

Surprisingly enough, we are both very much enjoying the Keurig.  My plan worked amazingly well.  Next time, I am going to go for something bigger.  A new TV perhaps.  Wahhahahaha!