Friday, February 27, 2015

Running

I recently saw this picture come up on my Facebook feed and, like I imagine most runners would do, I found myself nodding my head in wholehearted agreement.

I run a lot, but I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Once, when I picked my boys up from the babysitter, who had watched them for an hour so I could go crank out 6 miles, she said to me, “I think it’s so awesome that you like running as much as you do.”

I had been bending over to pick up my sons’ bag, and I remember I stopped.  Straightened.  Looked at her, my brow furrowed in thought. “Hm.  Except I don’t really think that I like it.”

I can picture her face in my head right now, and the statement that would’ve come along with it had she been assholey enough to actually voice it:  Then why do you leave your kids with me at least twice a week so that you can go do it, you fcking dumbass?  You’re only paying me $5 each time, and I have a lot of other shit I could be doing…

I love the way it feels when I’m finished running, and when I was forced to take a break from it during my pregnancy with my second son because of an overly cautious doctor paired with complications from previous pregnancies, I just about went crazy.  I did get to do the stair stepper, but it just wasn’t the same. Especially when the gym’s manager met me at the front desk as I was swiping my membership card three days before my 2-weeks-overdue son was born.

“Shay,” he said.

I raised my eyebrows.  I knew what he was getting at, and I wasn’t having it.

Seriously, Shay?” he tried again.

I waited.

“Shay, there is not one person in this gym who knows how to deliver a baby—"

“I personally know of several doctors who work out here,” I interjected.

“Shay,” he said warily.

I held up my finger and motioned for him to come a bit closer.  He leaned towards me, and I conspiratorially hiked up my shorts a few inches so that the ruffled edge of the Depends that I had put on just before coming to the gym stuck out.

“I wore Depends,” I whispered. “So if my water breaks, you won’t have to clean it up.”

He jumped back. “DAMMIT, Shay!” he exclaimed.  “ONE MORE DAY. Seriously, this is the last day.  If you show up tomorrow, I will throw you out.”

“Whatever,” I replied, shooting him a glare over my shoulder as I headed to what had become my favorite stair stepper.

I do other workouts besides running. I am addicted to home workout DVD’s the rest of the days of the week. But if I don’t get my twice-weekly runs in, I’m a raging bitch.

At least that’s how my husband put it one time.  We were at my in-laws’ house for the weekend, and we were busy.  There was hardly any time for a jaunt on the gravel roads just outside their house—even though you only have to open their front door to lay eyes upon pretty much the best flat running trail in the world.  It was about 8 in the morning, and I’m not sure what I was doing, but whatever it was, I was doing it with a nasty grimace on my face.

“Holy shit,” my husband said, taking a sip of his coffee after observing me for a few seconds.  “You are being a raging bitch. Please go take a run. I’ll watch the boys.”

“But we have all of this stuff to do to get ready for—"

“It’ll get done. Please.  Go run. Everyone that you encounter today will be the better for it.”

He was right. I ran 5 miles and came back shooting rainbows straight out of my ass—or however that saying goes.  There is a saying that goes something like that, right?

Anyway, I attribute the fact that I continue to run to two things: I’ve got a case of OCD that, although never diagnosed, is glaringly obvious to pretty much anyone who passes me in the street, watching as I double-check (If you do it 172 times, is it still called “double-checking”?) my purse to make sure I replaced my phone, debit card, and driver’s license (even though I hadn’t used it) when I paid for my cup of coffee at the corner Starbucks. 

I always say that the only thing my OCD is good for is my workouts:  I will most likely always be in shape because if I don’t get a workout in, my schedule is all thrown off and my day is unnecessarily upset.  You can say it however you like: Type A scheduler/planner or blistering case of OCD. Potayto, potahto.  In either case, a schedule (and in my particular case, including a workout) is necessary to avoid upsetting the smooth running of the day. 

And although I can—and always do—recover from that lopsided, things-aren’t-right feeling if I miss a workout because I have learned to manage those feelings, it still sucks a little bit.

I know I should seek counseling.  Or drugs.  But I’ve heard that you can’t drink when taking anti-anxiety meds, and we all have choices to make in life.  I choose beer.

The second reason I continue to run is MEDALS.

Finishers’ medals, to be precise.  I refuse to run a race unless they offer them, because let me tell you something about my running stride:  It ain’t gonna win me any medals for placing. At a pace of a somewhat respectable 10-minute mile or so during longer races, I consistently come in at smack dab in the middle of the pack.  But dammit, if I’m running 13.1 miles—yes, I want a medal. 

Just before I deleted my mother-in-law from my personal Facebook page, she made a comment about one of the half marathons I'd recently run.  She started out all sunny and cheerful.  “I noticed you ran another half marathon last weekend!” she chirped.

Pride blossomed in my heart; despite the finish-line pictures that I or my husband always put onto my Facebook page, my mother-in-law had never offered a word of encouragement or a congratulations about my running.

“I did!” I said, my face breaking into a huge smile.  I opened my arms to receive the congratulatory hug that I was sure was coming.

But then I saw her wrinkle her nose in distaste for what she considers a silly habit. “I saw on your pictures that you got a medal, but don’t they give everyone medals for just doing the race?  So it wasn’t like you really accomplished anything,” she snapped.

I happened to catch my husband’s eye, and I could tell he was working really hard to stifle his laughter.  Almost a little too hard—as if that dick wanted to make sure I noticed.  In any case, it made it hard for me to stifle my own giggles at my curmudgeonly mother-in-law.  

Goddammit.

Whatever the case, I keep running, and I keep signing up for races.

At the starting line of my 3rd half marathon, I heard some women talking about the course.

“Sarah told me she ran this one last year,” one said, “and that it was really hilly.”

“Yeah,” the other agreed.  “Kate told me that the first 8 miles were all hills.”

I had rolled my eyes behind them.  Whatever, I thought to myself.  People are always so dramatic about how hard a course is.

And were there hills?

Nah. Not at all.

There were motherfcking CLIFFS.  Like, we were running on streets that had been carved out of the natural landscape—which happened to be quite mountainous, I noticed, since I had precisely 2 hours and 15 minutes to study it.

At one point during the race, I looked around me, fervently hoping for a downward slope. I looked to the left, to the right, in front of me, behind me…all fcking 4 sides of me contained hills.

How is that even possible?  I thought in between the thoughts I was having about how I was pretty sure I was going to pass out. Isn’t there some law in Physics about what comes up must go down or some shit?

At the finish line, I saw my husband and two young boys cheering me on.  I wanted to lift my arm in a wave, but it wouldn’t work.  When I crossed, they met me with open arms, but I was honestly scared I was going to fall down on my shaky legs.  I held up a finger—the only motion I could manage—to signal them to wait just a second for their hugs that I always love to receive.

My husband’s shoulders drooped.  “I thought you’d be happy to see us,” he said.

And I was. I really was.  But all I could manage to reply was this:  “I’m sorry.  It’s just that I’m right in the middle of truly believing I’m about to die.”

But really, I don’t think half marathons are that hard.  It was just that particular one, which I was really glad hadn’t been my first because otherwise I might have been scared off of them for life.

Instead, I just signed up for my 6th, which I will run this weekend.  A friend of mine sent me the link, and that was all she wrote, peeps, because you know what?

The finisher’s medal is FANTASTIC.

My husband and boys are going with me; I’m going to make sure I get a picture of all of us at the finish line petting my medal so that I can frame it and give it to my mother-in-law for her birthday.

It's coming up.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Huh?

My weather guys have been entertaining the hell out of me lately.  Here’s the one I heard a couple of days ago:

“For your weather this weekend…well, it’s gonna be a mixed bag.  I’d just advise you to plan for the best and hope for the worst—wait, no.  Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  Is that how the saying goes?  Anyway, it’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure.”

What the fck?  That’s the weather report?  What the hell does that even mean?


The possibilities are endless.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Trashy Shorts: I'm Smart

I was cleaning out my purse over the weekend and found this receipt.

Folks, I don't often get an overnight babysitter (Thanks, Dad!) and go out for Valentine's Day drinks with my husband and three other couples, but when I do...and when it's my turn to buy a round...my math is stellar.

Although I've never been good at math, I'm going to go ahead and say that it was the two margaritas (on the rocks, extra salt) that I'd had prior to this contributing to my problems with addition.

Oh, and the fact that it was Friday the 13th.  Everything's always supposed to be off that day, right?

On another note, the grand total of $20.75 showed on the receipt above was for a pitcher of Fat Tire for the guys and four mixed drinks for the girls.  I do believe the hubs and I have found our new favorite bar.  

Dad, if you're reading this, can I go ahead and reserve you for the next 178 Friday nights?

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trashy Shorts: These Little Stubbies Are Looking Good Tonight

I am so in love with my new fingernail polish.

I keep doing things like drinking out of coffee mugs that complement it and then twisting the mugs this way and that so I can get a better look at the shiny blue, or pretend-gasping at myself in the mirror just so that I can admire my nails as I cover my mouth with my hand in fake surprise.

Here’s a picture of the color, but let’s all not make fun of my little stubby thumb.  I can’t help it I have short sausage fingers even though I’m 6’ tall.


Once, in high school, I was driving a friend home from track practice when I noticed him watching my hands on the steering wheel intently.

He opened his mouth to talk, and I was sure that a compliment on my driving prowess was forthcoming.  We were only 16 years old, after all, and that kind of talk was all the rage.  Instead, though, I heard this:

“Did your mom drink while she was pregnant with you?”

I furrowed my brow in thought, then took my eyes off of the road for a second to turn toward him.  “Yeah,” I said, "I think so.  Why?”

He looked momentarily taken aback, but he quickly recovered.  “I just figured maybe that’s what happened to your fingers.”

I shrugged.  “Probably so.”

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Isn't There a Book About Loving Your Little A-holes?

Last night, I was cuddling with my 3-year-old on the couch when he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, you're not pretty."

Don't worry; I fixed him right up with a time-out to think about what he'd said.

Him:  "How long do I have to sit here?"
Me:  "Until Mommy stops crying."

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Apron

Back in July, I held my younger son’s birthday party at my dad’s house.  I do it this way to make it easier on all of my sisters, brothers, and sister-in-law, who live in my hometown.  We usually do the birthday parties on a Friday night at around 6 PM and serve pizza and cake, which gives all of the grownup attendees an excuse to not make dinner after a long work week, and all of the kids plenty of time to play, eat cake, and open presents.

Upon arrival, I only had time to place the pizzas on the long card table set up in the driveway when my dad accosted me.

“Shay,” he said, eyes sparking with excitement.  “Come and look what I got you!”

I groaned.  I knew he hadn’t “gotten” me anything.

Several years ago, his addiction to bratwursts led to a few minor health issues, and he started eating better and taking daily 2-mile walks.  In the process, he picked up a new addiction (besides the healthy ones):  Grabbing gross, useless shit that he finds on the ground during his walks and passing it off to his kids as “gifts.”

Since I complained the most loudly about it, I, of course, am the only one who continues to receive these gifts. (Once, in college, he gave me a crusty lanyard that he expected me to wear to work at my retail job. “Why would I want to wear a damned nametag around my neck?” I remember asking him.  “Then people will know who to tell on on those days when I come into work drunk.”)

It’s a game to him; you’ve never seen a grown man giggle harder than when my dad hands me something like a dirty scrunchy from 1982 that he found on the side of the road.

This time, my dad dragged me to the kitchen, where he almost pissed his pants with laughter as he presented me with this:



“I found it on the ground by the bus stop,” he said proudly, shoving the apron toward me.

 “NO!” I shouted, swiping it away.  “I don’t want that lice-infested thing!”

My dad looked offended.  “I washed it!” he insisted, still trying to shove the apron into my tightly-fisted hands.  “In really hot water…” he finished, but his eyes got all shifty when he said that last bit, so I didn’t believe him.

“What the fck am I supposed to do with it?” I asked as I got into kickboxing defense stance (thank you, Billy Blanks and Jillian Michaels) and used jabs to continuously smack the apron away.  When my dad smirked at my new tactic, I said, “I could do this all day, bitch.”

“I’m not sure what you want to do with it,” my dad said, “but it goes perfectly with the Denny’s mug I stole you last Easter.  Maybe you could tie it on while drinking coffee?”

I rolled my eyes as I continued my jabs.

“Get a job at Denny’s?” my dad continued.

I punched at the apron again; he was seriously still trying to hand it to me around each jab.

“Use it for one of your and your husband’s sex games?”

“Alright, Dad, that’s ENOUGH!” I said.  “What the fck is wrong with you?” 

Changing tactics, I got out of fighting stance and looked Dad dead in the eye.  “I’m not taking that thing home.”

My dad blanched when he realized he might be stuck with the apron.  “Well, what the hell am I supposed to do with it?” he asked, suddenly horrified. “It probably has lice!”

“I don’t know,” I shrugged.  “Maybe wear it for one of your and Mom’s sex games.”

Now it was my dad’s turn to level his gaze on me.  “You know, Shay, you really ought to learn to accept gifts with more grace and dignity.”

I smirked.  “You ought to learn how to give gifts with more grace and dignity!  You know what?  My cat’s gifts are better—I’d rather wake up to a dead bird with bloody, matted feathers on my front porch than that stupid apron any day!”

My dad had the nerve to look hurt.  He even managed to squeeze up a few tears in his eyes.  “You know that when cats—and fathers—give you gifts like that, it means we love you, right?”

“Shut up,” I said.

The apron incident was all but forgotten as we spent the next couple of hours singing Happy Birthday and eating pizza and cake.  But then, when I got home that night, I opened my purse to grab my phone and—lo and behold—what did I see?

That godforsaken apron, all folded nicely and tucked between my wallet and the side of the purse.

Goddammit. 

I couldn’t help but post the picture and story on Facebook after I found the apron, and one of my cousins commented, “Check the pockets for cash!”

“From a Denny’s worker at a bus stop?” I asked back. 

Listen peeps, I wasn’t judging.  I worked at Wal-Mart for several years and the only reason I didn’t take a bus there was because I couldn’t afford that luxury.  So whoever it was that left the apron is doing better than I was back then.  And anyway, there were obviously much brighter things in his/her future as evidenced in the hasty way that apron was ripped off and discarded at the bus stop.

It wasn’t lost on me that the apron situation was all my own fault.  Back then, I carried a huge-ass purse so that I would have room for sippies, baby wipes (at that point, my kids hadn’t been in diapers for a while, but I swear I will never leave home without a pack of those multipurpose things again), extra underwear in case of toddler accidents, snacks and small toys for my kids, and a book for me. 

(I will also never leave home without a book—and doesn’t just saying that make me sound so smart?  But seriously, I love me a women’s fiction novel with awesome character development…and statements such as that are why my older, illiterate sister shouts “NERD!” every time I walk into a room.)

But back to the subject at hand.  I will finish by saying mark my words—the next time I go purse shopping, I will be getting a small handbag just to take to my dad’s house so that I’ll be able to more easily notice things like apron bulges before leaving.

Old man and his apron: 1
Me: 0

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Trashy Shorts: Called Out

I am lucky enough to have jobs that allow me, for the most part, to make my own schedule. This means that when my kids are off of school for snow days, although I might have to work a little bit from home, I still get to hang out with them.

Yesterday we had a coffee playdate with a friend of mine. As we sat chatting, I mentioned that I wasn't feeling well. 

"I'm all shaky and feeling weird," I said, taking a long sip of my coffee. "I think it's still that nasty bug from last week, hanging around in my system just to kick my ass again."

She acted for a moment as if she were pondering my words, but then she raised her eyebrows, arranging her features into an amused look. "Or maybe," she said, "you could try not so much coffee and a lot more sleep?"

Damn. Don't you hate being called out on shit?