Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Uncle Sam: I don't appreciate your sense of humor

Dear Uncle Sam:

As the snow storm of the season locked me in my house with Sunshine and the kids, I decided to use my time in a positive way. Sooo.... instead of spending $400 getting my taxes done, I claimed the dinner table and went at it.

I am a responsible woman, Uncle. I believe in contributing to society. I believe in helping others and I believe in paying my share of your care for me. My children go to public school, so I pay. My husband is on unemployment, so I don't mind paying. The snow plow drove by this morning, so I was happy to see my money at work. So WHAT IS UP WITH THE 100 INSTRUCTION BOOKLET TO FILL OUT A 2 PAGE DOCUMENT????? AND EVERY LINE REFERS YOU TO ANOTHER BOOKLET OF INFORMATION AND ANOTHER 2 PAGE DOCUMENT???

Now, dearest Uncle, I am a VERY smart woman. I have a bachelor's degree, I have a Master's degree, I read books like they are magazines, I watch the Discovery channel (although I have to admit, not much lately since we got Netflix), I can squeeze a penny like no other and I balance a budget the way YOU can't. After 5 hours last night, I completed my first draft. Today, I spent 3 additional hours fixing the mistakes that I made after my brain oozed out of my head... and to make things worse, every mistake I fixed for you, impacted my state return - another nightmare conceived while a demon was strolling through Hades, torturing kittens and still found himself bored.

Uncle, I don't mind paying you, but it doesn't make a lot of sense that I have to contract an agency to be able to figure out our returns.

Thanks for listening, Uncle.

-Loving Wife, Working Mom

P.S. By the way, while you are at it, was up with your nephew State Income Tax charging me $45 to e-file my federal and state return? No thanks. I have mailed my return with two 44cents stamps. The accountants didn't get my money this year, but the Postal Service did.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I am 42% WHAT?

There is no better way to start your year than getting your health assessed by the Associate Health team at work. In order to have our health insurance you must submit yourself to blood work analysis and biometric measurements to see how healthy you are. The point is that the better you are, the more bonus money gets transferred into your HSA account. This is not a volunteer program if you want the insurance. So Sunshine and I sent the kids to school and off we went.

I wore my lightest winter clothes to work (ahem, I wore a heavy coat and summer clothes underneath) and went to the appointment, where I was met by two EXTREMELY fit nurses. I had already done my blood work at the lab and was not very concerned about my Lipid panel. My cholesterol has always been good. My blood pressure: beautiful. Then, Goddess #1 pulls out a tape measure… I immediately tell her what I use to tell the OB nurse that weighed me during my pregnancies: “I don’t care for the numbers. Just take it and write it down, quietly.” She laughed. I grimaced.

Goddess #2 then asked me to take off my shoes and stockings and step on a scale that had metal plates on the top. After entering my age and height, she offered me to hold some metal instruments in each one of my hands. I had the suspicion that I was going to get fried, which I kind of did. An electric current was sent through my body to measure the composition of my body. Turns out, that electricity can easily flow through fat, but cannot travel as well through muscle. As I stood there waiting for the bolt of lightning, the machine buzzed and a piece of paper came out, like a tongue, mocking me.

Goddess #2 took me aside to explain the numbers to me. I told her it wasn’t necessary. She told me that the talk was a requirement. So I sighed and sat. Here is how it went:

Goddess#2: So here it says that your BMI is 29, that’s overweight; 30 would be considered obese.

LWWM: So what your saying is that I am borderline OBESE?

G#2: No, no! I can tell by looking at you that you are not obese. The machine does the calculation based on weight and height, not where the weight comes from and since you have been running for 2 months, this includes muscle weight.

LWWM: OK, so then what are these numbers?

G#2: Well, your total fat % in your body should not be higher than 31% and yours is 42.

LWWM: OH. MY. GOD. Are you telling me that I am 42% FAT????

G#2: Well… yeees… BUT, you have more muscle weight than fat weight and that is good.


G2#: Calm down… It’s not that bad. There is room for improvement. Just lose the 20 pounds that you want to lose and you should be within the range. As long as your muscle mass is heavier than the fat weight, you are ok.

(You know that all I heard was: You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat. You’re 42% fat.)


G#2: But look, your legs are REALLY strong! The running is already paying off! Your muscle mass in your legs is very good. Actually your numbers are better than mine.

Some other things were said, but I wasn’t paying attention anymore….

At the end of the appointment, I met back with Sunshine. He had his paper in his hand. “Let me see, honey”, I asked. “I don’t want to share”, he responded. Which only means: “My numbers are good and I am afraid of the wrath that this might bring upon my house and descendents.” So I smiled and took the paper from him..

And so they were. He had 32% fat… only 1% above the desired goal. He stepped back from me: “You’re going to punch me in the arm, aren’t you?”

I can’t deny it, I was proud of him. He is taking care of himself… but for a second, I did contemplate my very fit leg, kicking his extremely fit ass.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unemployment sucks.

So my super-techie husband, Sunshine, who started to work while he was in his early teens has now been unemployed for 4 months. I started a second job while at it and had to drop it because I was on-call so much that when my cell phone rang, my Mini-me (my 4 year old son) would immediately come and give me a kiss goodbye… before I even answered it. I was so tired that something had to give and I refuse to give the kids away (for now at least) so the second job it was.

Sunshine has been trying to be a trooper about this. At first I could tell that he had no idea what to do with himself. What to do when you have worked for 25 years and all of a sudden you don’t have a job? I whipped out the Honey-do list and he completed it in a week. In order to make him feel like he contributes to the family, I asked him to take on my chores… He now cooks, cleans, does the laundry and all the “fun” stuff. Although it’s nice to come home to a hot meal and bathed children every day (some of my girlfriends SWEAR I have it made), I still feel cheated. Don’t get me wrong, I was never the type to fight over scrubbing around the toilet in a house full of men, but there seems to be a little piece that it’s missing for me.

Sunshine is now planning to leave town indefinitely to find work in an area more technical than the Blue Ridge Mountains. He is originally from Chicago so he is returning there. In preparation for his trip we have now installed video-chatting software in our laptops. The kids will need to see their dad and I’ll need to be able to see in his eyes that he misses me.

I have no idea how I am going to take care of all this. To be honest, I am scared to death. I try to tell myself that there are millions of single moms out there who do this every day, but it still makes me nervous.

Right now, I am patting myself on the back for all the years of making sure that our kids are being raised as independent as they can be. After all, if all else fails, Skywalker (our 9-year old) can make great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Mini-me will eat ANYTHING. Too bad I hate peanut butter.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I have to run how far???

Ok, so late last year I started thinking on my health, how to improve it and how to send a good example for the kids. So… in a moment of sheer madness, I decided not to make a resolution or diet (those are WAY to easy to break) , but to create a goal. I decided that I was going to run a 10K by the end of the year. And what better way to train for a 10K than a work-sponsored 5K in February? What was not to love? They have a start up program to train people to be ready in 6 weeks, plus there is always the added pressure of having your bosses see you attempt this race… especially since they run miles every day and are vegetarians… yep, I work for healthy people…

In order to get ready, I first had to find my treadmill. There were rumors of a sighting somewhere in our home. As far as I was concerned, the rumor included a Yeti exercising there with a Leprechaun coaching him. But, lo and behold, we found the treadmill and placed it somewhere where I could easily use it.

The next step was to find the right encouragement. My husband thinks I look hot no matter how much I weigh or how I look, so that was out of the question. The pressure of your coworkers see you fail can only take you so far, so I did the only thing a crazy person who just ate too much over the holidays can do: I told my brothers.

Here’s the deal. Growing up, my brothers were swimmers. We are not talking occasional splashers, we are talking International-Competitive-one-of-them-went-to-the-Olympics kind of swimmers. I wasn’t. Now, my older brother (the MD) is a running man and my younger brother (the one that gets confused with Ricky Martin) is a tri-athlete. It is amazing that I have ANY type of self-worth.

Anyhow, as any sister in the world knows, once you tell your brothers you are going to do something, let it be run a 5K or eat a worm, you HAVE to do it. So I have started to train.

Treadmill dusted off, I began training in December – waaay ahead of the training schedule. In a couple of weeks I began to feel good about my regimen. Then, my younger brother suggested that I run on the street, so I could get a feel for it. I was running 45 minutes on the treadmill. This would be easy!

I discovered in less than a block, that the Earth is NOT flat. What looked to me like a perfect piece of street, level yard (very rare in the Blue Ridge Mountains), had become an uphill piece of Purgatory. Plus, the Earth didn’t move under my feet, I had to move on top of it – and with no shock-absorbing capacity! GASP! Fifteen minutes later, I was dragging myself across my front door. My kids, who had been cheering me on when I left, where a little concerned and frankly scared of this woman laying on the foyer who couldn’t move her foot out of the way so they could close the door (it was 30 degrees outside). I have been working on it. Now, I can do about 25 minutes of uphill running before my shins and calves decide that the workout is OVER.

The race is at the end of February… Tick, Tock… and to make it more special, Ricky Martin brother has decided to enter it with me…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The beginning...

So I am starting this blog… There are several reasons why someone like me would even attempt to do something as self-serving as a blog. First, I have discovered that when things get a little slow at work, typing makes me look busy, so people tend to leave me alone for 5 minutes if I look busy enough. Second, there are enough issues out there that I want to share with people. I have learned that no matter what you are going through in life, at least 5,000 people have gone through it before but just don’t talk about it either. I talk to myself a lot – sometimes even out loud, which can be disturbing to others. I have found that if I just move to the vicinity of my husband, he has no choice but to pretend that he is listening and I can just talk, and it’s not too bad. The problem seems that he has taken an interest in what I am talking about lately, so I have to watch what I say. Sometimes a girl needs to talk to get things off her mind, like a dumping ground, not for anyone else to make it into a conversation. (“Honey, if I wanted to discuss how I feel, I would call one of my friends…”) Lastly, people in Facebook know who I am. I can’t say all I want to say without risking losing a couple of friendships… I have an image to maintain, you know???