I Think I’m Sick, But I Can’t Really Tell

I woke up on Saturday not feeling well. I had a really bad sore throat and was sniffly and sneezy. I was all, “Aleeexxxx, I’m siiiiiick!” but he countered with, “No, you have allergies.”

He spoke with such authority that I decided he was probably right.

See, with the exception of a few sneezes and sniffles last year, I’ve never had allergies, so I don’t have a lot of experience with them except to hear other people complain about them. I’ve always felt vaguely sorry for them, but, you know, it was never my problem, so I didn’t ask a lot of questions about headaches vs. ague-like symptoms and whatnot.

Suddenly, such questions are of huge interest  to me.

I have spent the last three days asking Alex if my symptoms are those of allergies or illness.

Me: “Is a headache a sign of allergies?”

Alex: “Sometimes.”

*hours later*

Me: “Is fatigue a sign of allergies?”

Alex: “Sometimes.”

*hours later*

Me: “Are body aches a sign of allergies?”

Alex: “Sometimes.”

*hours later*

Me: “Are chills a sign of allergies?”

Alex: “Sometimes.”

At some point I started to suspect that Alex was just trying to convince me that I wasn’t sick so I couldn’t complain.

Joke’s on him. I complained anyway.

So anyway, I’m either dying of the common cold or I’m dying of allergies. I feel a little bit as if you all could help me (a) with a confirmation that I have a cold so I know it will go away in a few days, or (b) tell me how to make my allergy symptoms stop.

Make this go away. Please.*

* If you could make Alex wrong as you do so, that would be even better.

Call Me Sleepy, the Most Boring of the Dwarves

It turns out that if you shovel copious amounts of caffeine into your system for a period of…decades, your sleep system and levels of tiredness get all sorts of fucked up. And, it seems, the only way to make it even wackier is to quit said caffeine totally cold turkey.

If, in the past decade or so, you have asked me, “How are you?” chances are that I said one of the following:

• “Tired.”

• “Good. But tired.”

• “Hanging in there. Tired. You know.”

• *bursts into tears and runs away*

My dominant fucking emotion is tired.

For a long time I have assumed that all the caffeine I drank made me paradoxically more tired because I am sure it interrupted my sleep cycle and kept me up too late and all sorts of vaguely bad things that I attribute to caffeine.

I also attribute some of my sleepiness to having to share a bed with a man who fucking insists on breathing no matter how often I kick him in the shins and tell him to shut up already. Seriously. All night, every night. Sometimes he snores too.

Since quitting caffeine, however—day nine! can I get a what what!—I spent several days waking up with eyes crawling with sleepiness and the desire to take at least one three-hour nap every day, often beginning at 8:38 am after my last kid gets on his bus.

(Is it a nap if you take it that early or does that count as a less slothful sounding “going back to bed”?)

Problematically, taking long naps during the day makes it harder to go to sleep as soon as my head hits the pillow at night. This is a problem because bedtime is like a race to go to sleep for Alex and me. Well, it’s kind of a one-sided race that Alex doesn’t know or care about. I always want to fall asleep first because that way breathing/snores have to wake me up to bother me instead of keeping me from falling asleep/making me want to murder Alex while he slumbers.

Alex has a job though, so Alex doesn’t nap, so Alex falls asleep almost immediately. Not to mention that lying in bed trying to force your mind to fall asleep will make your mind do almost anything except fall asleep.

I used to set my white noise machine on foghorn at top volume and put it right next to my head to drown out the sounds of quiet breathing. It’s a serious problem.

All of this is to say that I’m tired. And I am tired of being tired. And Alex is tired of being kicked in the shins.

Today is the first day in a long time that I not only haven’t taken a nap, but haven’t felt as if I’ll die without a nap. I sure do hope this is a sign of things to come because, frankly, if ditching caffeine doesn’t make me less tired, methamphetamine use is my next option. Fingers crossed!

Rogue Eyelashes

Several days ago, Jack told me that his eye hurt. He was rubbing at it and it was all red, from the rubbing or something else, I couldn’t tell. I looked in it and couldn’t see anything wrong, so I told him to blink a lot, he agreed, and we both moved on.

drawing of Jack's left eye

This is about what I saw. (And, yes, he is exactly that pale.)

Jack didn’t complain about his eye again until New Year’s Day, which was awesome, because everything is closed on New Year’s Day. Once again, neither Alex nor I could see anything in there and Jack said he was fine with waiting until the next day when doctors were open so we could check it out.

Then, the next day (last Thursday), I forgot about it until 1 pm when the nurse at his school called to tell me that he was in her office, complaining about eye pain. After agreeing that it didn’t look like pinkeye (no discharge or fever), she sent him back to class after I asked her to tell him that I was making him an eye doctor appointment.

True to my word—and to avoid losing my Decent Parent card—I took him to the eye doctor on Friday. As I filled out paperwork, Jack sat down next to a gentleman who seemed to be waiting for multiple family members to see the doctor and started showing him his Garfield book.

Jack is nothing if not extremely friendly to complete strangers.

It wasn’t long before Jack was called back and the doctor checked his vision before getting up close with the magnifying machine that looks a little like a head torture device.

“You have all those beautiful eyelashes,” she told Jack.

Drawing labeled "compliant eyelashes," with each lash saying things like, "Yes, sir!" and "Okay, Jack!"

These are his beautiful eyelashes.

“But,” she continued, “a couple of them have gone rogue.”

Drawing labeled "rogue eyelashes," with two eyelashes saying, "Go to hell, Jack!" and "I'm an eyelash! I do what I want!"

There were actually three rogue eyelashes, aka Jerkfaces Who Made My Baby Cry.

The eyelashes were still attached to his skin, but were growing the wrong way and they were poking into Jack’s eyeball.

Closer drawing of rogue eyelashes saying, "we will poke you!"

Seriously? Fucking eyelashes? REALLY?

Yes. Fucking eyelashes. Really.

close up of eyelashes with faces saying "Poke! Poke! Poke! Ha, ha, ha, haaaaa! I poke you now!" and "You will cry, little boy! You will cry!"

Isn’t the whole point of eyelashes to keep things OUT of your eyes?

“I’m going to have to take them out,” the eye doctor said, pulling out a pair of tweezers.

Sam close up drawing except there are tweezers pulling at one eyelash and he is yelling, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!"

Take that, motherfucker.

I know it is the eyelash screaming in the picture, but Jack was none too pleased either. The first eyelash yanking went easy. The second and third required a bribe of a 99¢ game for our iPad and also for us to not believe Jack when he started saying, “No! It feels better! You don’t have to do it again!” Needless to say, the doctor did it again, but she did the second and third at the same time.

The good news? Jack doesn’t need glasses! The less good news? One of the eye doctor’s employees has a kid who has rogue eyelashes and he, “only has to come in every three months or so to have me pull them.”

I think I might start stroking Jack’s corner eyelashes lovingly away from his eyeballs every night in an effort to soothe the angry eyelashes.

When we returned to the waiting room, Jack went straight to the same man with whom he had shared his Garfield book and said, with oh so much passion and emotion, “It was TERRIBLE! I barely made it out alive!”

I sure do hope I get to bring him in four times a year for eyelash taming. That would be great for him.

Stupid jerkface lashes.

drawing of three gravestones: "Roguey: You almost killed Jack. It was TERRIBLE." "Jerkface: He was a jerk. Survived by 800 brothers." "Dan: May you rest in peace. AND NOT FUCKING RETURN."

Project Stimey 2.0

Project StimeyIt has been one year and one day since I started Project Stimey, which means it is time to stop, assess, and recommit. As I mentioned in my last post, my resolution at the beginning of 2013 was this:

My goal this year is to improve my overall physical health. By the end of 2013, I want to weigh less, I want to be fitter, I want to be a water drinker instead of a soda drinker, and I want to be altogether more awesome.

As I also mentioned, I managed to do all of these things, but some of them not all the way. That, however, was kind of the point for me. Giving myself an end goal, like “LOSE ALL THE WEIGHT” would have set me up for failure. This way, when I lost SOME of the weight, I ended up feeling good about myself instead of wanting to kill myself. Win-win!

As for fitness, I am definitely way better off than I was a year ago. I ran 465.51 miles this year in just more than 100 hours. I ran seven races, including the relay race I spent most of the year training for. I ran an 8k race in September at a three minute per mile faster pace than when I had run the same race the year before.

Also, my body is changing in good ways.

Running photos taken a year apart

I’m not where I want to be, but I’m moving in the right direction.

As for the soda drinking, I’m afraid I haven’t been as honest with you as I could have been. It was February when I told you that I was making good progress quitting Diet Coke. Then I completely regressed without telling you and drank mass amounts of Diet Coke right up until December 29, when I realized that I only had two days left if I planned to quit before new year’s.

It was a sad day, let me tell you. Honestly, though, the next day was sadder with no happy brown bubbles to cheer me up.

I’m on Day Four with no soda and I feel totally fine physically, but damn if I don’t miss it. I know that it is just a matter of getting out of the habit of drinking soda all the time. I’m now getting in the habit of drinking water instead. I should tell you that water is stupid.

I am so fucking hydrated right now that I want to scream.

But healthier! No more phenylalanine for me! Yay! *grumpy face*

As for next year, I really just want to keep moving down the road I’m on. My 2014 resolution is to continue to improve my overall physical health. I will continue to work on running and increasing my mileage and speed, but I really want to work on eating cleaner as well. Per usual, I will plan to increase my general awesomeness again.

I want to run at least one half marathon this year, hopefully this spring, but I haven’t found one yet. My relay team is also planning another fall relay. And, again, we have openings if any of you are interested in joining our team.

Just like last year, you can keep tabs on me through my distance log and my race list.

Let’s inspire each other! Let me know what your goals are and how you’re going to make them happen. We can all be awesomer in 2014!

Diet Coke Detox

Last you heard of me, I was having problems being motivated and I was spending the weekend binging. I decided that as long as I was having a hard time getting outside to run because of the weather and my lack of motivation, I might as well take the opportunity to bite the bullet and drop the soda.

Here’s where I stand right now: I decided to quit starting Monday. It has gone well. I can definitely feel my body being sad about the lack of soda and caffeine, but I haven’t had any of the really crazy quitting side effects that you will find if you Google something like “aspartame addiction.” (Don’t do that if you’re going to stop drinking Diet Coke, by the way.)

I haven’t been 100% successful though. I have had two cans of soda each day this week, but that waaaaaay less than I usually drink. There are only three or four cans left in my fridge though, so when those run out, I’ll be carbonation free!

There is no doubt in my mind that I will successfully quit. I’m sad about it—I really like soda—but I know that will fade and I will be healthier. Yay, me! Even if I didn’t do a lot of running, I would say that this was a week well spent.

That said, I will now subject you to an overdramatic, minute-by-minute retelling of the GREAT QUITTING. Because I’m me. And we all know that this is what I do.

photoSunday, 11 pm: I chug a can of Diet Coke—my last Diet Coke ever! I then lie awake in my bed until the caffeine wears off.

*****

Monday, 7:30 am: I wake up and feel sad that I can’t have my morning soda. I already miss the bubbles. I look wistfully at the fridge, but go brush my teeth instead.

7:48 am: Panic ensues. I consider quitting the quitting. I take Advil with water instead. Water is stupid.

8:39 am: I’ve already drunk 30 ounces of water this morning. Huh. So this is what being hydrated feels like.

8:52 am: I reminisce about soda. Remember how delicious it was? I miss it already. I also remember that there are several leftover cans of soda in the fridge. I decide that I will allow myself one EMERGENCY SODA per day until they run out. (We already know that this evolved into two sodas. Let’s just pretend I planned it this way.)

…the morning passes with yoga and a run and some work at my desk…

1:55 pm: I feel awesome! This is a piece of cake!

2:10 pm: Imma take a naaaaappp…zzzzzzzzzzz

5:24 pm: I feel a little fuzzy, but maybe I can make it through the day without the EMERGENCY SODA.

6:02 pm: I scream at the dog for a minor infraction. I decide to have that emergency soda.

6:04 pm: I FEEL SO GOOD!!!!!1!!

7:30 pm: I want to go to bed.

*****

Tuesday 7:09 am: Water is stupid. I hate water. Advil on the other hand…

7:45 am: I am sad. The novelty of this whole thing is wearing off.

10:59 am: I realize after spending the morning volunteering at Quinn’s school that soda was like a nice little treat that I would give myself after completing something—like volunteering at Quinn’s school. WHERE IS MY GODDAMN TREAT?! I sadly drink…wait for it…more fucking water.

11:55 am: I retire to my bed in depression and take a ridiculously long nap.

3:12 pm: I decide to drink my EMERGENCY SODA to prevent me from shrieking at my children for existing.

9:43 pm: I feel kinda…tingly.

*****

Wednesday 8:22 am: I’m figuring out that the very first thing in the morning is the hardest for me. I miss my morning soda. Water just doesn’t have the same kick. And carbonated water is the most disgusting thing on earth, so I can’t even substitute with that. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.

1:33 pm: I am sitting at my desk thinking, “I feel great! I am not even tired at all. I am going to come through this with flying colors. A++++++!!!” Then I remember that I just drank my EMERGENCY SODA at 1:00. Oh. Right.

1:48 pm: I am starting to feel extremely virtuous for drinking so much water.

1:49 pm: I get tired of taking obsessive notes on my state of mind. I decide to declare success for quitting soda even though I haven’t actually technically quit anything.

*****

And there you have it. I win life.

*****
*****

If you want to read something else I’m great at, I wrote about 10 Things Parents Know (That Kids Don’t Want to Hear) over at White Knuckle Parenting this week. My kids may not agree that I am great at knowing things.

Team Stimey and the Plague

Well, they got me. First Quinn had the ague. Then Alex. Then, in a burst of impressive projectile vomiting, Jack. Now I have the ague as well.

This would be not quite so bad if not for the fact that I haven’t had a day where all of my kids went to school since December. My winter break is never ending, people. Today I have two sickies home with me. I’m hopeful that they can take care of themselves while I nap.

The couch has been getting quite the workout. We may have to decontaminate it after we all get well.

sick Team Stimey

I’m not sure how the dog felt about this.

I wrote about our weekend with the plague over at White Knuckle Parenting this week. It was not an awesome weekend, friends.

That is all. Wish me luck. Also, get your flu shots. Seriously.

Project Stimey Update #1

project stimey updatesHello! We are one week into Project Stimey, so I thought I’d let you know how it’s going, as I plan to do occasionally. I promise not to do it every week. I have even created a new page all about Project Stimey that you can get to from the navigation bar under my pontificating gerbil.

The only thing it will have that isn’t posted here on Stimeyland will be a page of my running stats. I’m posting those more to keep me accountable to myself and to keep track of how much I’m running.

See, I didn’t run much at all in November and December and I don’t want that to happen again. Especially now that I’ve publicly declared this the year of fitness and my friends want to do things like go running with me.

One of those friends suggested we “knock out a quick 5-mile run in an hour” this coming Thursday and I was all, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, you must have me confused with someone who runs a 12-minute mile.” I hope to be even faster than that by September, when I run my relay, but I’m sure not there yet. I’ll tell you how embarrassing it all ended up afterward. Maybe I can livetweet it:

“She’s three blocks ahead of me now. #projectstimey #needtotrain”

“I’m pretty sure I’ll catch up to her in a mile or so. #projectstimey #shehastoslowdownsometime”

“She’s a dot on the horizon. #projectstimey #iamallalone”

“It’s dark now and I don’t know where I am. I’ve been abandoned. #projectstimey #sendhelp”

Over the weekend, I was planning on going out with another friend, with whom I usually go out to dinner and drinks, but this time she was all, “Hey, how about we do something fitness oriented?” and she made me go on a hike with her instead. And every time there was a fork in the trail, she chose the uphill trail. And THEN, she told me, “You’re going to be racing in New Hampshire; you have to train on hills,” and then I cried a little bit.

I think I’ve made a huge mistake.

But I’m not giving up. Onward.