are floaties allowed?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

"I am all in on this for you."
Joann.  My sister-in-law.  The trainer.  Who is perfect.  And who is telling me she is all in on helping me get Michelle Obama arms.  YAY!!
Except, NOOOO!!  She's not talking about giving me the link to a few exercise websites or YouTube videos where I can maybe follow along lifting my two pound weights occasionally or maybe just watch people exercise on The Biggest Loser as I sit on the couch eating peach pie and ice cream.  Which I've never done.  Except for that one time.  And those other few times.
She's talking  Training me.   I would have a trainer.  A trainer who would expect me to probably, you know,  exercise.
Do I really want this?  I mean, yes, in theory I want this.  Who wouldn't want Michelle Obama arms? But, I just... want them.  I want them to magically appear.  I don't want to have to work for them.  Dear God.  I mean, I have bat wings.  They flap when I wave hello at someone.  Michelle Obama has arms with sculpted muscles.  No flapping.  I'm out of breath just thinking about the amount of work it will take to get from here to there.
In theory, I want a lot of things:  a little less dust on every surface in my house, closets that don't spill their contents the second the door opens, six working chairs around the kitchen table, Christmas decorations put back in the crawl space before the summer,  bras that aren't ten years old with wires poking out, the ability to say no to a third second glass of wine.
Pipe dreams, all of them.
But this.  Getting in shape.  Flap-free arms.
I really d k.
Wait a minute.
If I have a trainer, that means I may have to go to the gym.  If I go to the gym, I will need to look cute.  If I am to look cute at the gym, I will need some cute clothes to work out in.  Obviously.   This means...a whole new wardrobe.  A workout wardrobe.   Cute little workout tops.  Cute little workout bottoms.  Matching sneakers.  Matching hair ties.  I will go to the gym in my new cute workout clothes and all the ladies will look enviously at me.  They will start to talk amongst themselves.  "Have you seen that new girl in the cute workout clothes?  Do you know her? Have you ever seen her before?  I wonder who she is?  If only I looked as cute as her in my workout clothes.  I don't even notice her bat wings or muffin top because I am so transfixed by her cute outfit."  I will soon be known throughout the gym as New Girl With Cute Clothes.   People will wait for me to appear to see what outfit I am wearing.  Fashion trends will be started.  Sweatpants will be burned.  "Thank you, New Girl,"  the ladies will say.  "Thank you for abandoning your housework to pursue your dream of Michelle Obama arms."

I'm all in.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My daughter got engaged.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Woop woop, congrats, yadda yadda.  Great.  It's all great.  Whatever.
We all the know the most important part of Christie's wedding day will be...
me looking good in the pictures.
Mother-of-the-Bride.  Me.
I'm going to be a mother of the bride.   Um, what??   Everybody will be looking at me.  And probably somewhat at Christie.  So much pressure.  The hair.  The make-up. The dress.  The shoes. The photographs!!
How am I going to get through all those photographs?  There won't be any smoke and mirrors!  There won't be any filters!  What the h@@@ am I going to do?  Maybe I can get her to call off the wedding? Yes, that's it!  That's a great idea.  That can happen.  Shoot.  No, it can't.  Paul's perfect.  He's better than Prince Charming.
Dear reader, let me explain something. you get older. Bad things.  Really bad things.  A good friend recently put her arm around me and gently explained, "Petra, your body is changing."  I wanted to punch her in her sweet little face.
  I don't like it.  I don't like it AT ALL!   One morning, not too long ago, I woke up to find myself in the middle of a war.  A horrendous, horrible, hideous war.  A war I wasn't ready for.  At all.  I hadn't even had my coffee yet, for God's sake.  I woke up to find I was in a war with gravity.   Seriously.  I went to bed and everything was fine.  I was normal, I felt fine, my body was normal.  And the next morning, I woke up, looked in the mirror and my 80 year old father was staring back at me!!  I am not kidding.  Gravity is having its way with me.   It is doing what it does naturally...making things fall.  It is making parts of my body fall.  Lots of parts.  All parts.   Sometimes when I look down at my legs, I go to pull up my nylons only to realize I'M NOT WEARING NYLONS!!
And the bat wings.  We've talked about the bat wings before.  I can't.  I cannot even.
THIS is how I'm going to look on the day a bajillion pictures are going to be taken of me?
My sister-in-law is a personal trainer in Atlanta.  She is perfect.  She lives in a beautiful house, has a beautiful family, plays tennis, cooks gourmet meals, and is a size zero with muscles.  I hate her.
Despite (or possibly due to) my abiding envy, I emailed her:
You know how there is an app "from couch to 5K" in nine weeks?  Well, is there an app "from flab to Michelle Obama arms in nine months?"
I needed some direction.  I was looking for an app.  Or a couple of good websites. Or some good YouTube videos I could follow along.  I wanted two or three arm exercises I could do for a few months.
I had no idea.  No idea at all.  No idea how that one little email would change so many things....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's time.

I'm ready.  No-nonsense Monica is ready.  The space age contacts are ready.

Here we go.

I sit in the chair as Monica lovingly unwraps them.  I am not exaggerating about this.    No-nonsense Monica is being weird.  She is...smiling.  She is smiling at me.  No, wait.  She's smiling at the contacts.  She holds up the left contact and admires it.  I think she is in love with it.  She asks if I want to put it on my eye or if she should.  I know for a fact she is only asking me this to be nice.  Last time we had a few small, shall we say, mishaps, when I tried to put contacts in myself.  Don't look at me.  I have no idea how the contacts kept ending up splattered on her face.  

Monica reaches over and in two seconds has the contact in my eye.  I don't have time to react before she whips the right contact in.  I hear her sigh with happiness.   Ever so slowly I open my eyes.  I blink once, twice.   I know Monica is waiting for me to say something.  To rejoice in my new space age vision.  To thank the NASA scientists for being such brainiacs and creating this amazing, awesome pair of contacts just for me.

There's just one teeny tiny little problem.

 I can't see.

"Um, does it take a minute for the contacts to work?" I ask.

"NOOO," Monica replies sharply, " it most certainly does not."  She does not sound happy.  I bet she doesn't look happy either, I just can't see her.

"Read the top line of the chart," she barks.

I jump and turn my head in the direction of the chart. I take a deep breath.   I look ahead.  And look.  And look.  Finally, I turn to where I hear Monica huffing.  "I trust that there is still an eye chart on that wall because you are telling me there is one," I say, "but I cannot see a thing."

 I have never felt so blind with my eyes so wide open before in my entire life.  I reach up to feel my eyes to make sure they are open.  Yup.  Just poked myself in the eye.

 "I'm sorry," I say, "I just can't see anything at all with these contacts."   "WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??" Monica bellows.  "THAT CANNOT BE POSSIBLE!!  Those contacts were made specifically for YOUR eyes!  What are you saying??"  She is hyperventilating.  I think.  But, again, I can't see her.  I seriously can't see anything.  I open my eyes as wide as possible and concentrate, really concentrate,  on..... seeing.  Ok, it's ok.   I can make out Monica's outline.  I can see she is sitting right over there.  I can't see her face but I'm pretty sure that's a good thing at this point.  I take a deep breath.  I sit still for a minute.  A few minutes.   I tell her I think things are getting better.  I say I think my eyes just needed to adjust to having contacts on them but now they are feeling better.   Maybe I can't see well because the room is so dim. Maybe if the lights are on I can see better.    I ask her to turn the lights on.  I hear her flip the switch.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!   OOOOWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!  OUCHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!   omgomgomgomg.  The pain.  The stabbing, burning pain in both eyes.  I close my eyes immediately.  There is no way I can tell Monica what is happening.  She already doesn't like me.   I sit with my eyes closed for a minute and wait for the shooting pain to subside.  I ask Monica to please, please dim the lights again.

Slowly, slowly I open my eyes.  Better.  Much better with the lights out.  I tell Monica maybe I just need a little more time to adjust.  That I'm not used to contacts and perhaps it's just taking me a minute.  She seems to buy it and relaxes a bit.  Well, at least her breathing relaxes.  I still can't see her.

Monica comes over and puts some eye/contact measuring machine in front of my face.  She looks in my left eye.  She grunts.  She looks in my right eye.  Another grunt.  She looks in both eyes again.  Grunt. Grunt.

"These are the right contacts," she announces,  "You shouldn't be having any trouble with them whatsoever."

I have become accustomed to the dark room.  And, by accustomed, I mean I can't see.  I'm just getting used to being blind.

A few minutes pass.  I am doing ok.  I feel ok.  My eyes feel ok.  I have convinced myself I just needed to get used to the contacts.  Monica is convinced I just needed to get used to the contacts.  Because as far as she is concerned, these are the perfect contacts for me and she is just waiting for me to admit it.

I am starting to feel better.  In fact, I am starting to feel good.  Whew.  Finally.  That was a little rough patch there.  But all is good now.  My eyes are adjusting.  Monica is happy.   I am happy.  Yay!!  We are friends again!!   Monica reaches over and hits the light switch  and.......  OOOWWWWW!!!!!  OMG!!  OWWWWWW.  THE PAIN!!  OW OW OW OW OW OW.  I can't see I can't see I can't see. Never mind not seeing, I cannot open my eyes!!  I have knives in my eyes.  My eyes have never hurt so much in my entire life.  I didn't know it was even possible for eyes to hurt so much.

"GET-THEM-OUT-GET-THEM-OUT-GET-THEM-OUT GET THEM THE H*** OUT OF MY EYES!!"  I scream.  Monica jumps up in fright,  partly because I just scared the living daylights out of her and partly because I look like a lunatic all of a sudden, bouncing up and down on my seat, screaming in pain  and rubbing maniacally at my eyes.  She rushes to my side and tries to get the contacts out,  mumbling about measurements and polymers and angles and I have no idea what else because MY EYES ARE KILLING ME but I'm moving around so much she can't get the contacts out.  Monica is getting louder and louder ...."have to be correct"...."made to order"..."exact measurements"....."NASA's never wrong"....."NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE"...."I'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR 25 YEARS!"  I am getting getting louder and louder....  "HELP  ME!!"...."GET THESE OUT!!"....."STUPID FREAKIN CONTACTS!!"....  I am getting more and more frantic with tears and mascara and snot streaming down my face.  Monica is getting more and more frantic yelling about space age technology and perfect base curves and light waves while trying to get the contacts out.  I am crying,  Monica is crying.  I am yelling. Monica is yelling.  We both are thrashing and yelling and crying and........


The contacts are out.
Monica is sitting in her chair.
I am sitting in my chair.
We are staring at each other.

Monica obviously wants to say something but realizes that it would be inappropriate to articulate what she actually thinks of me.  After an uncomfortably long silence, she finally says, "you are quite..... challenging."

At this point I'm not sure how any of this is my fault.  I mean, I'm not the one who who made the perfect-fit-exactly-for-me contact lenses.  Why doesn't she get NASA on the line and give them a piece of her mind?   Why is she glaring at me?  I'm the one who had to go through the trauma of being blind and having knife contacts.  What the heck is she mad at me for??

After another extremely long, extremely uncomfortable silence, Monica reaches up on the shelf and takes down two different boxes.  More contacts.  But regular contacts, not space age contacts.  She says she just wants to try them.  She puts the left one in.  I keep my eye closed.  She puts the right one in.  Both eyes are closed.  "Open your eyes," she says.  "I don't want to," I say.  I know.  I can't help it.  I am seriously pushing it here.  I slowly, slowly open my eyes.  Once again I blink.  And blink again.

 And then it happens.  The  most unexpected, unbelievable thing.

 The room comes into focus.

 I can see.

I can see!  I can see!!  I have contacts in and I can see!!  "Monica!!!!  Monica!!  I can see!!"  I absolutely, positively cannot believe it.  The contacts fit.  They are not knives. They are not killing my eyes.  I look all around the room.  I look up.  I look down.  I look at the chart.  E D F C Z P.   It is a miracle.  It is AWESOME!!   (I am not going to dwell on the fact that the right contacts were there all along.  Let me just say that now I know how Dorothy felt).

I look over at Monica who has been very quiet this whole time.  She is now sitting in her chair.  I can see her face perfectly with my new contacts.  And that's how I could see it when it happened.  It was fleeting, but I caught it.

A smile.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Monica gives me the spoon to hold over my left eye, dims the lights and tells me to read the first line.

 I am in my optometrist's office for my first contact lens fitting.  As much as I like my cute black with sparkle glasses, I have decided it may be time for contacts.  And so here I sit, across from Monica, about to  read the chart, when it happens. 

 My heart starts racing.  My palms get sweaty.  The room closes in. 

 I start to have a freak-out.  

  A vision test. This happens to me every time I have a vision test.  I hate vision tests.  There is a right answer, a letter, right up there on that chart a mere twenty feet away.   All I have to do is read the letter.  So simple.  What could be easier?   I just have to tell her the letter.  

Except I can't.  I can't tell her the letter because I am in full panic mode and not only can I not see out of my left eye because of the spoon, for some reason I can't see out of my right eye either.  I am now blind.  It's totally black.  (Sidebar:  I am fully aware that I bring this weird freak-out factor on myself.  It's happened before.  Once when a church in my town organized a blood drive I decided  to donate blood.  Everything was going great.  No problems at all.  Donated the blood easy peasey.  Oh, yay!  We get cookies and juice.   Walk over to the food table.  Sit down next to the nice little volunteer gentleman.   Start sipping my juice.  More people come and sit at the table.  The nice little old man is saying if anyone at the table feels faint to let him know and he will ring his little bell.  I look around.  Does anyone look like they feel faint?  No.  Do I feel faint?  No, I'm fine.  I don't feel faint.  I'm fine.  I was fine.  I was fine until this nice little old man said faint and now I think I feel faint.  Wait.  Do I feel faint?  No.  And heart, sweaty palms.  Please don't ring the bell, please don't ring the bell.  Oh, @#$%, I said that out loud.  He's ringing the bell.  People come flying from every direction and swarm me.  I am surrounded by people in white coats who think I am about to faint when, in actuality, I am perfectly fine, never did feel faint,  just had a little freak out.  All those faces, all those concerned eyes looking at me.   I look up sheepishly......and shove a cookie in my mouth).

And so it is with my vision test.  I have gotten myself so worked up that I now can't see.  I will fail this test.  I will never get violet colored contacts. Ok, I was never actually  going to get violet colored contacts but I liked thinking that I could have the Elizabeth Taylor option.   I will fail  and be forever stuck with glasses as my only eye accessory (cute as they may be). 

Ok, breathe.  Take a nice big breath. It's ok.  It's all ok.  You are not blind.  You are fine.  You are in a room with a nice woman who wants to help you see.  And you are going to try these fun little things called contacts.

I fail my vision test.  At least, I think I failed. I have no idea.  E? F?  T?  I don't know.  I say E then hear a sigh and know it's wrong.  Or maybe Monica just breathes heavy.   I try again.  F?  Another sigh. T? What??  Is it wrong or are you just asthmatic??

Monica hates me.  I am convinced of this.

We are talking about my contact options.  They are very limited.  I can have contacts that let me see near.  I can have contacts that let me see far.  But because of the weird things going on with my eyes I can't have contacts that let me see both near AND far.  Huh?? Isn't the point of having contacts the ability to, oh, I don't know, SEE??

 This is not going well. Monica cannot find one pair of contacts that works for me.  I am getting frustrated.  Monica is getting frustrated.  Monica sits quietly for a few minutes.  I start to fidget.  Monica makes me nervous.  She's one of those people who doesn't smile.  Ever. She is all business.  No small talk.    Not one of those gushing "oh-my-gosh-i-just-love-your-shoes-where-did-you-ever-find-them?" kind of gals.  Nope.  Not Monica.  And now no-nonsense Monica is sitting there staring at me with her arms crossed.  My fidgeting goes into overdrive.

"All right," she says at last, "You are a challenge.  But I have one last thing we can try."  

Whew.  Maybe Monica doesn't hate me after all. 

Monica tells me about these new, space-agey contacts made out of this oxygen breathing super conductible polymer isotope that was developed by NASA engineers.   Ok, she didn't really say any of that but that's how I heard it.   She did say that the contacts were made specifically for my eyes. She had to take exact measurements of each eye a thousand different ways.  She went over the cost (a million dollars) and how I could try them for a while and if I didn't like them I could return them.  She reassured me that I would love them, though, because they would be made to order for my very own eyes.  She would send my measurements to NASA and my contacts would be ready in two weeks.  

To be continued.....

Saturday, November 9, 2013

To see, or not to see

I am in a fight.  With my eyes.  I want to see.  My eyes want to sit there looking blue.  And not let me see.  My eyes are winning.

Awhile ago I was told I needed glasses.  And not just a cute pair of readers.  I needed big girl glasses. The kind you wear all the time.  At first I was kind of excited about this news.  Glasses.  A new accessory.  I'm great at accessorizing.  Accessorizing is fun.   I do it daily.  Wake up, have coffee, shower, get dressed, accessorize.   I got this.

I head to Lens Crafters to pick out my new accessory.  Five hours, three exhausted Lens Crafters employees, one long suffering husband and two thousand pairs of discarded glasses later, I have my new accessory.  Super cute, shiny black with little crystal flowers on the sides.  This is great.  I love my new glasses.  It's my new look.  I look smarter.  I am smarter.  I am a new, smarter, cute, glasses wearing woman.

I put my new, cute, make-me-smarter glasses on, admire myself in the mirror one last time, wave good-bye to the Lens Crafters employees (wow, they must really like me...they are cheering as I leave the store) and head out the door.  I have a spring in my step as I walk along in my new super cute fashion accessory.  I am smiling, admiring the world around me which is now suddenly all so vibrant and crystal clear.  I am loving this brand new world.  I am loving this new, confident, super smart woman I have become.  I am happy, I am carefree,  I am.....falling off the curb!!  

My new, cute, make-me-look-smart glasses are progressives.  Now, maybe you don't know what progressives are. Oh sweet, innocent, lucky you.  Progressives are glasses that have different powers in the same lens.  So you have one power in the top for seeing distance, another power on the bottom for reading, and a third power in the middle for...middle seeing.

Apparently wearing progressives takes some getting used to.  And it involves a bit of coordination.  Your eyes and your head have to work together in perfect harmony.  You have to get used to moving your head this way to see far, dipping your head that way to see near,  swiveling your head this way or that to see anything at all.  Well, apparently, my eyes and my head don't work well together.  There is no harmony.  They are not friends.  There is virtually no communication between my eyes and my head.  None.  I had not known about theses enemies within before my new venture into eyeglass world.  As it turns out,  my eyes move....a lot.  Glancing, darting, sweeping, surveying, scanning, giving the once over, having a look-see, taking a gander, and, of course, rolling.  My eyes move way before my head is ready.  In my pre-glasses life, this eye activity was perfectly acceptable.  I did it constantly and was happily oblivious to it.  Post-glasses, however, I became acutely aware of the horrible disconnect happening between my eyes and my head.  I became aware of it as my head was in a near constant state of whiplash trying to keep up with my ever moving eyes so that I could see out of my new glasses.

I've tried.  I really have.  They said it would take a while so I have tried.   It's been three years.

And so, dear 20 followers and 2 lurkers, I have entered the world of contacts.  Let's just say the entry has not been smooth.

It all started when I went to Monica for my contact lens fitting.   And made Monica cry.

To be continued.......

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I am rounding the corner at the mile eleven mark.  I am cruising.  I am a well oiled machine.  My legs are turning over in glorious precision, each muscle tweaked to maximum performance, creating the perfect stride.  My body is the picture of efficiency, every movement propelling me toward the finish line in record time.  My months of training have prepared me perfectly for these last two miles.  I am breathing easy, my pony tail flying in the wind, my skirt sparkling in the sunshine.  I am calm, I am peaceful, I am zen.  I am...oh, who the **** am I kidding?   I am none of those things and where the ****  is the #!&*!%@$* finish line????

It was the hills.  There were HILLS in the race.  OK, not like huge hills and not like a thousand of them but still....a hill is a hill and add a bunch of them together and you get death.

The wheels came off at mile eleven.  The first ten miles were ok.  ish.  I mean, I got through them.

Starting line.  Well, for some, the starting line.  For me....ten minutes behind the starting line. There were approximately a bajillion runners in the ING Hartford marathon and half marathon this year.  A bajillion.   We take up ten city blocks at the start.  A lot of pre-race festivities, songs, announcements and then bang...the starting gun and we are off!!   And off down a hill.  Yay!  I love this race.  Starting down a time is going to be amazing.  I am going to crush it!

I should have known.  I should have thought it through.  I should have realized what was to come.  It should have dawned on me right then and there....we were going downhill.  Down a hill.  We had thirteen miles to go.    Something may be ahead.  Let's see.  Hmmm. Something, something.   What could it be? Oh, I know.  AN UPHILL.

A ton of uphills actually.  It was these mini Kilamanjaros that got me.  And so there I found myself at mile eleven, hot, sweaty, my legs screaming to stop, my feet barely managing to lift off the ground, my face contorted in all kinds of ugly pain, my mind on the brink of giving my failing body permission to stop running and start crawling walking.  And then it happened.

I was running this race for charity.  I was running this race for all those brave kids living with Crohn's disease.  I was running this race for Christie.  A lot of very wonderful and generous people had donated their hard earned money to me, to this cause, putting their faith in me, trusting that I would cross that finish line.

I tried.  I really tried to think of all of that.  To think of all of those kids with Crohn's, to think of Christie, to think of my sponsors.  I wish  I could say it was those thoughts that carried me to the finish line.

It wasn't.


That's what got me to the finish line.

Guardian angels can come in all shapes and sizes.

Mine happens to be a hulking, screaming, very scary looking african american man.

Thank you, big, scary, screaming guardian angel for appearing when I needed you most.  Mile 11.

I did it.  I crossed that finish line.

Thank you to all of you who donated to my run.  I am extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of my wonderful family and friends.

Thank you Hoka One One.  My feet may have been shuffling but they were blister-free and in a happy marshmallow cloud the entire time.

Thank you Rock City Skirts for making me sparkle and get a ton of attention and cheers of "go, Sparkle Girl, go" along the way.

And finally, thank you to Christie.  You may be "drama" about everything else in your life but you have never been drama about Crohn's.  Your quiet determination and positive, never complaining attitude are truly inspiring.  You are amazing and make me proud every single day.

And so, dear twenty followers and two lurkers, that is my half marathon story.  What a journey it has been.  Thank you for sharing it with me.  And don't worry!  If you meant to donate but somehow forgot, good news!  There's still time.  (You didn't think I'd let you get away that easy, did you??).  The fundraising site will be open for a while longer.

To donate go to: 

Stayed tuned for more adventures in the life of Peach.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

T minus 4 days.

It's Tuesday.  My race is on Saturday.  This Saturday.   Oct 12th.  The day I have been obsessing about forever. The day that seemed so far away when I originally had this crazy little idea to run a half marathon.  Like, so far away it was never going to actually get here. So far away that it was never going to be an actual day with an actual race. That I had to actually run.

Well, it's actually happening.

All that running.  All those long runs in Stratton.  All those runs in the heat.  All those runs when I rocked and the runs when I....didn't.  All those months of training.  It's all been leading up to this.

I got this.

I'm ready.

And by ready, I mean I have my outfit picked out.