Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doctor, Doctor, Give me Part Two

So, I drive up to Newport News today, and traffic is pretty clear (surprisingly enough) so I end up arriving about 40 minutes early. You know how it goes, if I don't plan for traffic, there will be tons and I'll be late. I went over to the bookstore and picked up Twilight, which everyone has been raving about recently, and another trashy romance novel, then wandered over to my doctor's office.

I should have showed up slightly earlier, as it turned out. One of his patients had gotten confused as to when his appointment was (at 11:00am) and I could have taken his and let him come in late and take mine. Ah well.

Got called back in fairly quickly (only 5 minutes past when my appointment was scheduled) and his assistant weighed me in. 168, according to their scale. Have I mentioned how much I love their scale? My doctor came in and flipped through my charts. Last year, on his scale, I weighed 227. That's a ~60 pound loss in about a year's time, although I didn't actually start my eating plan until January.

He went over my most recently blood work with me, and compared it to last year. Cholesterol is good, white blood cell count is great, A1C is great. My breathing test gave me the lung capacity of 120% normal.

"Well," he said, looking over my charts, "I don't see any reason why you should remain on those long-acting control drugs any longer."

I blinked.

"You're not asthmatic anymore. There's nothing wrong with your lungs. I'll give you a sample-sized albuterol inhaler for the next two weeks, just in case, but I don't think you'll need it. If you're using it more than 2-3 times a day in two weeks, call me and we'll rethink this, but it's really just a precaution at this point."

I think I surprised him when I burst into tears.

This is, honestly, the best news I have had in years.

Doctor, Doctor, Give me the News (Newport News, that is)

My pulmanologist has his office up in Newport News. He should feel flattered that I continue, after four years of living in Chesapeake, to keep him as my doctor. That's 3 gallons of gas ($10) just to drive up and back, however long it takes me to sit in the tunnel's traffic worth of time, plus he's an out-of-plan specialist, which adds on extra fees to my co-pay.

On the other hand, in the sixteen years or so that I've had asthma, he's been the only one who was able to find the right combination of medications to treat my problem. Before Splan, I was in the ER every six to eight weeks with major asthma attacks, and at least two of those visits ended in stays in ICU. So yes, he's worth every penny to me.

I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say about my weight loss. Last year, when my A1C was looking seriously diabetic, he shook his finger at me.

"You need to lose about 10% of your body weight by the time I see you in January," he said, "Or I'm putting you on glucophage."

When I saw him again (actually in February because of some scheduling conflicts) I had done exactly that. Lost give or take 22 pounds.

Now, I'm within a pound of being "overweight" instead of "obese" according to the BMI charts. (My BMI is 30.1 at the moment, down from 38.8)

I'm within a pound of having lost 50 pounds. (My weigh-in yesterday had me at 2.8 down, which keeps my average good. Since starting Weight Watchers, I've dropped ~6 pounds every month.)

Last time I saw Splan, he was so impressed with my having lost 22 pounds that he asked me if there was any possible way I could give a guest lecture to some of his other patients who didn't do what he told them to do and who were then mad at him when they didn't get any healthier.

It's nice to be a model patient.

Monday, August 25, 2008


So, my computer has been on the wonk. My video card (a little over a year old, so of course it's past the warranty, again...) got overheated. The bearings in the fan are just slightly not round any more, so the fan doesn't go 'round. So I'm using my on board video card, which sucks the likes of which makes my vacuum cleaner jealous. The worst part is, I don't know if it is, or is not, going to work at any particular moment. I could be tooling along writing a blog entry or surfing the web, or writing email or playing WoW, and all the sudden the screen flickers, goes dark, and then opens back up with the bastard love child of Georges-Pierre Seurat and Hermann Rorschach. Yesterday, for instance, I played several hours of Warcraft. Today, I can't get the damn thing to run for more than a minute before I'm making comparisons to Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Does that Look Like a Bat or Two Lesbians Kissing.

But, enough about my computer woes. Hopefully my new video card will be in on Wednesday and everything will be peachy.

On the recommendation of one of the blogs I read, I netflixed myself a copy of DisFIGURED.

With my computer being on the fritz, and knowing full well that my husband was entirely and completely uninterested in this movie, I tossed it in the DVD player and watched it. My daughter, who shares a name with the main character, watched it with me. (Honestly, it probably wasn't a kids' movie, with swearing and sex, but both were tastefully done and I decided not to make an issue about it. To be perfectly frank, there's nothing in the film she hasn't seen or heard before. God knows, I'm not modest, so she's seen naked fat chicks, and my husband and I are a little less discrete with our language than perhaps we'd like to be. Getting Darcy to stop saying "What the hell?" has been an interesting parental challenge.)

There movie opens up with a bitch session at the local Fat Acceptance Group. I don't think there's a single thing said in that first five minutes that I haven't said, or heard someone say. I spent a while with that half-smile, nod your chin, or just shake your head the tiniest bit... You know the whole "I've so been there, done that" look.

The movie covers a lot of topics, from sizeist issues such as airline and movie theater seats being too small to such wince-worthy moments like the guy who quits the Fat Acceptance walking group because he needs to gain weight in order to medically qualify for the gastric bypass surgery. There's a lot of yelling back and forth between Lydia - the obese girl - and her lover, who is going for the surgery, about whether or not it is cheating.

Bob: "If I got Lasik eye surgery because I needed glasses, would that be ok?"

Lydia: "Yes, but you can't correct your vision by eating right and exercising!"

Bob: "I can't lose weight by doing those things either. I'm weak, so be it. You don't expect a crippled man to go without his crutch, do you?"
or later:

Darcy: "So if you take an insecure woman and she gets the nose job and the boob lift and the tummy tuck, what do you have? An insecure woman in a mask. With scars."

I'm never sure how I feel about medical intervention as a solution. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of fat as a disease. The "obesity epidemic". No, people, please. The 1918 flu was an epidemic. I know, even if I had qualified for the gastric bypass surgery, I would have never done it. I don't feel comfortable with the whole idea of being cut open and having things stitched and stapled together. I wouldn't do plastic surgery, either. I may not always be comfortable with how I look, or how much I weigh, but I don't think... well, let me explain it this way:

After my car accident, I had to have two surgeries. One to set the bones and pins and brackets in place, and one to remove one screw. I still have several plates and screws in my leg. There is a C-curve scar along the inside of my right ankle and a long, straight scar, intersected regularly with horizontal slashes, starting at my ankle and running six inches up my leg.

The first time I saw my leg, after the car accident (the EMTs and Emergency Room Doctors would not let me look at my leg while it was broken...) I felt a strange detachment. That couldn't possibly be my leg. My leg didn't look like that. Whatever this was, I didn't own it anymore. It wasn't mine. It wasn't me.

I don't avoid looking at my leg as much as I used to, but I still have never quite felt the same about it. The scars and the injury became so much more and at the same time, so much less, of what I was.

I can't do that. My ankle won't allow it.

Like it has some sort of control over me, some external force of authority. I don't think of my other joints like that. I don't obsessively hate my elbow, for instance. It just does what it does. Sometimes it fails to perform the way I ask it to, and I don't worry about it too much.

Anyway, I could never, ever, volunteer to be cut open. Not so that I could look better, because no matter how I looked afterwards, I can't imagine that I wouldn't think I looked horrifying. I hate looking at my ankle, at the scars there. I wonder if other people think they're hideous. I couldn't imagine looking at my face and thinking the same thing.

I recognize that not everyone agrees with me. I have blog friends who have had gastric bypass and I have blog friends who have had plastic surgery. They're happy with their solutions, and I am happy for them. I certainly would never try to force my views on anyone about it. But it's not the approach for me. I just couldn't.

There were a lot of things to think about in that movie, and I haven't even sorted them all out.

Leader: "We are not a self-help group. We are here to get a screwed-up world to accept us"

Lydia: "What about accepting ourselves?"

Leader: "Well, if you’re having a hard time with that then you have internalized that prejudice. You are trying to change your body, Lydia, and that is self-hatred, pure and simple."

Lydia: "You’re trying to change the world. Does that mean you hate the world?"

Leader: "Yeah... I do. Very often. Don’t you?"

Do I hate the world?

Yeah, sometimes.

Do I hate myself?

Yeah, sometimes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Proverbial Thin Line

[Forgive me if this entry is a bit disorganized, I started writing it last week and then saved it as a draft when I went to do something else and completely forgot it was here.]

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a genius?

(Don't feel intimidated by this; there are less practical applications to intelligence than you might imagine. The brain is a muscle that can move the world, but like any other muscle, it atrophies with lack of use. For instance, I cannot produce a theoretical calculus equation without googling it. For that matter, I never could. Or, at least, I always hated math enough that I wouldn't, and wouldn't is almost the same as couldn't. Same end results, at least. Unless you're highly creative and manage to luck out in getting a job that can challenge your brain power, most geniuses I know - why yes, I do know several - live the same basic life as anyone else. Except, for perhaps, a greater awareness of how much basic life kinda sucks.)

Most of the highly intelligent people I know (and I am no exception) are thoroughly neurotic, have lousy self-esteem, are constantly over-thinking or over-analyzing things, and have pet peeves that include lists of common grammatical errors.

All this really boils down to my constant obsession these days: My complete and total awareness that Weight Watchers is a company out to make money.

That makes me somewhat suspicious and cynical. Really, my losing weight and getting to goal is not in Weight Watchers' best interests. A good company model means they want me to lose some weight, and get close - but not all the way to - to goal. They want me to feel that goal is in reach, so I don't get too discouraged and quit, since quitting means I'm not paying them anymore. At the same time, if I reach my goal weight, I also stop paying them.

However, they have a very thin line to walk down (pardon the pun.) If no one gets to goal, people will stop paying them, as well. They won't have great inspirational stories, and eventually people will stop believing that Weight Watchers can actually help them to lose weight.

Since Weight Watchers is based on a subscription service (much like World of Warcraft, without the pvp agenda!) the ideal company model is to make it take as long as possible to get from level 1 to level 70. (Sorry, mixing my metaphors here.) And then we have end game content... lots of endgame content! In the form of maintenance.

[Now, I know that I shouldn't be looking that far ahead. I've still got another 50 pounds or so to lose, so end game content really doesn't concern me yet. Except that I'm overly intelligent and I don't do much in a given day that challenges me, so my brain goes off on its own to find things for me to think/worry/obsess over.]

Now, the racket that Weight Watchers has is that - if you want to continue to take up space in a meeting as a lifetime (and hence, free) member - you have to stay no more than 2 pounds over your goal weight, and you have to weigh in once a month. If you're over your goal by more than 2 pounds, you don't lose your "lifetime" status, but you do have to pay for the meetings again until you're back under your goal weight.

2 pounds is NOT a lot of wiggle room. I cannot, however, discover if there's more wiggle room under your goal. Can you still have a free meeting if you end up 5 pounds under your goal weight? I mentioned that to Beth the other day, that Weight Watchers had a good money making racket going on, if you had only a 4 pound window to maintain. (As I've said before, my winter boots weigh at least 2 pounds.) She rather dodged the question by saying that she didn't think setting a goal weight higher than what you wanted to lose was a good idea. She says she's seen it happen too many times that people leave themselves some "extra" weight room and then because they have 10 pounds before they lose their free meetings, they become a little more careless with it, since they have those 10 pounds, and then suddenly they're on a gaining trend and it becomes hard to reverse it. (I think, based on what she said, that there is more wiggle room under your goal weight, but since she didn't specifically spell it out for me, that still leaves the question open for debate. Does anyone actually know for sure?)

The whole tug-of-war between profitability and delivering on their product probably consumes a lot of the executives at Weight Watcher Headquarters' time.

The Diet industry is Huge. I mean, like space is huge.

Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space. - Douglas Adams.

Space is peanuts, compared to the Diet Industry.

This concerns me, because honestly, what incentive does Weight Watchers have to actually help me lose weight? Yes, I'm a cynic. No, I don't think that anyone beyond my leader, actually cares if I lose weight or not. (And sometimes I wonder about her. She seems like a nice person, and I do like her, but this is her job. She makes jokes about it sometimes... "What happens if you gain this week?" People in the back row; "Beth gets to keep her job!")

This is further complicated by the structure of the meetings themselves.

At our meeting, we have several lifetime members. Many of them have only lost between 20 and 30 pounds. (It's decidedly unfair of me to feel snarky about these people, since at least they were smart, and got into the program before they ended up in a size 26, but honestly, I don't always feel I can relate to someone who's cheering and happy about fitting back into a size 4. I've never been a size 4. Not even when I was four.) We have one guy, Danny, who's lost 85 pounds.

And then we have Marsha. Marsha means well, I'm sure, but I honestly wish she wouldn't come to the meetings. Or wouldn't talk as much. Or something. She's been an on and off member of Weight Watchers since 1972.

I was born in 1972.

She's been an on and off again member of Weight Watchers for thirty-six years. And she's still at least 100 pounds overweight. And she's always cheerful and encouraging and hopeful... and for god's sake woman, at what point do you stop being Pollyanna and just give it up as not working?? She attends meetings with her daughter, who's about twenty-three or so. And who is just as round as her mother. Which makes me think that either they both have a really bad genetic/medical condition or - and I consider this more likely - she's just not learning anything.

This is exceptionally discouraging. And I know I should be a better person about it, but I'm just not. I'm selfish and shallow and cynical and honest to god, listening to this woman is emotionally painful. She tries and she fails and she tries and she fails, and I can't decide if she's lying about what she eats or what. She celebrates her little successes and ignores the fact that she's spent an entire lifetime on a lifestyle change that isn't changing her lifestyle.

On the other hand, I expect the bigwigs at Weight Watchers think she is the ideal client. One who keeps paying and paying and paying...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Please, Keep Your Excuses (I Have Enough of my Own)

Thomas has always said he hates biology. Unlike math, or chemistry, biology is unpredictable. In chemistry, if you add X element to Y element and add Z amount of energy, you always, always get R. Two plus two always equals four. Every single time.

Biology? Not so much. Sometimes you breed red-eyed fruit flies with white-eyed fruit flies and you get pink-eyed fruit flies. And sometimes you get all red-eyed fruit flies anyway. And from time to time, a brown-eyed fruit fly will show up in the mix. And while there are percentages and trends, you cannot predict. Ever. Exactly what will happen. (For instance, sometimes some idiot might decide to OPEN all the fruit fly tubes during the weekend and infect the entire school with mutant freaking fruit flies so that your English teacher decides to give bonus points on the final exam based on who can kill more of the little bastards. And wrote points up on the board WWI Flying Ace style so you could see who bagged the most fruit flies. Not that that happened, or anything... no, no, of course not. Purely hypothetical.)

I always liked biology, back in high school, because it wasn't predictable. You never quite knew what was going to happen, or why, but you could run experiments and find out.

I find I'm liking it less when I am the experiment. Didn't get in all your waters this week? Are you up, or down? Is it consistent over the weeks? Did you eat all 35 of your flex points? Forget to journal? What's the scale say?

Of course, I'm up again this week. 1.2 pounds, as a further matter of fact, which is the largest gain I've had since starting Weight Watchers. Sigh. I've been journaling though, so I've been pouring over my journal obsessively. The only things I can really see that might be the problem is 1) I ate all of my flex points and most of my activity points, which put me at 38.5 flexies. and 2) it's the week-to-10 days before my time of the month and sometimes I have a gain/small loss/maintain that week.

It never fails, however. As soon as I gain, I get el sticky globules of sympathy, advice, excuses, and theories about why I gained.

"Did you step up your exercise? That might be it."

"Time of the month?"

"You know, that's normal, right?"

I know. The entire point is to make me feel better. And honestly, I do appreciate the sympathy. I don't, however, appreciate the excuses.

I'm perfectly capable of coming up with my own excuses. Trust me, I am the Reigning Queen of Why-it's-Not-My-Fault.

But in all honesty, that's not what I need right now. I do not need to be blasé about my weight loss. I don't want to shrug off a pound with yet another round of how the world is out to get me. I don't want to get complaisant yet.

What I'm most afraid of here is becoming apathetic.

This is the weight my body is comfortable with.

That's the place I don't want to go. If I make too many excuses about why this isn't my fault, why I couldn't do better/try harder/be more vigilant, I'll get back to that place where I was blaming my ballooning weight on steroid pills that I haven't taken in five years.

For years, I blamed my size on steroids. It wasn't my fault that I was this big, it was doctors who didn't warn me about the side effects of the medication I was constantly taking. It wasn't my fault I couldn't lose weight, there was no way I could exercise, not with my ankle the way it was. My asthma is bad, I can't even walk a mile, much less enough to do any good! It's not my fault.

It's long past time I owned my own mistakes.

Next time I gain weight, please, please just say "Oh, that sucks. I'm sure you'll do better next week."

I can find my own excuses.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Three Bags Full

Among other things on my vacationing-to-do list (top of the list was to sleep LATE at least one day, and one day was all I managed, but I did sleep til 10:30, and that's pretty good, so I'll take it. On the other hand, I also got 8 pages of scrapbooking done, watched a couple of adult movies, and had lots of spontaneous, middle of the day sex.) was to go through my old, over-sized clothing and pare things down a little.

I don't think I've ever suffered from the delusion that larger t-shirts made me look thin. I mean, how can you think you look thin when you weigh over 200 pounds? You just don't. But they were comfortable, and for a long time I was very unhappy with the idea of my clothing forming itself around my fat rolls. Not that loose clothing hides that you're fat; just the whole idea that one need not display said fat in saran wrap, not going there thankyouverymuch.

So, I always bought my t-shirts on the larger side. XXXLs. And they were huge. But comfortable. And they hung down around my knees most of the time (I am not tall) which meant that unless I was expecting someone over (and I never am... that's the thing about being a Stay at Home Mom. You Stay at Home. And rarely see another adult.) I could just lounge around all day in said t-shirt. So, I did.

Then I discovered the house dress... t-shirt material, calf-length dress. Loved it. Lived in it.

Somewhere... in the losing weight process... larger t-shirts stopped being so comfortable. I honestly couldn't tell ya when, or why. Just found myself plucking at a shirt if it was too big... shuffling the larger tees to the bottom of the drawer and only wearing the newer, smaller ones. Of course, I also dug out several L and XLs that I had saved away over the years... t-shirts that had some emotional reason to keep, even though I couldn't wear them anymore.

Thomas watched me grow this geological wonder of t-shirts, squashed into a drawer that really wasn't meant to hold over forty shirts. "Do you think, maybe, we might consider getting rid of some of those old clothes of yours?"

Thomas, by the way, is not a packrat. He has never been a packrat. He does not generally have emotional investment in things. Unless it's an old computer part, and I have learned my lesson there. I do not nag about his leftover computer parts. I've had my system salvaged until we can afford to get a new part - monitor, power supply, hard-drive, cd-rom, etc. Usually this happens about two weeks after I've said he should do something about the growing pile of salvaged computer parts. If I was of a more suspicious nature...

Anyway, throwing out stuff is not something Thomas has a problem with...

Me, I do. Less than I used to, but still. My mom... well, let's just say that my mom claims to have stayed married to my dad for as long as she did "for my sake." Yeah, great, let's just blame ten years of unhappy on the child, shall we? "Well, I just thought it would be better for you..." Oh, horseshit, woman. You stayed because he had money and you were scared of being poor. And you stayed so long and you were so miserable that by the time you finally left, you were too eager to get away to make a good fight for a divorce settlement. And you've been mad about it ever since, so will you just shut up already? By the time I left for college, things were abysmal around my house. I never went home for vacation if I could possibly find a friend to leach off of. (Thanks, Carol!)

The summer before college, my mom came into my room, looked around at all my stuff and said; "I'm going to use this room while you're gone for a crafting room. Anything you don't take with you, I'm going to throw away." She meant it. The week after I moved out, my mom set up my old bedroom as her bedroom, so she didn't have to share a bed with my dad anymore.

So... my freshman year, I dragged every bit of my shit from my hometown to my college. And then during the summer, I packed it all up, moved it into storage, moved it into a summer-school dorm, changed dorm rooms, moved it back into storage, and then out of storage and into a new dorm, halfway through that year I changed rooms again... I had nowhere else to leave my stuff, and I got obsessively attached to it. I'd gone through so much trouble to keep it, so much emotional pain... I just couldn't get rid of it. Not now. Not after all I'd been through for it.

The last bit of my college career, I actually had the same boyfriend for like, three years. In that time, we'd acquired a lot of community property stuff. And not since moving out of my hometown and knowing anything I left behind was considered trash and tossed, was anything so hard. Two days after he moved out, I had to go through all of "our" things and decide what was his and what was mine. Split up comic book collections, decided which CDs belonged to whom, which movies, which books... I believe (probably incorrectly) that I was fair about it, that I didn't keep anything that wasn't legitimately mine, and that I divided the stuff up as best I could. I never, ever want to do that again.

In further fact, I almost didn't let Thomas move in with me, when we got to that stage of our relationship, because I was so terrified of this intermingling of stuff. Finally, in a fit of desperation, Thomas grabbed a notebook and scrawled out "If I leave you, you can kill me and keep all the stuff. Thomas." and tacked it to my fridge. It stayed there for the two years we lived together in that apartment.

I still have that "contract."

Anyway... Thomas has been watching me, for weeks now, living out of, perhaps, less than one quarter of my entire t-shirt drawers (yes, that's three drawers of shirts. And my new shirts were taking up, maybe half of one drawer...)

"Ok, time to pare down," he says, leaning against the door frame and looking at me over the rim of his glasses.

"I just... don't feel comfortable with it. I mean, what if I get fat again? It's not like I haven't gained all that weight back before."


"So, then I'll just have to buy new clothes all over again."

"So?" (Can you see why I love this man?)

"Well, that'll be expensive."

"How much clothes do you think you need?"

"Minimum?" I do some calculations. "Fourteen pairs of socks, fourteen pairs of underwear, three bras, twenty t-shirts, two sweaters or cardigans, four or five pairs of pants, ditto on shorts, and one or two nice dresses."

"And how much will that cost?"

"Maybe $400?"

"So, the smallest storage unit we can rent is $70 a month... I think it'll pay for itself if we have to buy more clothes rather than continuing to store all these things you're not wearing."

"Smart ass."

"I'm willing to take the risk that we'll need to buy new clothes again. I'm not willing to watch you attack your dresser every day with a crowbar trying to shove more shit in there. Pack. It. Up."

So... we did. Everything 2X or larger. My new t-shirts from Jeanne with the Jane Austen quotes? Gone. My lesbian t-shirt ("Sorry I haven't been attending church recently. I've been busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian.") gone. My Lynchburg Storm t-shirt that was a gift from L.G. for designing his web page? Gone. The tank tops I got last year? Poof. Black dress with cherries on it? Gone. The dress I wore to my cousin's wedding. My house dress. The $180 adorable pink dress that I managed to find on sale at TJ Maxx for $14? Bagged.

I set aside one shirt, a 4X and one pair of pants, size 24, for later pictures when I reach my goal weight. Everything else was bagged up. No, I'm not the only one. Thomas did a similar paring down of his clothing, including several pairs of work khakis that were entirely too big, and a dozen shirts or so.

We filled three large trash bags with our old clothes. And yesterday, we took them, along with our old DVD player, and our old printer, to the Goodwill.

"Thank you, so much," the guy at the Goodwill said, as he was sorting things into bins at the drop off. "This'll really help some people."

"It already has," Thomas said, putting his arm around my shoulders.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert A. Heinlein

My husband has now lost almost fifty-five pounds. He's wearing a medium-sized shirt, which he has not been able to do since high school. And size 36 pants, which he says he can't remember ever doing. He weighs 198.

His friend at work, the one who does the Ironman competitions, promised to take him out to lunch when he got to less than 200 pounds.

Why does this just seem like a contradiction in ideas, to me?

He... lost weight. So you're going to take him to lunch?

It seems like making a chocolate cake part of my reward for losing five pounds.

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Greg Mankiw described the concept as: "To get one thing that we like, we usually have to give up another thing that we like. Making decisions requires trading off one goal against another." To get his "free lunch", Thomas has given up eating cheeseburgers and moonpies and twinkies for eight months. To get his "free lunch," we walk over 6 miles a week. We play tennis, and climb hills, and run around the front yard. For two Computer Chair Eclairs, this has been impressive amounts of activity.

We dropped Darcy off with my parents this weekend. Remember I told y'all that my dad said he'd gained 25 pounds? I could tell.

"You know," Thomas says to me last night while we're in bed, waiting to fall asleep, "I was surprised by something this weekend."


"When we were playing with Darcy?" I grinned. My dad and Thomas had taken turns playing "monster" while Darcy ran shrieking and laughing in circles around her new playhouse.

(Look at that thing! My god! And Rosie, my step-mom, has put in a paved brick walkway, stepping stones, a small picnic table behind it, flower boxes under the window... ok, maybe I'm not the only one who never had anything like this as a girl, and Rosie is acting out her own prepubescent fantasies.)

"Yeah, I remember."

"Your dad got tired before I did..."

Keeping in mind that my dad lives and works on a farm, that he's always been completely whipcord thin and fit as a fiddle... he's the man who ROWED us back to his beach house when the boat ran out of gas...

"Impressive." I rolled over. "His elliptical had dust on it." I borrowed the weight bench while we were there to do a few sets. (I used the seven pound weights, which is four pounds more than my at-home set of weights, and was pleased to see I could manage them easily. Maybe I should get some new weights.)

To some degree, I find it sad that we're competing, even mentally, with a man who's almost 25 years older than we are. On the other hand, everyone's got to start somewhere. So we started at the bottom of the hill; so what? The rock hasn't rolled over and crushed us yet. Between the pair of us, we've lost over 100 pounds. He's down 54 pounds, and I got my 45 pound bling yesterday. (That pesky pound was, indeed, evicted, along with 2.8 of his friends.... biggest loss I've had in quite a while.)

But there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

We've given up a lot to get here. We've gone through a lot to get here. We've changed and made changes. Both of us still have a ways to go, but it's been a better journey for the help and partnership.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Watching Me

It's a bit after noon-thirty, and I've just finished lunch. Not much today, some leftover lemon meatballs with brown rice. It's weigh-in day, and we all know around here that I'm freaking deranged about that. It doesn't hurt anything for me to be extra diligent one day a week, and I have so many other issues to address that I haven't bothered to try and correct this behavior yet. I suspect it's actually become habit now.

I miss my daughter already and I feel moderately sheepish about it. She's only been gone since Saturday. How much I miss her already and how my own parents used to pack me off to New York for the whole summer to live with my grandparents because my mom didn't want to deal with me all day... it pisses me off, but there's nothing I can do about it now, and if I think about it too much I'll just be in a mood all day.

I go off to take a shower. I notice that I have a nice fat pimple forming on the right side of my nose. How lovely. I'll tell ya, my skin's mostly cleared up, but when I do have an outbreak these days, it's pretty damned impressive. I'll probably put some concealer on it before we head off to the meeting this afternoon. Not that that will actually do anything, except remind me not to pick at it.

I wash my hair with mandarin lime shampoo from Bath & Body works. I have a real love/hate relationship with B&B... every time I like something from them, they discontinue it. I haven't forgiven them yet for discontinuing the gingerbread moisturizer. This latest, the shampoo, was in for a few months, and then I managed to catch them just as they were pulling it from the shelves. I bought 4 bottles. I forgot, however, to get conditioner to go along with it. That's mostly ok, as I only condition once a week or so.

My hair is still falling out. Every time I wash or brush it, dozens of hairs go down the drain or into the trash. Side effect of cutting down the fat in my diet, I'm told. I remind myself to get more draino. It's becoming a staple in the household. I'm too lazy and somewhat squicked out to actually clean the drains.

I get out of the shower and grab a towel. I have really large towels, admittedly. But it's still nice to wrap the whole towel around myself. Last year, I barely had three inches of overlap and I tucked it in just over the center of my chest. Now I have at least a foot of spare fabric, and I am tucking the corner in just under my armpit.

I spread my other towel out over my pillow and lay on the bed for a while. Even though my hair is long enough to reach my lower back, I don't like using a blow dryer on it. Air drying is better for it, in the long run anyway.

The house is almost perfectly quiet, just the soft sound of the bedroom fan running, and the occasional click of the hot water heater as it refills.

I don't get a lot of alone time, and it seems weird, and somewhat sinful. Since Darcy was born, I've spent exactly 18 days alone. She'll be five in October. That's less than five days a year that I've not been on mom-call. Think about that the next time you're complaining that you don't get enough vacation time.

I lounge on the bed in my towel. I don't get to do that much. Usually by the time it takes me to type out that sentence, Darcy has come back to see "Mommy, what's is doing?" She has some really strange grammar sometimes, and I can't figure out why.

My hair is about half dry and starting to curl up when I finally get up. I always wish I could capture that damp, tousled look, but by the time my hair is dry, the weight will have pulled it back down, relentlessly straight.

I pick out my clothes. This is very important for weigh-in. I can't have anything on that's heavier than last time. My size 14 shorts weigh about 11 ounces less than my size 18 shorts. Why do you think I was so distressed about my weigh-in last week? Because I knew it was more than just one measly pound. My new clothes weigh less than my old clothes, so, it was probably closer to a pound and a half, or two pounds. I'm really not looking forward to the day it's time to start wearing my winter boots again. I lost at least 2 pounds trading those out for my Mary Janes.

Blue jean shorts, size 14. They slide over my hips and close easily. I don't even have a muffin top poking out over the hem. I pick up my black tank top, but decide that I don't want to wear that today, and eventually select the bright pink Medium top that I got two weeks ago. I've had this shirt, and three others like it, for two weeks, but every time I pick one up, my first thought it "there's no way in hell this fits me."

And yet, it still does. I smooth down the front and check my look in the mirror. I still look fat. I have a hard time seeing the thinner me, I really do. I mean, if I wave two pictures, before and now, in front of myself, I can see it. But it doesn't reflect back at me in the mirror. I still see the same old me, the same one that's been there since 1994 or so.

I turn sideways to check out my shape. Wish desperately that I could manage to actually suck in my stomach and hold it that way for more than a minute or so. I can't, though. I've tried a girdle on, and that didn't really help either; all that did was stick the fat higher up. I sigh and deflate. I feel a bit like a tired old beach ball, half full of air, runkled over and not very much fun.

I glare at my reflection. I know this isn't healthy to think this way. I've come about halfway, there's no sense in giving up now. Going back is just as far as going forward... and even if I should just give up... somehow my comfort with food is mostly gone now. I don't know that I'll ever be okay with myself again, if I sat down, for instance, and ate a double handful of snickers bars. If I can't go back to being okay with junk food, I may as well get thinner, right?

I look at myself again. I try really hard to pretend I'm not me, that I'm evaluating someone else.

Even without sucking in my stomach, there's a decided difference. My belly doesn't thrust forward, in front of my breasts. The amount of visible fat along my back is lower and my butt doesn't look half bad. I mean, baby's still got back, but it really doesn't look unattractive. There's definitely some shape to my arms, muscle tone there and my skin is a smooth, even bronze. My hair may be falling out, but I'm probably the only person who can see that, and my fingernails are a good length, well-trimmed and shapely.

I pull my hair up into a bun and stab a chopstick through it, letting a few strands loose to curl down my neck and along the side of my face.

I'm ready.

Bring on the world.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

One Thing, Everyday, That Scares You

If you haven't heard the "song", you should listen to it. Originally an essay written by Mary Schmidt and published in the Chicago Tribune, it is written as though it were a commencement speech. (How many of those have we had to sit through in our lifetimes, and how many of them were actually worth the time it took to write, practice, and listen? I only vaguely remember the one my high school valedictorian gave, and that's only because I hated her so much that I was listening with the intent to criticize everything she said... there's no one you hate more than the girl who seems to have everything, is there? She was pretty and popular, talented and intelligent, and everyone wanted to be her, or wanted to be friends with her. Or they were like me, and wanted to punch her in the face... ok, so I'm not a nice person, we all knew that already. Moving on...)

I was listening to the song not all that long ago, and - as tends to be the case with bits like this - some of it spoke out to me more, or differently, than it did when I first heard the song back in 1999.

In 1999, I was newly married. I was still holding down an 8:30-5pm job at a Big Insurance Company. My husband worked at the same company, and we got together every day for lunch. We lived in a small city in western Virginia and did the laundry at my mom's house every weekend because our apartment complex's coin-op was terrible.

In 2008, I'm almost 10 years older, and probably more like 20 years wiser. In those ten years, I've lived through corporate layoffs, gotten fired for refusing to tell lies, stood up with my mother at her wedding, been in a life-changing car accident, watched the Twin Tower collapse in fire and smoke live on television, lost my last living grandparent, became a mother...

Do one thing, every day, that scares you.

Sometimes, waking up in the morning, scares me. Walking past my daughter's crib sometimes scared me... the mutant part of my brain that still wonders if some day I'll discover she died in her sleep. I'm pretty sure that's not what Ms. Schmidt had in mind... she meant... be adventurous.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

I don't think she really meant you should - on a daily basis - do something stupidly risky. Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes or take up mountain climbing on a whim, with no equipment or spotting buddy and try to scale up a cliff somewhere. She probably also didn't mean to drive too fast and cut people off just for the adrenaline rush.

I like to think she meant... take risks. Don't live as a prisoner to fear. Don't avoid something that needs to be done just because you're afraid. Tell someone you love them first, rather than waiting to be safe, after they've already said it. Make that doctor's appointment to get that lump checked out. Call your mother. Even if - especially if - you haven't spoken to her in years. Forgive an old enemy, even if they don't care anymore. Try something new, even if you think you'll fail. Especially if you think you'll fail. No one learns anything by succeeding the first time.

Yesterday, I decided to attempt a cartwheel.

I haven't turned a cartwheel in... oh, twenty years. I actually remember the very last time I did one... I was showing off my gymnastic skills to a guy I was sweet on... (In high school, I was pretty agile and could do handsprings and cartwheel off a balance beam and stuff like that...) and I forgot to tuck my shirt in before I flipped over. Or, perhaps subconsciously, I wanted to flash him a peek at my bra...

It was late summer and we had a boombox outside on a hill. Hungry Like the Wolf was playing. The lawn was green and fresh trimmed, and Allen had been blowing dandelion puffs at me. I still had little white seedpods in my hair. We were talking and joking around, and he insisted that I prove I could do a handspring. So I stood up, flipped my hair back, and did a cartwheel and two handsprings in a row before falling over and getting grass stains all over my knees.

Allen was impressed - or at least, he was faking it convincingly - and at some point later that day, he kissed me while we were sitting under a mesh of pine trees. It was one of those awkward, sweet kisses between two people who really have no idea what they're doing, but liking it anyway, the kind that tingles down from lips to navel, filling your stomach up with butterflies and sending spots of light flashing behind closed eyelids.

I haven't turned one since.

Until yesterday.

I was terrified. But I did it anyway. And for just a moment, just the tiniest second, I was that girl again...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Weight One Minute!

Once again, my "feelings" and my weigh in were not lined up.

I never understand that. (Despite my post yesterday, I wasn't really feeling too negative about my weight loss for the week... I just wanted to talk about the money thing and my poor opened box of chocolate bars...) It doesn't seem to matter how I feel, it always does not go. If I feel fat, I lose weight. If I'm depressed and angry when I walk in the door, I did good. If I'm upbeat and cheerful, fate smacks me in the face and I've gained. And it does seem in direct proportion...

For example: I bought new clothes this weekend. I knew that my 18s were way too big. I've been holding them up with a belt and a prayer recently. My size 16 pants fit, and there was a smallish gap in them, but it's summer, and only a masochist wears pants in the summer in Virginia. (Yes, I'm talking about you, Miss Sweatpants Queen...) Still, playing around with Darcy in the front yard - jumping ROPE of all things. Me! Jumping ROPE! - my shorts fell down.

Time to get new shorts, right? Right. So we hit up the Target, and I started scoping out the selections. I almost bought a horrible pair of lime green shorts just because they were god-awful (yes, I do that. I have one of the ugliest stuffed animals on the planet because it was just so ugly I had to have it...) but decided to get the maroon ones instead. I went to the changing room with a pair of 16s, a 14 and a 12 (just in case.) and some large and medium shirts.

I decided to try the 14 on, and they fit perfectly. I was quite pleased. When I lost all the weight from being on the gestational diabetes diet while I was pregnant, I never got back into 14s. I held up the medium shirt. I looked at it. "This is so never gonna fit me," I muttered. But I pulled it on anyway, and was moderately astonished that it did.

Yesterday, I took a picture of myself and was actually happy with the picture. That's a first!

So, when I went into the meeting, I was expecting to get my 45 pound bling.

Yeah... yeah yeah yeah. I'm up a pound this week.


So, no bling. I spent the rest of the meeting fuming.

(Ok, I'm a bad person, I admit it. Thomas was up 1.4 this week as well, so I feel slightly better about it. At least I didn't have to put up with his weight loss...)

I'd love to have a reason for this. I'd love to point at this, or that, or the other and say "oh, well, here's the problem."

Except I can't. Not for sure. I haven't been journaling for... oh, probably 8 weeks at this point. I think it might be that I've been missing bread recently, so every day for the last week or so, I've been eating a weight watcher's english muffin and some weight watcher's cream cheese. This is only 2 flex points, but I generally also have a Skinny Cow Popsicle in the evening, too. That's flex points. Per day. That's 21 points right there of my flexies. And we ate out at Applebee's this weekend. Now I was "good" in that I only had half my roll-up (7 points) and about half my fries (10 points)... still 21 + 17 does not equal 35. I probably used more points than that this week. I seem to recall my mexi-chicken dish as having a few points because I was out of fat free cheese and used low-fat instead... so, I probably went over my flex points by a considerable chunk.

Starting last week, Thomas and I are on the pay-by-the-month plan for Weight Watchers. This includes free access to the eTools, so I am going to start tracking what I eat again this week and get myself back into the habit of logging my food somewhere. You know, when I started Weight Watchers, I was logging in my journal, and logging here on my blog, and logging on the Daily Plate... I think I logged myself out... and even trying to cut back to logging in one place, I just wasn't keeping up with it.

Of course, it could also be the scale. There's three scales in the Center, and we usually weigh in on Beth's scale, but we were running late yesterday and she'd already started the meeting, so we had to weigh in on Fran's. Thomas thinks that Fran's scale is "off." I haven't really been paying attention myself...

Doesn't matter. This pesky pound is NOT allowed to stay, he is being evicted immediately, and while I'm at it, a few of his friends can go away as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Emergency Chocolate and Other Depreciated Resourses

Back when I was first starting this whole Weight Watcher's/Healthy Lifestyle thing, I was trying to think of something else to motivate me. Knowing myself as well as I did, I knew that the numbers on the scale were just not going to cut it.

It doesn't even matter what the numbers are; I'm seldom happy with them. I can lose .6 pounds, I can lose 2.6 pounds... I can gain .6 pounds and my general feeling about it tends to range from extreme disappointment to not quite satisfied. It's enormously frustrating for me, everyone who's read here for any length of time will know this as well as I do: I have an enormous attitude problem. This should not come as a shock for anyone.

So, I was sitting around thinking... I should pay myself for my weight loss. Why not? I'd always meant to put away the money I was saving when I quit smoking, but it never quite worked out that way. I'm terrible with money, I'll admit that. If I have it, I'll spend over saving any day of the week. Even when I try to save money up, I'm not very good at it. Last year, I did however manage to put away almost $500 for Christmas cash. I did it this way: Every time we got money out of the ATM for things like Laundry Quarters or day-trips, I would withdraw an extra $20 - $40 and I put the cash in this hollow book I have. At the end of the year, I had somewhere around $500 and I used that money to buy Christmas presents and whatnot... it worked out fairly well.

And I thought I could do that again this year. Put away some cash for every pound I lost. Originally, I thought I'd go with $1 per pound, but honestly, even with as much weight as I have to lose, that's what, $94? What could I possibly buy for $94 that I wouldn't just GO OUT AND BUY? So, I decided that $10 a pound would work out well. At the end of my weight loss journey, I'd have $900 and that would be money well worth rewarding myself with. Right?

You know what they say about the plans of mice and men, right?

Yeah. So a few months back, we had to buy a new (used) car. (There really ought to be a better way to phrase that. It's not a new car, it's a shoddy piece of crap, and the only advantage it has is that it passed inspection in April, so I don't have to worry about inspection for almost a year... so it's not a new car. And it's not another car either, since that implies that we have more than one car. Whatever. It's like the air conditioning... do you turn the AC up or down when you want to make it less cold in the house? Turning the knob, you're turning it up, but that makes it warmer, therefore, turning the AC down... confusion abounds! Does anyone else worry about stuff like this, or is it just me?) In order to afford the new (used) car, I had to dip into my weight money. I took $200 out of what was, at the time, about $260... with the clear understanding that I would replace this money as soon as possible.

Oh, the plans of mice and men....

There's about $94 in there at the moment. There should be $446. And now, since there's such a big gap between where it should be and where it is, I don't know if I can POSSIBLY replace that... I mean, we literally do not have $350 to spare. (This would have, partially, to do with the fact that my house has a wild gremlin in it. Again. The car breaks and we have to get a new one. The vacuum cleaner had to be replaced. The DVD player went on the fritz. And now my digital camera is acting up. Will stuff PLEASE stop BREAKING? Please?)

And even if I was to replace the money, it seems like such a bigger deal - more financially taxing - than it did at the beginning of the year when I was day-dreaming about a 1k shopping spree... now, if I put the $350 back, it's being selfish and greedy and putting us at financial risk... and it seems silly to start over now, even though I have another 50 pounds or so to lose before I reach goal... I don't know why it seems this way, since you know, a $500 shopping spree is still a lot of money. And it's not likely that I'm going to hit my weight goal any time soon...

So I have the time to replenish that cash pool.

But it's like that all the time... once I get off track, it seems so damn hard, or useless, to get back ON TRACK.

I know, it's not logical... it's like getting a ding in your car, and deciding while your car has some scratched paint you may as well slam the hood in, back into a dump truck, and take a baseball bat to the windshield. All in the same afternoon. And yet, I keep doing it. I stumble on the stairs, and yes, I do contemplate throwing myself down the rest of the flight just out of spite. May as well fuck up really well, as long as I'm going to feel like a fuck up.

It's not an uncommon failing. I see it all the time on these weight loss/healthy lifestyle blogs... "Oh, I went off plan for lunch, so I may as well start over tomorrow. Pass the potato chips. And some of that ranch dressing. Not the low-fat kind, either. May as well be hung for a dragon as the egg."

Then... we come to my other motivational mishap...

My emergency chocolate.

I have a weakness for very expensive chocolate. And it's a weakness in two ways. The first is, I really, really want to eat it. At the same time, my "we never have enough money" self doesn't want to eat it, because then it's gone and I don't have it anymore. The whole "can't have your cake and eat it" problem... Drove my husband nuts. He'd buy me chocolates for Valentines Day and come November, I've still got half a box stashed in my drawer somewhere. One year, for Christmas, getting sick of my weirdness with chocolate, he bought me something like 12 boxes of chocolate covered cherries. (yes, this might be why I gained so much extra weight the second year we were married.)

And no, this weirdness doesn't apply to cheap chocolate. I'll happily scarf five or ten fun-sized twix bars in a single sitting. (because, you know, those fun sized bars have less calories, so I can eat 10 and be fine, whereas I'd consider myself to be pigging out if I ate 2 full sized candy bars.)


I have a small packet of very expensive chocolate. It's that really dark stuff, 85% cocoa... I got three tiny bars of it in a little box. The whole deal is about the size of a two matchboxes. Cost me $5...

And I've been carrying them around in my purse since January with the idea that, should my willpower ever flag badly, and I really wanted to go off the reservation and have a triple chocolate cake with the little chips on top of it, or something else horrendously off-plan... I'd have one of these little chocolate bars instead...

Since we started Weight Watchers in January, I have not had to eat a single bar.

While I have had "bad" food, I have not actually gone off-plan at all. Which is not to say that I haven't had a slice of triple chocolate cake, because I have... just that I've planned for it, accounted for it, and always been within my alloted flex points.

(Sorry, had to leave and go make lunch, as it's almost 2pm and I haven't eaten today... doing my typical stupid weigh-in day thing where I always seem to avoid eating much... )

Anyway, I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Thomas is hypoglycemic. Essentially, it means that his blood sugar dips from time to time, he gets dizzy and irritable, sometime to the point of being angry and irrational. Sometimes this accompanied by near-fainting spells, trembling in the hands, and blurred vision.

Because he is an ass (which is to say that he jumps all over my case for avoiding a doctor, not liking to take medication if I need it, and otherwise preferring to just complain about an illness rather than doing something about it, and yet, does exactly the same thing himself) he doesn't take medication for this condition, nor do we monitor it in any meaningful way. Generally speaking, it's not a very severe condition. As long as he eats regularly, he doesn't suffer from a low-blood sugar episode. As a side-effect of us going on Weight Watchers, he's had only two of these attacks since the beginning of the year, which is much better than last year, where he was having them at least once every two weeks.

The solution, when he starts getting shaky and irrational, is to feed him. Usually something with a high sugar content, easily digestible; juice, chocolate, a full-sugar soda. Something to equalize his blood sugar quickly. He'll still feel bad for a few hours after we get him stabilized (and I usually take this time when I know he has a headache and feels sick to lecture him about how he ought to eat more regularly, and that I'm sure he knows that if he actually passes out that there's no way in hell I can carry him, and really, you'd think he'd learn better by now... etc etc) but at least we get past the crises stage easily.

The last time he had an episode, we were out. On the top of Mount Trashmore, as a further matter of fact, with no food within easy reach.

I sacrificed one of my emergency chocolate bars to him, so that I could get him off the mountain and down to a 7-11 where we could get him better equalized.

I've been really proud of myself for having those little candy bars, untouched, in my purse. A symbol, as you will, of my success. I haven't gone off-plan. I've splurged, but I've planned my splurges. The unopened box of chocolate was a trophy of my willpower. An icon to my dedication...

And now it's open.

And for some reason, being open... makes it more tempting. I mean, it's open now. It doesn't mean as much as it used to. I could, without a problem, just eat the other two bars.


This is me... throwing myself down the stairs. (Except I still haven't eaten them. And Thomas had to "borrow" my chocolate three weeks ago, at this point... so they've been in my purse, still uneaten by me... maybe I'm doing better than I think I am.)



Friday, August 1, 2008

Fee to Check Bags

I accept that I have baggage, you know. I don't know a single overweight person who doesn't have some issues... ( I'm sure skinny people have issues too, I just wouldn't know anything about them.)

[My husband would like to pretend he doesn't have issues, but this is the man who wouldn't give me roses for the first seven years of our relationship because when he sent roses to a girl he liked back in college (bad timing for him, as he sent them about two days after she'd gotten together with someone else, but he didn't know that) she never spoke to him again.

One incident, and he decides the ROSES were the problem. So I got carnations. Or tulips. And honestly, it wasn't so much that I have a yen for roses, because I don't. I tend to prefer lilies anyway... but the fact that he wouldn't do it because of some other girl... yeah, I had a problem with it... a problem that was promptly stopped when a girlfriend of mine sent me - ok, technically speaking, her D&D character sent my D&D character - roses... real ones... no, I'm not the only person with issues.]

Wow. I got sidetracked there... why do you people let me run on like that? Don't you know better by now?


Obviously, I have them. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't be overweight and constantly ragging on myself, and if I wasn't doing those things, then I probably wouldn't keep a blog. Does anyone keep a blog who doesn't have issues?

One of my biggest issues is with my parents. (It's one of the reasons I'm so scared to death about being a parent myself. I dread the days to come when my child sits down with one of her best friends and cries herself sick about how terrible a parent I am.)

Admittedly, my dad and I get on a lot better than we used to. And he is working to improve the relationship (most of the time) and so am I. I think as long as we're working on the issue, even if things never exactly square between us, that we're pretty much golden.

However, there still comes those awkward moments... those projections of mine, and thoughtlessness of his, that sort of jumble the hell out of a conversation.

He and my step-mom are taking Darcy for a week; August 9th to the 15th I will be CHILD FREE! Huzzah! Anyway, I called him to start tacking down details... and during the conversation, we got onto other topics.

"So, how much weight have you lost?" (It's been a while since we've talked for more than a few minutes.)

"About 45 pounds." (That's close enough for government work, and very likely to be true in fact by the time I see him.)


"And Thomas has lost 52."

"Well, you two are proof that the plan works..."

"... as long as you work the plan," I finish his sentence with him. "Really, any plan would have some results. It's not taking off the weight that is the hard part. It's keeping it off." Honestly, I don't know anything about maintenance, but that's what I'm told... as hard and frustrating and nerve-wracking as losing weight has been, I haven't seen anything yet as far as frustration, pain, and stress goes. Oh. Joi.

"Don't I know it," says my dad. "I should go back to Weight Watchers."

"Oh, what happened?" I say, sarcasm dripping. "Did you forget to get a haircut?"

"I've put on about twenty-five pounds, actually."

"Oh, really?" Ok, I'm a bad person. And I have issues. And god as my witness, I'm such a bitch. I get serious amounts of schadenfreude whenever my father fails. It doesn't happen all that often... which would probably be why I get such searing delight out of it.

"Yep," he says. "And if they can help you take off fifty pounds, then they ought to be able to help me take off twenty-five."

Subtext: If you, slack, lazy, fat, slobby, worthless person, can lose fifty pounds, surely, me in my perfection, could take off merely half that. Because, you know, I don't let a bad thing go on as long as you do before I do something about it. Bet I can do it in half the time, too.

I know. I know. He didn't say that. But that's what I heard.

Yeah. I have baggage. Lots and lots of baggage.