Quarterly Date Night on Saint Patrick’s Day

Once you have kids, you realize that date nights are few and far between. Add to that the whole Army life, moving every few years, and a good solid fear of babysitters.

I’m not afraid of babysitters. That would be irrational. I am more untrustworthy. I need to know a person for about a million years before I can trust them with my kids. And then my kids being the spirited, wild children that they are, the job of babysitter really needs to come with hazard duty pay.

And then of course there’s my messiness, and the fact that I don’t want people to see my messy counters or 2 laundry baskets of Waiting-to-be-Folded clothes. There has to be trust–or a good solid week to clean.

After all is said and done, Justin and I rarely go out. The last time we had date night, it was to go to the military ball in December. You know, where my dress was really pretty, but really tight, making my ribs unable to expand, and me left breathing shallow.

I planned this night over a month ago. Originally we were going to run a 5k and see Transpotting 2 on opening night, because it was supposed to come out on 17 March, and I’m pretty super excited for the 20-years-later sequel. Well, the powers that be have decided that Transpotting 2 shouldn’t come out for 2 more weeks. It’s fine. It just means we get 2 date nights in one month, which is pretty intense for us.

That leaves us with a 5k. We are running a 5k on date night. Nothing says “I love you” like getting sweaty  and out of breath during a 3.1 mile run. Probably in the rain. Followed by dinner and drinks (for Justin. Because I’ll be driving. And I really don’t drink). Sweaty dinner. With me probably stinky. Because I’m gross. I can’t help it. All I can really hope for is that the rain will wash away some of my gross. But in all honestly, that can’t happen. Unless I bring soap.

Justin: “What’s in your armband? That is not a phone.”

Me: “No, I left my phone in the car and decided I’d be better off sticking a bar of Dove in there. 2 birds, one stone? Maybe?”

I guess the best part is, I’m not a runner. I do a lot of running, but I am by no means a runner. More a faux runner (faux being pronounced FAUX in the proper Justinese). I only decided around this time in 2014 to BECOME a runner. Prior to that, my random announcements that I would start running always ended abruptly. Usually after going out for a proposed 2 mile run, which always turned into about a .2 mile run, and then a wheezy walk back to the house. Meanwhile, Justin has been a runner basically his entire life. Up until the great hamstring tear of 2016, a slow run would be at a 8 or 9 min mile pace. For me, that is basically a sprint from start to finish. There is nothing slow about that. Now he swears he’s slow–we’ll see. I have only said about ten thousand times, “please do not feel obligated to run with me.”

Of course, what would make a 5k with your runner husband better? Oh, you know, deciding that this would be a good morning to start the Friday Kettle Bell class. Knowing full well that the instructor is intense. If you live on Fort Knox, or you are near Fort Knox and military affiliated, and have NOT taken a class with Terry Turner, do yourself a favor and take one. What was I thinking though?! My legs are sore, my arms feel like jello, and I’m going to run tonight?! I chose a 5k for date night?! Justin, carry me.

Food Karma

I love food. I really do. My love for food outweighs my desire to be thinner, and I would REALLY like to be thinner. I can’t even attempt to deny it. Sweets will forever be my downfall.

Monday night, I let the kids each choose a place to get “special dinner,” which is a nice way of saying Fast Food. Justin was flying home from California (lucky–he never lets me go in his place on any work trips. Every time I say, “this time you stay home with the kids and I’ll go to,” wherever he’s headed, he just laughs at me. Not cool, Steeves), and we were at gymnastics until 6pm. So, after stopping at McDonald’s for Xander (his only requirement for fast food is a toy), we went to Taco Bell for Shea (her only requirement is Taco Bell. Every. Single. Time). Even though I told myself I wouldn’t do it, I went ahead and ordered a dozen (don’t judge me) Cinnabon Delights. They are so flipping amazing, and I really can’t help myself. Halfway home, I popped one in my mouth. And it was so……..


What just happened!? I waited a minute and tried to figure out what exactly was wrong with my taste buds. I smelled them.

Taco seasoning?

I ate another. Sugary goodness, followed by a definite Tongue-on-Fire sensation.

This is the Universe punishing me for deciding to eat those super unhealthy, amazing balls of empty calories.

Xander said I looked like a princess from Candy Land. I have a hard time being normal.

This is also not the first time Food Karma has gotten me. Back in early December, toward the end of my grocery trip, I decided to treat myself to a (small) container of Nutella. Did I need it? No. Did I have to be able to fit into my military ball gown in less than a week? Yes. At the register I realized the top was broken-no big deal, I’ll probably eat this little baby container in one sitting (I told you not to judge). Of course then the cashier opened it and pointed out that the foil was broken, and asked if I wanted to go grab another one. I knew right there, this was my dress sending me a warning across the universe. Stop. You don’t need to be “treating” yourself to a tub of Nutella days before cramming yourself into a dress that is already a tight squeeze!

Thanks, Karma. As it was, I spent the military ball breathing shallow, and by the time we got home, I was pretty sure I just might pass out from the lack of oxygen. How in the world did women wear corsets!? I like my oxygen plentiful, and my lungs to be able to fully inhale. But my dress sure was pretty.

This time, the universe was probably telling me to stop whining when the number on the scale goes up. Or stop eating things like Cinnabon Delights. Instead, Shea helped herself to them.

“Shea, someone made a mistake and used something spicy when making these. Are you sure you still want one?” She then ate it and told me it only tasted spicy because she had eaten Fiesta Potatoes. The next morning she asked for a couple more, and then told me they were only spicy because I warmed them up in the microwave. She does not believe in Food Karma. Obviously I’m just doing something to make them taste spicy.

I should probably stop telling the Universe my intentions. I send my skinny thoughts out into the world, and they aren’t coming back in the form I would like them to. I would prefer to just lift weights and run and eat unhealthy deliciousness, and still lose weight. Instead, it comes back to me in the form of food sabotage. Thanks, Universe. Maybe I should appreciate and accept my Food Karma. Maybe I should practice a little more self-control.

You Have That…Different Kind of Smell

Ah, genetics. And antidepressants. Thank you both for making me the sweaty girl I am today. What would I do without you.

Well, probably not spend my days thinking, “do I stink? I am SO sweaty. I wish it were hotter out so I could justify the amount of back sweat I have right now. I bet I stink.”

One part is genetics. My Mom tells an adorable story about how when I was little I’d sit next to my Dad when he got home from work and exclaim, “Dad? You have that…different kind of smell.” Now, that’s me. Thanks Dad.

Then there’s Justin. He sweats. Obviously. Justin works out a lot, and he sweats. And then he smells…like…deodorant. Even when he worked at Ranger School and would spend most of his summers NOT wearing antiperspirant OR deodorant (something about stinky students not being allowed to have either, and the need to sweat because of heat stroke, which is a very real thing in the summer in Georgia when you spend 24hrs outside in ACUs and boots and a hat, with a giant backpack full of whatever Army guys fill their backpacks with–super important cool stuff, obviously, since they don’t even call it a backpack–it’s a “Ruck.” Whatever, it’s a backpack). EITHER WAY, Justin would come home, sweaty, covered in mud, or whatever other gross he had traipsed through in the last 24 hours before coming home. He would take off his top, hand me his t-shirt and say, “ok, for real. I STINK. Smell this.” And I would. Because that’s what wives do. Well, maybe not all wives, but that’s what I do. Because I’m weird like that. And his shirt would stink–like laundry detergent. His sweat actually activated the laundry detergent! What in the world!? I walk to the mailbox and back and Justin will tell me I stink, and I probably do. Or maybe he’s just mean. But mostly it’s that I probably, definitely stink.

Add to the mix my antidepressants. My “thanks for making me not want to yell at everyone, or spent the rest of my life curled up in a ball on my couch under a blanket watching Netflix and eating ice cream,” antidepressants. Side effect: May Cause Excessive Sweating. The first weekend I was on it (years ago. While Justin was in “Handstands,” as Shea adorably referred to Afghanistan), Shea had been invited to a birthday party of a girl in her dance class. Fabulous. A get-together with people I don’t know. We of course show up, and the guest list includes the grandparents, and the mom’s best friend. And us. A random girl from dance. Everyone knew everyone. And I was sweating so much. SO MUCH. It didn’t help that it was a hot weekend. But seriously, the sweating wouldn’t stop. Hostess mom kept asking if I was OK, and if I’d rather we sit inside. “What?! No! It’s a beautiful day!” A beautiful, sweaty, awkward day. Hostess Mom’s husband didn’t speak, except to whisper things to her, and then they would giggle and she would share it with the group. Her parents chain smoked and stared at the awkward sweaty girl no one knew. Her best friend also stared at me in a bizarre way–who knows, maybe it was all in my head. I was only a couple days into my new meds. So the paranoia could’ve been in full swing still. I tried to think of things to say to get some sort of random conversation going: “The trees on this side of post are beautiful! They are so big, and old, and provide so much shade! We have no big trees where I am.” She asked where that was, and when I told her, it was conversation: over. Because Army Wives are weird like that. Not all of them–but a good chunk. Ladies and gentlemen, being an Army spouse is not at all like any silly tv show you have ever seen. It’s awkward, and uncomfortable, and I can count on one hand the wife friends I have made along the way. This was not an encounter that would lead to any amount of friendships. In fact, here it is nearly 4 years later, and I could not tell you a single name of anyone who was there. I CAN tell you that I got home and immediately read the label on my antidepressants and thought “maybe it’s time to cut back on the coffee.”

For the amount I sweat on a daily basis, you would think I’d be a twig. Not so. But I am forever asking, “is it hot in here? I am so hot right now!”

I’m always hot. And I’m always sweaty. Even when I’m cold, I’m probably sweaty. At an appointment, the Nurse Practitioner who prescribes my drugs asked if I had issues with any side effects: “just the sweating.” She told me to drink lots of water and wear less clothing. I spent 50% of my day in a bathing suit! I can’t wear any less than that without being horribly inappropriate!

The ever-adoring Justin told me this past weekend that he’s smelled Afghani women who stank less than me. I’m assuming because of the burka and the lack of deodorant and running water. Thanks dear, I love you too. In my defense, I had just come back from a run, but I doubt that made any difference. If sweating releases the “toxins,” I am, without a doubt, the least toxic person you’ve ever met. Unless I’m just covered in sweaty toxins, which in that case, I’m probably the most toxic person you’ve ever met.

Also, possibly the stinkiest. I’m still blaming genes…and antidepressants. And possibly my inability to remember to shower on a daily basis. Ok, I’m gross, I can admit that. At least Justin still loves me. Because he has to. Because he’s been told he is stuck with me until death. Regardless of how he feels about it. He’s trapped. Because I love him. My little, stink-free, security blanket husband.

I’m on a Boat!

Ok, I’m not on a boat. But I made a little, itty bitty, mistake last night, and spent the afternoon feeling like I was on a boat. Or drunk. Or Captain Jack Sparrow. Or maybe all three.

I take my antidepressants at night, somewhere between brushing my teeth and taking my contacts out. I’m also REALLY good about remembering to take them, because if I don’t, well, come noon the following day, I get that “I’m on a boat” feeling. I remember looking down at the bottle. And I also remember telling myself, “as soon as I’m done brushing my teeth, I’m going to take that. But, that bottle is weird. It normally doesn’t come in the original packaging. Usually they put it in the typical meds bottle. I wonder why they didn’t this time. Wow, we’re almost out of contact solution…” and that’s probably how I managed to forget.

Justin had the day off, and had asked me out to lunch in the most romantic way ever:

“Sam, what are you doing Friday?”

“Teaching water aerobics. What are you doing?”

“I want Song’s.”

I coerced a couple of people to come in and guard the rest of my shift, and after jumping around on the pool deck for an hour, while old ladies complained about basically everything I did (they are little rays of sunshine. Actually, they’re more like dark, nasty rainclouds who think you can talk to young people with sass and attitude. I’m fighting the good fight and really trying to kill them with kindness). And then it was off to lunch!

Justin and I rarely go out to eat, but when we do, there’s this little Korean restaurant with the most amazing food. It’s so spicy, I feel like my face is melting and I can breathe fire. But it is SO good. About the time we were finishing our meals, I looked over at Justin and suddenly that wavy-weird feeling started coming over me. “Oh Justin. I think I forgot to take my anti-depressant last night. Please remind me to take it when we get home.”

As if any reminding was necessary. Home again, anti-depressant taken, I laid down on the couch with the puppies, hoping that weird feeling would go away.

He is a laundry-folding machine!

I watched Justin be a rad housewife, as he folded the 5 baskets of laundry that were hanging out in front of the couch (I don’t want to talk about it). Every now and then I called out, “I’m on a boat!” Because, I basically was. Not really, but the feeling is so bizarre.

These drugs reduce my need to scream at every person I meet. They also make me much less paranoid and self-conscious. Which is a good thing, because they ALSO make me super sweaty. I was a sweaty girl to begin with, but like Emeril, these really kick it up a notch. I’ve accepted it. Probably because we spent 3 years of our married life living in Georgia, where if you aren’t sweating, it’s probably a sign that you’re suffering from heat stroke.

I fell asleep watching tv (and had bizarre and horrifyingly weird/realistic dreams, again, thanks to antidepressant withdrawal). By the time I woke up, the laundry was mostly folded, Justin was playing with his new watch, and I was no longer on a boat. I no longer wanted to walk around with my hands out, Jack Sparrow style. So, I headed to the pool to get some work done. It’s good to be off the boat. I hate feeling weird.

Lies. I always feel weird. I hate feeling chemically weird. It’s a good thing I RARELY forget to take them-maybe 6 times a year. I might forget to shower, put clothes on, get my housework done, but I almost ALWAYS remember my antidepressants. If I want to feel wavy-weird, I’ll spin around and make myself dizzy. And If I want to feel like I’m on a boat, I’ll find a boat and get on it.


I’m a Beached Whale!

Summer 2002. I had a waist!

I used to be skinny. Didn’t we all? Society says we all should be, right? All women should be a size nothing, with a thigh gap.

Until you are, and then people think it’s ok to say things about your too-small size.

What I wouldn’t GIVE to be skinny now like I was 15 years ago. Even 10 years ago. I mean, I wouldn’t give up my ice cream. Or most foods. Ok, I love food, and if you tell me I have to give it up to be skinny again, I’ll have to take a pass.

When I WAS 115lbs, at 5’8, people saw nothing wrong with making comments about my being too skinny. Asking questions like, “do you ever eat?” Some would wait until I left the room and then would ask my friends if I was anorexic, and heaven forbid if I went to the bathroom after eating, because obviously I must have been making myself throw up.

Why is it so hard to accept that some people are just twigs?

I had some pretty awesome friends back in the day, and I earned some ironic nicknames: Shamu, Fat Chick, Chubby Fat-Ass. These names were given in response to the ridiculous questions people would ask my friends. Like, “does she eat? Does she have an eating disorder?” The people I was close to knew these questions drove me crazy! I was self-conscious enough about my bone-protruding figure. Their responses would be something along the lines of, “that fat chick? What are you talking about!? She’s HUGE!” I always appreciated the people in my life who stood up to the skinny-shaming in my defense.

Of course now Justin smiles and says, “oh Bubba,” when I throw my Fat Chick sweatshirt on. Not because I AM fat (he’d say otherwise. Because he loves me. He has the self-esteem of a 14-year-old girl, so he can’t say anything), but I’m certainly not the underweight waif I once was.

I’m writing this in honor of a young friend of mine. We work out together. She has the elusive thigh gap, and she’s somewhere in the most desirable size 0-2 range. And she hates it. HATES it.

I can’t take myself seriously.

Let me take you back in time, to the summer of 2015. I had just been hired on as a lifeguard, after my 6 year hiatus from aquatics. Starting back at the bottom. Easily 12+ years older than everyone. And here was this super skinny girl with a bubbly personality, who laughed at everything, and was obviously liked by everyone. I immediately thought, “if only 18-22 year old me had that confidence and was happy with her size. This girl knows what she has.”

Come to find out, she doesn’t. Protein shakes, cheeseburgers, and lifting, all in an attempt to gain weight and shrink her thigh gap.

Shrink her thigh gap?!?! Is she crazy?!?!

In the time that I’ve gotten to know her, I realized she is equally the self-conscious skinny girl I once was.

If it isn’t ok to walk up to a person who is overweight and say, “damn, you’re huge,” why is it ok to say to a skinny girl, “do you ever eat?” Or “you look like you just escaped a concentration camp,” or “where’s your butt?” These people aren’t funny, and they aren’t friends. It is not ok to make fun of anyone, but don’t for one second think that skinny equals happy. We all have our own self-esteem monsters we’re fighting.

Her frustration is not lost on me. I know all too well the way people talk. Is it jealousy, or envy, or do they honestly think it’s funny? We are told every day that we, as women, should be no bigger than a model size 6, and anything larger is “overweight.” So, why tease the girl who indeed IS the “proper size?”

Every time she complains (probably because she’s sick of the “too skinny” comments), and says, “I WISH I could gain weight!” I warn her-be careful what you wish for, because someday you’ll be in your 30s, and you’ll weigh 50lbs more than you did at 22. And you’ll wish you could just drop 20lbs without giving up your ice cream (this is by far, the most important stipulation to any serious diet and exercise plan–do I get to keep my ice cream). And you’ll think, “I wish I had been less self-conscious then.” Telling her these things is my way of telling 20-something me to be happy and comfortable being skinny.

Everyone, every day, should wake up and look in the mirror and focus on the positives! If we could just stop wishing we could be something else. You’re fabulous, whether you need to lay off the ice cream, or enjoy another pint.