Update: My readers and me

I know my potential reading glasses have been the talk of the town since I posted about the possibility of needing them earlier this week. All I can read on the interwebs is, “Will she or won’t she buy the readers?!?” I’m here to update you and put your mind at ease.

I went to the optometrist yesterday and got good news and bad news. The good news: It was all in my imagination and I don’t need reading glasses in any way!

Just kidding. I totally need reading glasses. That’s the bad news. The good news is that my ability to see distance has improved a lot. I don’t know how that happened. I’m told it comes with age, but I’d like to think that all those eye workouts I did (eye lunges, eye push-ups, eye squats) finally paid off! Yipee!

After I was given a new and improved prescription for my contact lenses, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy some readers. Hey, maybe I’d even try to stay  positive and embrace it! I headed over to Walgreens and was trying really hard to feel AOK about it, and was succeeding until I saw this:

 

As you can see from the photograph, the readers are on the far right at the end of the aisle. But what did I encounter on the WAY to the readers? Well, all the things somebody buying readers might also need according to Walgreens. You’ll immediately notice the walker just a few feet away. Upon closer inspection, I found a toilet safety rail, a raised toilet seat, a foam cushion to sit on for when I guess your hemorrhoids are flaring up, and replacement wheels for the above-mentioned walker.

I’m not going to lie: it was really hard to embrace this new stage of my life after seeing this. I walked by the display and began to peruse the selection of readers, but the minutes ticked by. I was feeling more and more yucky about it and, most importantly, couldn’t find a style that wasn’t hideous. I finally freaked out and had to leave.

After I gave myself a stern talking-to, I decided to take a trip to this trendy glasses store and pick out a pair there. I figured then I would feel like was going shopping for “a fashion statement accessory.” Yeah, that was the ticket.

After lots of moaning and groaning (I’m sure the saleswoman in the shop just loved me), I finally decided on a pair:

So there you have it. FYI, I did not get a chain so I could wear them around my neck and always know where they are, but you never know. My husband says I might need one because the next thing to go is the memory. He is just hilarious.

 

Read it and weep

I’ve been in denial for a while now about something that, at first, I thought was no big deal. But things have escalated quickly. And they say the first step in fixing a problem is admitting that there is a problem.

So fine. I’ll just put it out there in black and white. Damn it, I don’t want to admit this, but I need freaking reading glasses.

Ugh. Just the worst.

I guess it was about a year ago when I noticed something had…shifted. I would look at the back of DVD covers to see how long a particular movie was, but I couldn’t quite make out the numbers next to the minutes. I’d move the DVD closer and then further away and then closer to my face once again, but even when I squinted, I couldn’t read it clearly. I laughed it off.

“Oh, who can even read these DVD covers anyway? The type is so tiny!” which was then followed by an overly enthusiastic, hysterical laugh, and by “hysterical” I don’t mean funny; I mean characterized by actual hysteria.

As the months went by, I noticed that here and there I was having trouble seeing things up close. I couldn’t take a photograph and see what I was snapping on the screen clearly. I’d be in a restaurant and have difficulty reading the menu. And if there was dim mood lighting, forget about it. I joked about/seriously considered placing a magnifying glass by all the DVDs so I could read the print on the backs with ease.

I want to be clear about this though–I wear contacts for distance and have for 20 years. When I’m not wearing my contacts, I can see perfectly well up close (even though I can’t see three feet in front of me). It’s only when I’m wearing my contacts that I have trouble seeing nearby things.

I reasoned that the problem lie in my contact lenses. I convinced myself pretty adamantly that this was in fact the case. Until one day, my husband came along and ruined everything:

Me: “I really think I need a new prescription. These contacts are preventing me from seeing up close.”

My husband: “It has nothing to do with your contacts.”

Me: “What are you talking about? Of course it does. I see fine up close when I’m not wearing them.”

My husband: “Your eyes can’t accommodate anymore.”

Me: “Say what now?”

My husband: “Your eyes can’t accommodate. They can’t adjust quickly from distance to up close anymore.”

Me: “Oh yeah? Well, why is it just happening now? I’ve never had that problem before.”

My husband: “Because it happens as you age. You just need reading glasses.”

Me: *eye twitching*

Dreams: shattered. Delusions of grandeur: well, un-delusioned. How could this be? How am I old enough to need reading glasses?!? Who is that blurry person staring back at me in the mirror? I don’t even know anymore.

What would living with reading glasses even look like? How do you access your readers throughout the day without having them on your person at all times? I’m not going to carry them around in my hand or my purse and have to rifle through that all the time. That must be why people hang their readers on chains from their necks. Like librarians. And now apparently me. I totally get that now. It’s a nifty solution.

I know what you’re going to say. Just wear bifocals. That way you can see up close and far away at all times. Yeah, well, screw you. I’m not wearing bifocals.

So maybe one of these days while I’m at CVS picking up a few things, I might peruse the reading glasses at the end of the aisle. I’m not saying I’m going to BUY a pair, but maybe just see what’s up. I mean, plenty of twenty-year-olds wear readers. Right? RIGHT?!?

 

 

 

 

 

I’m going to go scream into a pillow now

 

The events of today have just about killed me. I am in such a state that I don’t know what to do with myself, so I’m going to rage blog and hope that by the time I’m done, I will no longer feel the need to destroy something.

My husband and I cleaned out our basement a week ago and decided to sell a bunch of things that we no longer needed, i.e. DVD player, old speakers, other components, etc. He put them on eBay and they sold. His part was done. My nightmare was just beginning.

Today was the day I had to send out six different boxes full of stuff. Some of the components needed brand new boxes, some had been stored in the original boxes but needed to be wrapped up in plain brown paper before they were mailed, others needed to be bubble wrapped and sealed up, you get the idea.

My day began bright and early at 9 am at Target, where I bought packing tape rolls, bubble wrap, plain brown paper for mailing, among some other things. Target didn’t have a big enough box for one of the items, so I hit the UPS store and spent even more money.

Two of the six packages were in my car. I went to the post office and mailed them. The third component we were selling was still in my car, unboxed and un-bubble-wrapped; I didn’t want to go home, box it all up, and go back to the post office, so I tried to tape up the new GIANT box and pack up the component in the back seat of my car. That didn’t work out too well. There wasn’t enough room. So after throwing out a few f-bombs, I went inside the post office and got it all done in there. Fine.

After lunch I wrapped up and boxed the other three items. It took FOREVER. I’m not even exaggerating. I had to shove the boxes full of bubble wrap, wrap them up with plain brown paper, cut down boxes to fit around the items more securely, I can’t even tell you how annoying this was. One hour later, I was done.

I had to get the boxes into the car. Did I mention they were like 50 lbs each? I pushed and I pulled and I managed to get them all in my trunk even though by this point my back was screaming at me and asking me WTF I thought I was doing lifting all this crap by myself.

I arrived at the post office. I went inside to ask for a cart. They provided one. I wheeled it out to my car, with some difficulty since the cart was at least 100 years old, and started to load the three giant boxes inside it. They wouldn’t all fit securely, but I was NOT making another trip for this, so I made it work. I had to wheel the stupid cart all the way to the side of the building where the sidewalk ramp was. I got stuck numerous of times. I ran over my foot with the wheel twice. One of the packages started to fall and I caught it in midair. I was swearing very loudly. The cart wheel got caught three times in sidewalk cracks and it almost killed me.

I finally got up to the door and this guy, who was talking on his phone via an earpiece, walked into the building a few feet ahead of me. He let the door close behind him. Yes, THIS MOTHERF*CKER DID NOT HOLD THE DOOR FOR ME. I was so enraged that I literally screamed out, “THANKS, DUDE!” sarcastically and waved at him.

A nice elderly lady witnessed the whole thing. I told her how rude the man was. She held open the door for me. She was nice.

I went to wait in line inside behind rude dude and texted my husband. I wrote things like, “I am seriously about to cry and then murder this asshole who slammed the door in my face,” as well as, “This is my second trip to the post office and I will need corrective surgery on my back when this is all said and done and I hope that YOU’RE HAPPY.”

And then rude guy gets off his phone call and has the AUDACITY to turn to me and say, “I was wondering how you were going to get all those boxes in here.”

WHAT. THE. F*CK.

I turned to him, flexed my bicep, and said, “I DID IT WITH OLD-FASHIONED MUSCLE.” Then I pounded his face.

No, I didn’t punch him, but I wanted to.

Then he thought it was a good idea to continue the conversation and said, “You wouldn’t have wanted me to help you anyway. You don’t want me near you.”

Again, I refrained from breaking his nose. I gritted my teeth and asked, “Why is that?” He proceeded to tell me that he’s had the flu, has lost 15 lbs., had a flu shot, but got sick from traveling on airplanes. Like I was interested in his life story.

At this point, I’m done. I can’t even with him. He goes up to the counter, does his business, and then makes a point of saying goodbye to me before he walks out the door. I’m not sure what part of my body language, attitude, or spoken words encouraged him into thinking we had some kind of friendly relationship, but apparently that’s what he got from me.

I think that’s about it. I hope the rest of the day is better. I think I’ll go fill a bathtub full of ice cubes and get this swelling in my back to go down.

 

A cautionary tale

 

My kid had a doctor’s appointment yesterday, which meant that instead of him taking the bus home from school, I’d have to pick him up directly. It sounded so easy. However, it was not at all easy and now that all is said and done, I think I’ve been added to some type of “crazy parent” list that the school district keeps on file.

Here’s what happened: I drive to his school to pick him up. I sign him out, wait in the cafeteria for him to come out, but he doesn’t. I realize after 10 minutes of waiting that he probably forgot I was going to pick him up.

No big deal. I go up to the guy with the walkie talkie behind the sign out desk and tell him about my predicament. He walkie talkies the office, and they go down this whole chain of command, the result of which is that (and this is where it starts becoming a big deal) my kid is already on the bus. It’s too late to pull him off because the bus is en route to the junior high, where it will pick up a whole other group of kids before bringing them all home.

Walkie talkie guy tells me if I hurry, I might be able to pull him off the bus at the junior high. I momentarily consider just meeting him at home and canceling his doctor’s appointment, but quickly remember who I am and that failure is not an option. I sprint out to my car and drive like a madwoman over to the junior high.

I try to turn into the parking lot when a police officer, who is standing in the driveway to the lot, shakes her head at me, indicating that I am not allowed to go into the lot. I roll down my window and tell her in my most desperate voice that I need to grab my kid off the bus before it leaves for its route. She says that’s fine, but no cars are allowed to go into the lot during bus pickup.

Exacerbated, I throw my hands up and yell, “So what do you want me to do?!?” Please know that I have never in my life been disrespectful to a police officer, but she is messing with my meticulously planned schedule and THAT CANNOT HAPPEN.

She tells me to go park on a side street. I sigh (loudly), and speed into the fruit store parking lot next to the school. I sprint down the sidewalk, where I see her waiting, and it occurs to me that I wasn’t very nice to her before and, if she wanted to, this could end very badly for me. So as I run past her I yell nervously, “MY KID IS IN SO MUCH TROUBLE! HAHAHAHAHA!” and she just kind of smirks but I know she hates me.

I get into the junior high lot and am immediately confronted with 35 buses parked within one inch of each other and they all look exactly the same. I take a deep breath and try to remember the number of the bus my kid goes on. Miraculously, I remember, and start running through the lot looking for it. Yes, there are middle school kids, many of which who know my kid, staring at me through the window thinking I am a complete lunatic, but I don’t care because we have only ten minutes to get to the doctor’s appointment.

I find the bus! I go up to the door and tell the bus driver that I need my kid! And she tells me that she can’t let him off without a school administrator present.

Without even answering her, I run over to the building and find some random guy who looks like he works there. I scream at him, “Are you a school administrator?!?!?” He tells me that he is not, in fact, an administrator, but he can call one for me.

I stand there in the lot and time is a tickin’. My kid is on a bus 15 feet away from me and the buses are about to pull out and I don’t know if the school administrator is going to come out in time for me to grab my kid and I seriously think I’m going to LOSE MY FREAKING MIND right there. I’m swearing in my head left and right as I’m scanning the 6000 kids who are currently exiting the school, hoping to find this mythical school administrator in there somewhere.

He comes out and approaches me. I’m so flustered, I can’t even get any words out. All I can do is throw my driver’s license at him and run towards my kid’s bus.

Well, in the end I got my kid off the bus. And I got to meet the junior high vice principal, who thinks I’m a lunatic. He spent five minutes on his walkie talkie verifying who I was, making sure I wasn’t some insane person trying to grab a kid, which, if you think about it, I totally am.

I got my kid to his doctor’s appointment on time, but AT WHAT COST?!? I think I need to bake pies for a whole bunch of people to thank them for dealing with me in my heightened state of anxiety.

Send me photos of cute animals in hand-knitted garments, STAT

This is the only thing that calms me these days.

There’s a lot of hate out there right now. My anxiety level is pretty much at DEFCON 3 at any given moment, spiking to DEFCON 1 at the top of every hour when I check the news headlines. It’s just relentless. Which is why I really don’t appreciate this one particular individual who is just adding to my stress and is close to pushing me over the edge.

Her name? Heather. From Account Services. This bitch has been calling me on my cell phone AND on my home phone for at least six months. And every time she calls me, it’s from a different phone number. Plus, she only contacts me via recording, so I can’t even scream at her.

Today I tried to call her back on the number that popped up on my cell phone. Instead of getting some idea as to which Account Services she was working for, I got another recording that told me that particular phone number was disconnected. What?!? I JUST got a call on it 10 seconds before. What madness is this? The entire world has gone crazy.

Okay, maybe I’m funneling all my rage towards Heather from Account Services, but she deserves it. I mean, if she’s not part of the solution, then she’s part of the problem.

Heather, if you’re reading this, PLEASE understand that not only do I have to worry about nuclear war, violent riots, and global warming on a daily basis, but I have to deal with you, chipping away at my sanity one phone call at a time. Please leave me be.

Image from Bored Panda.

It. Is. On.

I am at war. At first I was committed to a relocation mission, but now I’m in full-on it’s-either-you-or-me mode.

Yesterday I discovered this guy on my tomato plant:

It’s a tomato hornworm and at first I thought it was kind of cute. A few days ago, I noticed that some of my tomatoes were half eaten, but I didn’t discover the culprit until yesterday. Yes, he’s big, but that sucker can blend in, unlike a wasted Donna Martin at the West Beverly Hills’ senior prom,  and I couldn’t spot him for the life of me until days later.

So yesterday I tried to do the humane thing. I didn’t want to kill him, so I attempted to remove him from the stem with a branch. And OMG I WAS TRAUMATIZED. Why? Because by accident I stabbed him and he started gushing green blood and THEN he got super pissed and tried to attack me. NO JOKE. He made this ferocious clicking sound and LUNGED at me. I had no idea caterpillars could attack but they do and, boy, do they go for the jugular.

Despite his violent attempt at my life, I was really upset that I stabbed him. I went to Plan B and cut the branch he was on off the plant. I moved him to the row of trees in my backyard and left him behind a weed where he could hopefully recover from his injury and perhaps escape being eating by birds. I checked on him a couple of times, and he seemed to be okay enough to devour all the rest of the leaves on the stem I clipped off, so I called it a day.

But TODAY I found another hornworm! Realizing I might impale him if I attempted to remove him, I went straight to clipping off the branch he was on. I guess he knew what was up because he started clicking at me. I carefully brought him over to where I had left the other hornworm, who was by now gone, and left him there along with a few more leaves to tide him over.

This is where my generosity stopped because when I examined the plant one last time I found four more hornworms. I was DONE. I tried to pry one off and he lunged at me like his countryworm, clicking away. I dumped him over the deck railing. The others met the same fate.

And I have to say: they deserved it because they freaking almost ate all my tomatoes and most of the tomato plant leaves and I am really, really annoyed. It could have been worse–I could have drowned them all in a big bucket of water, which is what one gardening website recommended. Hopefully word gets around that attempting to eat the Towbin tomato plant is a suicide mission and should be avoided at all costs.

Insult to injury

So my right arm is KILLING ME and unfortunately I’m injured. It must have happened while I was lifting yesterday. I mean, all I was doing was my usual 140-lb. benchpress (10 reps, as fast as I can), but somehow I hurt myself.

Just kidding. I totally hurt myself cleaning. Yesterday I decided that the bathroom floors needed a good scrub. I sprayed some cleaner with bleach in it onto the tile floor and got to work. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed like I was going for an Olympic medal in it and made that tile sparkle. Not to brag, but, yeah, I did the grout. The only problem was that I was scrubbing so hard, I hurt my right arm (my scrubbing arm, obvs).

Sure, at the time I realized I MAY have been working a little too hard as I was panting and sweating and starting to feel lightheaded. But as far as the lightheadedness goes, I chalked that up to inhaling the bleach fumes. I mean, the fumes were already making my eyes burn, but I could still see, so I wasn’t going to stop just because I felt a tad dizzy. My motto is go big or go home and I apply it to EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I noticed the soreness in my arm that evening. I was all, maybe I should take some ibuprofen for that, but then I was all, what kind of wimp takes ibuprofen because her arm is sore from CLEANING? Suck it up, Towbin!

So I did. And then at 4 am I woke up in excruciating pain. In my sleepy delirium I decided that first thing in the morning I should definitely call an orthopedic surgeon about this injury because, really, who else could I possibly call for such a serious trauma? Then I started thinking that I’d have to tell the orthopedic surgeon that I hurt myself scrubbing the bathroom floor and my pride would not allow for that, so I just decided I’d have to deal with it, even if it required surgery (which, at the time, it most definitely seemed like it would).

Then I woke up this morning and realized I was insane. My arm is feeling much better and I realized I just gave it a really good workout. Unfortunately, my right bicep is going to be HUGE and my left bicep will be normal sized and I will look like a freak, but them’s the breaks.

My hang up

WHAT I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH. There’s no way I could ever relate the intensity and/or range of the emotions I’ve just experienced, but I will try.

You see, I have this jacket. I’ve had it for a few years, and I really liked wearing it. Right in the middle, a little above the waist, there was this fabric cord that you could tie up in the front. The cord had to pass through a “tunnel” of fabric that wrapped around the back of the jacket, a situation similar to that of a drawstring cord in a hoodie.

Everything was going great until one time I washed my jacket and the cord got pulled out halfway. I tried to string it back through, but it was IMPOSSIBLE. After several minutes of trying, I gave up and pulled the whole thing out. I wore the jacket a couple more times without the fabric cord, but it just felt, I don’t know, wrong, so I stopped wearing it altogether.

Fast forward to today. For some reason I got it into my head that not only was I going to wear this jacket, but, damn it, I was going to get that cord back through the fabric tunnel. With a little help from a YouTube video demonstrating how to rethread a hoodie cord, I decided I could transfer these newly acquired skills and make it work with my jacket.

The trick is to bend a wire hanger into a semicircle, attach one end of the cord to one end of the wire, and thread the wire through the fabric tunnel with the cord attached, thereby rethreading everything. Brilliant!

So I tried it. I tied one end of the cord to a little hook I made at the end of the wire hanger and tried to string in through. I got all the way through to the other side of the tunnel when I realized that the stupid cord fell off the hanger about an inch of the way through.

So I tried again. I tied the knot tighter.

Same problem.

This time I wrapped it around, made some kind of insane knot for which there is no name, and did it again. No dice.

I tried different variations of knots and wire hanger hooks for 20 FREAKING MINUTES. I was swearing. Out loud. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ineffectual. Unless you count the 3,000 times I’ve asked my kids to clean their rooms and all they do is throw a pair of socks in the hamper just to see how that’s going to fly and when I call them out on it they respond with disbelief and outrage at how I could possibly be so wrong because look how much they’ve cleaned! What do I want from them?!? BECAUSE WE CAN’T EVER BE AS ORGANIZED AND NEAT AS YOU, MOM, AND YOU CAN’T EXPECT US TO BE SOMEBODY WE’RE NOT! Um, maybe TMI for the blog.

Anyhoo, after 20 minutes, success! I was so ecstatic that I took a picture:

And that didn’t make me feel satisfied, so I wrote a blog post about it.

This is probably the dumbest blog post I’ve ever written, but WTF. I needed to share my victory.

Image from NST Insights.

Thinking outside the box

Sometimes people ask me what I do all day while my kids are at school. Here’s a good example: I pick a random spot on my floor, make a square out of tape, and wait for my cat to lie down in it.

No, I did not make this genius experiment up. I found it all over the Internet and decided to try it for myself. So here was my square:

I waited for two days and my cat wouldn’t go anywhere near it. I figured I’d placed it in an area that was too high traffic, so I moved the square in front of the fireplace. This is how that played out:

An hour later:

And an hour after that:

This cat. I swear. I kind of fell asleep while I was waiting for her to go into the box and this happened:

Well played, Cleo. Well played.

Update: Inner peace is not a thing I have achieved

You might recall that I achieved inner peace last week via packing my suitcase. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Things turned sour pretty quickly. Why?

BECAUSE THEN I UNPACKED.

Yes, rolling up all your clothes into tight cylinders is completely awesome if your only goal is to fit as many clothes into your suitcase as possible. But what happens when you reach your destination and it’s time to unpack? The COMPLETE OPPOSITE of zen. Here’s why:

You open your suitcase and find 37 tightly rolled t-shirts/jeans/socks/etc. that must be unrolled. One by one. Which takes some time. And after traveling all day, unrolling all your clothes one by one is literally the last thing you want to be doing.

But, Meredith, you might ask, why not just leave everything rolled up in the suitcase and select what’s needed on a day-to-day basis? Well, because YOU CAN’T. Maybe I want to wear my gray t-shirt with the two birds on it on a particular day. Here’s me: “I’ll just peek into my suitcase and grab it and…oh s^&%! There are no less than THIRTEEN GREY T-SHIRTS, ALL ROLLED UP, and it is impossible for me to identify which one is which until I unroll them all and WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? What did I ever do to deserve such a stunning defeat after achieving a zen that most humans can only dream about?”

And once all the clothes are unrolled, you have to deal with the fact that every single item is a wrinkled mess AND you still have to fold everything to put it away in the dresser.

Needless to say, on the way back I packed up using a different method. I laid everything flat, one on top of the next, and that seemed to work better. At least things weren’t wrinkled when I went to unpack and I could identify what was what.

Even so, I am thoroughly disappointed. I was so stoked about achieving packing nirvana that I was even considering starting up a business involving me teaching people how to pack efficiently, which would of course have to be named Tripping with Towbin. There goes my business. And my zen.