The Furniture is Against Me

I think I need to get rid of all the tables in my house. You’ll recall a few weeks ago, while minding my own business and picking up a pen or something, the coffee table jumped out and viciously bit my forehead. That still sounds so much better than my depth perception failed me and I banged my head on the corner.

At 5AM this morning (is there any other kind of AM?) I woke up from a totally weird dream where I was being laid off, rolled over and smashed my eye into the corner of the nightstand.  Regan Black will kindly stop laughing as I managed to do basically the same thing at her house last year.

I’m not sure which is a worse omen for a job interview, a dream that you’re being laid off — they gave notice by giving you and 8×12 HOT PINK envelope, because that would be subtle — or giving yourself a black eye four hours before said interview.

What I do know is that instead of a final read-through of the job description, I was matching my eye makeup to the quickly growing bruise on my eyelid. It should be stated at this point, that I’m not a makeup girl. I barely know how to use it, and until a year or two ago, I had one set of eye shadows. That I even had cream, green and brown eyeshadows, let alone knew how to use them together, is a miracle.

I’m not really a klutz. Really. But I am beginning to think I need to have an eye exam because the tables are getting seriously pissed about something. And they’re taking it out on me.


Day Two Wheat-Free

Crackers. Crackers. Crackers.

No, I don’t crave bread. I’m not a big sandwich person. But I would gladly kill for some crackers.

According to the book, people who don’t eat wheat will eat 300-400 fewer calories than people who eat wheat. I’m not sure how this is possible since all I want to do is eat everything that is not wheat in the hopes it will taste like…wheat.

See, this is the problem with binging on wheat last week. Now I’m going through withdrawal. Yes, there is wheat withdrawal.

But it will be worth it. And with all the time I’m saving by not stuffing my face with crackers, I am writing. And since I’m cranky, you know I’m torturing my characters.

They don’t want wheat. They want… well, we all know what they want. But they’re not getting any either. Hopefully by the time they do get some, I’ll be through my withdrawal and a happy camper again.

Without wheat.

Have I mentioned the 9 cases of Girl Scout Cookies that are still in my living room? I ordered 8 boxes of cookies before I got this great idea. Snarky Daughter bought 2 boxes, and Scout Son bought 1. That’s 11 boxes of cookies We. Can’t. Eat.

Just sitting there. Taunting us. Well, me. Because I am letting the kids have a cookie a day. At this rate, we’ll be out of cookies by Christmas.

All you folks who give stuff up for Lent? I have a whole new respect for you. Because that binge thing last week? I am paying for it now. The interesting thing is I know I’m not hungry as I’m lusting after crackers. I feel full. So I tell The Voice in my head to shut the hell up. I am not hungry. Because I’m not.


Channel your inner Gloria Gaynor here:

At first I was afraid, I was petrified

Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side…


I want to be healthier than my mom was. Yesterday I told you about how much pain I was in last week when I was eating all the wheat. But today’s Day Two and the pain is almost completely gone again. So is the swelling. I still have a headache, but I blame the coffee table.

Now, I just have to make it through Day Three. For those of you who haven’t ever tried cutting carbs out of your diet, Day Three is the day from hell. It’s the day the cravings are typically the worst.


Channel Gloria again. I will survive. I will survive! I will survive!!


Day One Wheat-Free

When I started telling friends and family that my family was going wheat-free beginning this week, the resounding response was, “Why?”

It’s a complicated answer, but here’s the basic deal. Studies are now showing that wheat isn’t good for us. In fact, it’s really bad. It’s been connected with increased symptoms of diabetes, asthma, allergies, migraines, Autism/Asperger’s, depression and a whole host of other things. The list is really long. And it contains pretty much every problem my mom was having when she died one month after she turned 65.

When I started listening to The Wheat Belly Diet book in the car two weeks ago, I got worried really quickly. Not only were my mom’s health issues on the laundry list, but so were my biggest issues (pain, inflammation and migraines) and Scout Son’s.

So I came home from a job interview and said, “Hey, guess what? We’re giving up wheat.”

But when I started sharing everything I learned, everybody was on board, even Sarcastic Roommate.

I know what you’re thinking. She’s crazy. Wheat’s been around for centuries. How can it be bad?

Well, here’s the deal. The wheat our grandparents and all the generations before them ate, had 14 chromosomes. But it was a bitch to grow. It’s tall. It’s prone to bugs and disease. So in the ’50s, scientists got the great idea to genetically alter it. And then did it. Today’s wheat is dwarf wheat, easier to grow, drought and bug resistant. And with 42 chromosomes, it’s barely related to the wheat we used to eat.

Now if we’d done some, I dunno, animal or human testing before releasing our miracle wheat on the population, we might have figured out that what we’d made was a health issue monster. But there were starving people to feed worldwide, and money to be made. And realistically, I’m not sure we had the testing know how back then to realize there was a problem.

Today, we know better. So, today, no wheat.

Want some more joyous data about today’s wheat? It triggers the same responses in the human body as heroin. Enjoy that bagel! And when you get off of wheat, you go through the withdrawal symptoms equivalent to quitting smoking. Headaches. Crankiness. Lethargy.

Now, I questioned some of what I read. I mean, seriously. Inflammation? Headaches? Pain? But last week, wanting to look and feel my best (and because we had all these wheat products in the house), I ate wheat. Hell, if I could have rolled around in it, I would have. I ate more wheat than I have eaten in months.

And I felt like shit. By day 3 of Eat the Wheat, I was ready for Vicodin for every injury I’ve had over the past ten years, and a bunch of those places were swollen again. I had headaches, stomach aches, and was always desperate for my next meal. It was insane.

So I was really happy when Day One came around. But I won’t lie. There’s some withdrawal going on here. And I have a humdinger of a headache, although that may be because the coffee table jumped up and beat me in the forehead. That’s the only possible explanation, because the other option is that I didn’t see the corner there, where it’s been for the past five years.

Anyway, it’s the end of Day One, I’m cranky and I have a Jumping Coffee Table induced headache. But I didn’t have wheat, which is saying a lot considering my family bought a total of 11 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from Snarky Daughter. The kids are tapering off wheat and can have a cookie a day. I’m trying to stay clean.


Where Mice Go to Die

I live in the country. Living in the country means mice. I keep my stuff in air tight canisters to make sure there’s no food available, but they’re mice. They think newspaper is food. To be fair, some of the cereal in here tastes like newspaper, so…

photo of woods
You trying living mouse free when this is your front yard. I dare ya!

Anyway, I keep the house clean, keep the food locked up, but I live in the woods, so mice. I pay a nice quarterly sum for there to not be mice. Every three months the guys come in with their bait, which I long ago decided was a fine way of dealing with the issue. You see, I used to trust the cat.

Years ago, the cat worked fine. No mice. Then the cat had the audacity to die. OK, yes, she was old. Well, older. Now the Ex was sort of in an anti-indoor-animal phase, as he has been for the past lifetime or two. Not his fault. He grew up in the country, with the mice, where pets stay outside. And he’s not really a cat person. He’s not a writer; it didn’t come with the job description. I get it.

So, I was trying to be thoughtful and not get another blasted indoor pet. We were going cat-free. After all, we had toddlers. That was more than enough fun for any household. Right. No cat.

One night, I’m home from covering some school board meeting for the local paper. I’m on deadline, so it’s 11ish and the story’s due at midnight, and I can’t get it done. The words aren’t coming. There are only so many ways you can talk about how we need another high school and nobody’s going to pay for it, and I’d used those ways up over the past four years.

I glance up from my laptop, and there next to the bookcase, looking as editorial as ever, is a mouse. He looks at me, I look at him. I outweigh him by an elephant, so you’d think he’d bail. But he just keeps staring at me and washing his whiskers. So, writing being a lot like the Superbowl and other sports events, I yell at him. At least HE is in the room and can hear me.

Look, Mouse. I’ve got an editor ten miles away waiting for this story. I don’t need you supervising too.

I swear he shrugged his shoulders. Then he meandered back behind the bookcase. I calmly explained to the Ex that people in the country have cats for a reason, and three weeks later, we had Replacement Cat. Who understood the cat job description. Within a week, no mouse sounds or sightings.

We also kept a steady supply of outdoor cats. No, I do not want letters on this. I live in the middle of nowhere. People dump cats out here. They’re basically feral. I feed them, get them fixed, make sure they get annual shots, and let them live outside. We have a shed where they get protection from the weather. And they kept the rodent population down.

Unfortunately, over the years the coyotes have kept the cats down. Or the hawks have. Not sure which, but over the years, the cats have disappeared and I haven’t had new drop-offs.

So now I have mice, and three cats, living in harmony. Apparently they all signed the Magna Carta or something because the mice eat the mouse bait and go die somewhere. I know this because the pest control guy and I are really confused. The bait disappears completely 2-3 weeks before he’s due to come out. I know this because the cats start hanging out at the pocket door where we put the bait. All. The. Time.

But I never see a mouse. I don’t hear a mouse. I can’t smell dead mouse. No sign of mouse except the bait disappears. And we can’t figure out where they go to die. But it doesn’t appear to be in my house.

But I had to get the pest guy involved because since Replacement Replacement Cat came onto the scene, she didn’t read the cat job description. On the rare occasion that she catches a mouse (that would be ONCE), she kept dropping it and toying with it. But he was fast, and she dropped it next to a spot where the baseboard didn’t quite match up and goodbye mouse. She wasn’t bothered by this. I was furious since she’d dumped it in my bathroom.

But apparently Sophie believes anything other than guarding the door is beneath her. She weighs about nine pounds. Stumpasaurus Rex, so named by the vet because an accident as a stray kitten left him one leg short of a four-pack, weighs in at 11 pounds. If he could catch a mouse, he’d just flop down on it and suffocate it. But, as I said, they seemed to have reached a parlay with the mice: we don’t see you, you’re good.

photo of white cat
Athena, aka Pretty Princess Kitty. You can see why we call her that. All that’s missing is the crown.

Then, there’s Pretty Princess Kitty. Snarky Daughter named her Athena Aphrodite. Her name is bigger than she is. The runt of her litter, she weighs five pounds. She cleans her whiskers just so. She washes the Doberman’s ears because clearly the dog can’t do anything right.

And yesterday afternoon, she killed a mouse. I’m so proud.

The other two cats may have signed the no-kill agreement, but they didn’t sign the no-eat agreement. The reason I found out about Athena’s act of bravery was because she was growling and running away from the other two, who were quite interested in her prize.

She was not happy when I took it away from her and tossed it where all dead things go: into the woods on the other side of the electric fence so the dog can’t bring them back.

Being a good owner, I gave her a prize: part of a Pill Pocket. And then I did the happy dance because there is a killer amongst us. It reminds me a lot of the Killer Rabbit in Monty Python.


Who Doesn’t Yell During the Superbowl?

With Sarcastic Roommate here, I was finally allowed to watch a sporting event in peace. You see, up until now Snarky Daughter and Scout Son were pretty sure I was the only person in the history of the world who yells at the TV during sporting events and the State of the Union.

Enter Sarcastic Roommate. This is her first year here so she has only heard about Snarky Daughter asking me during the Hail Mary pass of last year’s game, “Do I need to turn the TV off?”

Yes, I failed as a parent on this point. My kids don’t get sports. Football and basketball are too violent. So sayeth Snarky Daughter. Excuse me? I get football, but basketball?!!? This from the girl who will watch a 234 car pile up without batting an eye because someone couldn’t quite turn left enough at 189 miles per hour.

And yes, I yell during NASCAR races too. Really, if there’s a sporting event on, I’ll pick a side and for the next few hours, I’m a devout fan of that team. Being a Bay Area native, you’d think my choice was set in stone. And it was, although my family probably wishes I’d picked the Ravens instead because then San Francisco would have won. I’m really a Bears fan, and we saw how their season went.

Anyway, 6:00, I kick the kids off their Doctor Who marathon — hey, they discovered him last month, I discovered football 35 years ago — and headed over for pre-game commercials. Which meant I could now eat the chips and dip I’d picked up. Yeah, me!

Sarcastic Roommate came downstairs and joined in on the chips and dip ’cause we know how to throw a party. The game started and within three minutes I was yelling at the TV. I considered for a nanosecond trying to behave with decorum, but I was raised by FANS. Also, SR was having her own conniption fits on her couch.

Snarky Daughter: You two know they can’t hear you, right?

SR & Me: That just means we need to yell louder!

You can tell she fits right in. Deep into the nightmare that was the first quarter, so maybe five minutes of play or 20 minutes of air time, SR spied Scout Son’s computer. He too, was ignoring the game, because yes, I totally failed. He was playing his new Monopoly app.

Clearly Snarky Daughter was desperate to get us to quiet down with the yelling at the football game, because she quickly agreed to a rousing game of Star Wars Monopoly. It’s not like the Niners were playing anything worth watching during the first half. We did slow down play long enough to watch all the commercials. The Joe Montana BBQ sauce stain Tide commercial is my favorite. Yes, I loved the farmers and the horse, but they made me cry, and only the outcome of the game should do that.

Well that and being beaten in Monopoly by SD. Honest to God, every other time she went around the board she landed on Free Parking. And yes, we play by putting $500 in Free Parking as well as every stupid charge you get that doesn’t go to someone specific. I’m pretty sure all the money she was raking in came from me. We all gave up play when we realized we were all waving rents.

I went back to yelling at the TV. SD decided she had to take a shower to drown out my yelling. Having watched sporting events with my neighbors, I know I’m not the only one who yells at the TV.

They can hear me, right?