Children = Crack Heads

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My proof (in no particular order until the last bit):

  1. A large crash and what sounded like paper ripping echoed through the house from the upstairs landing. I asked the child what was going on. No response. I asked with a little more heat. I got back “I’m not doing anything nothing happened I’m petting the cat that’s all no”. No punctuation was used when vocalizing it so I left it in its original format. The child was insulted when I physically checked on the very loud nothing no that happened. I couldn’t find anything broken or torn. I assume she opened a portal to another realm.
  2. A small barrel shaped puzzle (pictured in the main image for this post) is dismantled into many pieces and an effort was made to put it back together. There was great intensity and focus. There were discussions with herself about what piece went next. Midway through the very next sentence pieces were calmly placed pieces on the floor, a blanket was pulled around the shoulders like a cape, and the child paraded out of the room on tiptoes. “I think this might go…” and she marched off. Very much like a hummingbird switching flowers. She manages a regal march for one so young.
  3. When the father of the child said good morning before dawn what came back was (as close as I can recall…it happened quickly and it was not even 6 am) “The eye! The eye was big and did you I don’t know did you see the eye my eye what who I don’t know last night!” All of that was said in a gasping mildly angry voice. Father of the child (somehow less baffled than I) responded: “But it’s okay now, right?”. She gave an disgruntled sounding “yes” and rolled over. He wandered into the bathroom as if that was a normal encounter.
  4. We own a whistle type of squeaker thing loud enough to wake the dead. Neither of us knew that. We don’t know where it came from. We found out we owned it because at roughly 6 am the child cornered one of the cats and when the cat didn’t follow a red dot it couldn’t follow because the child blocked its ability to move the squeaker whistles shrill hideous noise was unleashed upon us at a staggering decibel. Aware that she was probably going to be scolded she looked at her father belligerently and yelled: “NOTHING HAPPENED”. The cat and I haven’t fully recovered.

 

Cat contemplates alcohol

Cat contemplates alcohol while recovering from insanely loud ear blast

 

  1. (This should be 5 but formatting is being a brat) The air conditioner controller thing decided to poop out of juice last night. I walked downstairs and found the temperature to be arctic-esque. I am hot natured and it was absolutely freezing even to my internal thermostat. The batteries dying in the control apparently gave the air conditioner permission to never ever turn off. Ever. So I immediately got the unit shut down and started coffee while shivering. Tiny human walks in wearing her blanket cape and talks to herself about how cold it is. I ask if she wants cereal for breakfast and she nods yes and walks off. I get cereal assembled and wander out to find her sitting in the back room talking to herself quietly. I put the cereal down and ask if she wants a blanket. She mutters a reply too quiet for me to make out. I ask her to repeat herself. It sounds vaguely like “jacket”. I tell her I can go get a sweatshirt or jacket for her, or maybe some socks. She mutters what sounds like jacket again. I tell her I still can’t hear her. I get back “I HAVE A JACKET”. I blink. I ask her if she wants her jacket. “NO! I HAVE ALL I NEED!”  She has a really deep voice for such a small female thing. Kind of like that lord of the rings scene where Galadriel is tempted but refuses the ring.
  2. (Formating is still bratty) Tiny human is playing a sonic the hedgehog video game out in the back room. I know exactly where she is because she is talking to herself and the game at the same time in various tones and with various mood swings. There are a lot of “WHAT THE HECK….WHAT…..WOW…..WHA….NO….YES….WHAT THE HECK”. This sort of stream of consciousness has been going on for at least 30 minutes straight. And now there are long, deep hooting noises punctuated by growls. She may be summoning a demon. I’m not going to go look. I need a ghost hunter. Or a priest.
  3. Update (formatting is the least of my worries): After a crash out in the back room she magically appeared behind the desk to my left (I can hear her but not see her). She’s whispering something quietly and creepily, like an incantation. If I’m never seen again make sure they put a decent picture up at my funeral (don’t let my mom use my graduation picture, I have 14 chins in that one). Good luck to us all.

Weebles learning the meaning of consent…

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Having been involved in animal rescue for most of my adult life there are a ridiculous number of animals in my life. I currently live with a dog, two cats, and a sorta cat. Everyone who knows me knows of the Weebster, but for those who don’t, I have a mentally handicapped cat. He has congenital hypothyroidism which is extremely rare in cats and we didn’t get the diagnosis in time to prevent significant mental impairment. Physically he has bounced back significantly, but he’s a bit “slow” mentally. Weebs has a good quality of life and is not in pain, so we get to muddle through life trying to figure out how to cope with an extremely unique cat.

 

Tiny baby weebles

Weebs gotcha day!

 

 

 

Bottle Fed Weebles

Learning how bottles work.

 

 

 

Hungry Weebs

Transitioning to solid foods with grace and style.

 

 

Blogging weebs

Starting to be mobile and look more like a cat and less like an Ewok.

Weebs was stuck in bottle-fed kitten status much longer than he should have been, so he didn’t become mobile and independent until I’d moved cross country for work.  Once mobile he only had my older dog for company. He never saw other animals and rarely saw other people for just over a year.

Chicklets

That is his normal expression. Not a result of catnip.

Now that we’ve come back to the east coast I have moved in with my friend boy. Friend boy was given many nicknames but the one that stuck was Mancandy. He already had two rescue cats who were unsure about my dog and absolutely hated my poor cat who doesn’t know how to cat.

Most cats communicate with their body language, vocalizations, and will use aggression tactics in many situations if boundaries are not respected. WBS (Wee Baby Seamus, Weebles, Weebs, etc) had never seen another cat much less interacted with one. He responds to stimuli in an extremely delayed fashion and is OCD. He doesn’t hear well so vocal cues are often completely ignored and if he does hear something he will respond several minutes later and often with the wrong response.

Amazed

We’ve only recently been able to let him mingle with the other cats. He took one look at Tsuki and fell in love. She took one look and wanted nothing to do with him. Weebs was not the least bit put off by her lack of affection. He follows her constantly. He gazes at her with a devotion bordering on obsession. Tsuki is his moon and the stars in his sky and he must be near her. He has been hissed at, growled at, smacked, rolled, and none of it has had any impact on his devotion. She was distracted by treats yesterday and he got to actually stand next to her without getting smacked down. He leaned over, sniffed like a total creep, and fluttered his eyes. Think silence of the lambs level disturbing. She finished her treats, noticed the lack of respect for her touch bubble, and let him have it.

 

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He so loves her. She’s so over it.

 

 

She figured out a while back that if she gets up on furniture it takes a while for him to find her. The above picture was him finding her after about 30 minutes of looking. His idea of searching for his beloved is wandering around talking to himself (cute little trilling noises), yelling for her (typical annoying loud cat ME-FREAKING-OW noises), spinning (it’s weird and he does it a lot), and making the same loop through our house repeatedly.

 

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Can I just touch near you?

 

Once found Tsuki tries to ignore him. But he just can’t stop himself! He must be closer. He annoys her to the point she starts talking trash as soon as he gets near. The Instagram account link on the sidebar has a video of her telling him off. And his completely baffled expression in response.

While the past 8 months have involved saving Weebles from the “big cats”, now my days involve saving the big cats from the cat who couldn’t figure out how to save himself when he got sucked into the couch cushions. No lie. Exhibit A:

 

Couch sucks

It’s cool. I’ll just lay here until I starve to death while you take pictures and laugh.

 

I hate that none of our animals want anything to do with him (the next animal that enters this house will do so under the requirement that they allow Weebs to stick his face in their mouth and smell them in an exceptionally creepy fashion whenever he wants), but in good news, he’s not smart enough to realize he’s the last kid picked for dodgeball. Happy Friday folks!

 

PS. If you are looking for a new best friend please consider rescue. There are so many really amazing animals just waiting for a chance. The rescue closest to my heart is Southern Cross Animal Rescue (SCAR) in Laurel MS. Another organization I’m incredibly fond of is The Humane Society of the White Mountains in Arizona. They do incredible work. Find your next best friend at a shelter instead of buying. You’ll save two lives and you will be part of the solution instead of the problem.

 

He doesn’t find this as funny as I do…

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Sleeping Mancandy is a jerkwad. He knows this, I know this, it is what it is. Yesterday I was pretty darn high on some sort of allergy concoction. After untold time staring into the distance my eyes dried out, my contacts revolted, and I decided sleep was a fine idea. I felt the bed move a bit and knew one of the cats had joined me, but I didn’t pay any attention before passing out. I woke up to notice a few things. Tsuki was my bed buddy, her snortles are really adorable, the dog also snores pretty darn cute, and something stunk like cat pee. Thankfully it wasn’t me. Unfortunately, it was Tsuki.

I would love to know how the cat ends up occasionally reeking of cat piss, but she’s not telling. My theory is that another cat pees on her face in a dominance thing. Mancandy thinks she’s just gross and rolls in it. Either way, it is her head that stinks. Not her backend (in case anyone thinks I’m just too stupid to notice the cat has a urinary tract infection).

I stripped the sheets and my comforter (of course she decided to lay on my blanket) and put them out to wash after I was through washing clothes. I went downstairs to do stuff and promptly forgot about the clothes in the wash much less the stinky bed stuff. When we made our way upstairs to get ready for bed last night, I realized I didn’t have a blanket. I had clean sheets that I had handily not bothered to fold and put away from the last time I did laundry, so I just popped those on and figured I’d share Mancandy’s blanket for one night.

Yes, we have separate blankets. Yes, I’d forgotten why we’d even started that. We started it because he’s a jerkface who accuses me of being a jerkface. He steals all the dang covers and then rolls his happy, covered up burrito self over until I’m barely hanging onto the edge of the bed and breathes in my face while I teeter, shivering, on the edge of death. And while awake Mancandy is generally a pretty sweet guy, sleeping Mancandy is a complete jerkwad. If I tell him to move over he grunts at me. Sometimes he tells me to hush. Sometimes he will try to smother me. It’s a mystery wrapped in murderous intent.

But he swears I’m the one who steals the covers and he’s an innocent victim. I’m just letting him be wrong. But anywho, all of that to say, last night I spent most of the night chilly and angry. And when he yanked those covers back right before dawn I drifted off with a lot of Italian anger bottled up. And I may or may not have dreamed I shot him in his smug blanket stealing face with a shotgun so that I could tell him what a big jerk he was without interruption. And I may or may not have enjoyed yanking the closet door open where he was innocently dressing for work and smugly announcing I dreamed I shot him in the face and woke up in a good mood before slamming the closet door shut in his face around 5:30 am. And I may have been the only one amused. And I regret nothing.

When talking to me is equivalent to surviving a bear attack…and also serious topics like depression…

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Yesterday was a bad day. I was filling out job applications (that in and of itself feels like a full-time craptastic job) and for those with in-depth applications, I have to go into details about that time when everything fell apart. And while it’s been years and I should be over it, writing about it for hours upon hours tears the Band-Aid off the wound and anger and a bone-deep grief comes seeping out. And if we’re being honest, before I’d even started on that soul-sucking task, I’d been off.

I have seriously messed up dreams. Not as often as I used to, but if I take a nap or fall back asleep after Mancandy has gone to work there’s a pretty good bet I’ll have one. This morning’s dream involved driving my mother and grandmother around in a Prius (which I don’t own) and stopping for BBQ (at a place where an abandoned gas station sits currently) and watching a gas truck slowly and methodically crush a Great Pyrenees (didn’t realize that’s how that was spelled) beneath it. After the initial crush, he backed up and went back to completely smash the bits left intact after the first run. Other dogs milling around (the deep south firmly believes in having at least one-yard dog that they refuse to vet so that there are quickly multiple yard dogs) kept grabbing bits of bloody meat and running around while the truck threatened to hit them. I was trying to keep my passenger’s eyes covered and my hands over my mom’s ears so she wouldn’t hear as much. The truck was directly behind me and I couldn’t get out, we were forced to just sit and wait for the show to be over. It was gruesome and makes zero sense. But that’s a fairly stress-free one compared to the normal stuff my brain throws at me.

The one yesterday was much, much worse. By today I’ve had some distance and I can keep myself from replaying the worst of it over and over. Yesterday I felt raw and nauseous all day. Having to explain things I’d rather not discuss repeatedly all day didn’t help. By late afternoon I was ready to start breathing fire and crying (which is an odd combination but exactly what I felt like doing).

By the time we were sitting down to a late dinner I could tell Mancandy was walking on egg shells around me. My first instinct was to blame him. I mean, I hadn’t done anything. I should be the one on egg shells! I had this horrible stuff in my mind, I was sad, I was feeling super-duper fat, my skin was broken out even though I’m in my stupid thirties, I was pretty sure I was melting into a puddle of Italian grease despite a shower, the weather was hot and sticky and I hated it, I wanted to eat everything in the kitchen (even the stuff I don’t like) until I puked and then go eat some more, and I was pretty sure I was a complete and utter failure and he’d probably notice that and cheat on me and it would be horribly painful so I should probably just plan to leave anyway…

And then the epiphany hit. I’m PMSing! The dream and the applications would normally have upset me, but they wouldn’t have pushed me so far. This surge of instability flowing through my veins would pass. I’d be fine. And somehow, just having that realization calmed me.

I blurted out, “Oh thank all the little brown potatoes, there’s a reason I’m going crazy!”

He looked like he was trying to avoid a bear attack by being very still. “I didn’t think you were going crazy.” He was using a very soothing voice and not moving. This annoyed me but I frantically shoved the crazy back down.

“I’m PMSing!” My tone was too bright and I was basically yelling it at him in my excitement. He tends to think of females as creatures who don’t have gas or bowel movements, so any discussions of menstruation tend to make him go pale and find an excuse to run away.

He nodded as if we were discussing strange weather. “Oh. Um. Good?”

I tried to save the situation. “I am just saying when you feel crazy all day you start to think maybe you are crazy but now that I know there’s a reason I’ve felt crazy I feel less crazy! It’s a good thing!”

He kept nodding. I took pity on us both and hushed.

My mentally handicapped cat decided that was the best moment to flop down on his back in the middle of the room and yowl/smack at the fan 12 feet above him. We both focused on that and he looked like a man who escaped a death sentence. It made me want to chew on his face and cry and then I had an intense craving for beef jerky and I thought going to bed might save us all from…well…me.

This morning, after waking up from a nap I only took because he gave me some sort of allergy medicine that sucked all the life out of me and made me a zombie, I started to straighten things up and get laundry/dishes going. I am much more centered today, despite the very detailed dream. I realized I am so incredibly lucky. I felt such relief when I realized the “crazy” was going to pass. It actually felt as if a cool, clean sensation rushing over my overheated brain. There was a reason I felt that way. I was not losing myself; I just had to hold on until my hormones quit being assholes.

One of the pieces I’ve written and erased many times is about being surrounded by people with various degrees/types of mental illness and the difficulties/gifts that imparts. I’ve not found a way to be both honest and unobtrusive (I’m learning so much, I really thought that word should be “unintrusive” but spellcheck swears it’s unobtrusive…) to family and friends, so I’ve yet to be able to write it.

While I can’t write that piece, I can say that I’ve been given just a tiny taste of knowing I’m being unreasonable and paranoid and depressed but unable to stop. How dark that must be for someone who doesn’t get a break from it. It’s a horrid feeling, to feel so angry and worthless and disgusting. And I’m quite sure I didn’t feel a fraction of what those with severe conditions face. And they don’t get the luxury of feeling that way for a day and then getting a break the rest of the month. I imagine for many it’s a constant. I’m grateful I don’t have that type of imbalance. I can barely hold it together for a few hours. I wanted to eat the man’s face off!

In all seriousness, if that were a constant state I could understand suicide being a valid option. That small taste of despair and sadness and hopelessness, just a little taste, was quite enough. My heart breaks for those who only feel that. And it infuriates me that our options for those with mental illness are absolutely inadequate. Without good insurance, there’s very little quality care available that’s also affordable. Even with good insurance, some plans do not cover much in the way of therapy. They’d much rather GP’s prescribe drugs than pay for an individual to go to therapy, and in a crisis that’s not always enough. And if you have good insurance and are able to access therapy with a therapist you trust, many people cannot afford for their family and friends to also go to therapy. Since there are few options for those of us who face handling a situation we are woefully unprepared and/or untrained to handle, many are unable to cope.

I am the first to admit I have struggled. Loving someone whole-heartedly does not mean there are not times you feel absolutely hatred, rage, fear, and sorrow when they behave in ways you cannot understand. The stigma associated with these conditions only serves to further isolate those who need support the most.

I’ve got no solutions to any of it. I try to make the right choices and say the right things, but I’m sure I fail quite often. And I’m going to try to remind myself of this perspective on things when those I love act out in their anger and grief. When emotions whose depth I can’t truly understand sweep family and friends away into a place I can’t go, I will do my best to still be there when they come up for air. I’ll try to have more patience, and take things less personally. Because I’m quite sure at some point about a month from now I’ll look at people around me with pure hatred because they breathe too freaking loud, or he’ll pick up the wrong texture of toilet paper, or a commercial will make me sad and I’ll be suddenly enraged at the fact I’m crying and I’ll have to try to have perspective through emotions so strong they have personalities all their own.

It’s easy to laugh at my own ridiculousness when my hormones decide my inner landscape is boring, but having that constant internal chaos must be one of the most difficult things to survive. For anyone reading who struggles against the inside of their own mind, keep struggling. It’s not fair to ask it, but the more you speak up about the struggles, the more we normalize mental illness rather than try to hide it, the more things change. Let’s make it completely normal and accepted to talk about how bad things get so that hopefully we come up with better ways to make help accessible and meaningful for everyone.

Head Bonks and Kitty Snortles

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Tsuki (pronounced Sue-Kee) is a green-eyed, solid black smallish cat that owns us.

Tsuki Grass Attack

Tsuki pretending she wasn’t just eating grass.

She came to Mancandy about 6 years ago as a tiny black fluff. It happened to be Halloween and some kids were giving away tiny black kittens. This one ended up in the hood of the pullover Mancandy wore as he gave out candy to trick-or-treaters. Mancandy gets into Halloween. Big time. He decorates and makes even the shiest child explain their costume. I would have been horrified to have to speak to a stranger as a child, but he is serious about every costume and every child and every bit of candy. They will earn their sweets dammit.

This past year I worked but got home in time for the last few gaggles of kids. Since I’ve been an adult (I use that terminology loosely) I’ve not lived anyplace that got much trick or treat traffic. However, some of my best childhood memories are of Halloween and the pure joy of dressing up as whatever I wanted and parading around in a costume all day and an actual parade in my costume and then running around getting all the candy I could possibly stuff in my pumpkin pail. That is kid paradise. When I pulled up to the house there were little superheroes and witches and werewolves everywhere. It was a bit like being a kid again and I was pretty pumped to see the candy giving action.

The candy action was not a disappointment. My dog had worn herself out trying to tell off all the trick or treaters and was snoring loudly. The kids were coming in small waves (it was getting late and it was a school night). Apparently, it was the end of the rush and these were the stragglers. I was tired from a long shift on my feet and sat listening to the craziness and peeking at costumes to match with voices from the living room window. My favorite was a little boy in a lion outfit that was scared to come on the porch. There was a hanging decoration we affectionately refer to as “Death” who was dangling from the porch light.  Mr. Lion was not having it.  I heard a high-pitched but very determined voice say “NO!  No, I’m not going. Nope.”

Mancandy was not letting a kid get away without candy, so he took Death down and put him on the porch.  “Come look! He is just an empty costume. It’s okay!”.  The lion’s mom chimed in, “It’s fake! Go on up there and get your candy, all the other kids are!”

“NO!”

“I promise he won’t hurt you!” Mancandy was crouched down.  He was turning Death over and showing he was mostly black fabric hanging in various layers.

I then hear a small grunt and the distinctive sound of Mancandy laughter.  “Alright then!” in a bemused but amused (that was fun to type) tone of voice.  He came in still laughing as he explained that Mr. Lion had gathered up his courage, run up to the porch, kicked the crap out of Death, grabbed his candy, and ran away.  I like that kid.

All that to say, Tsuki sat in that hood for hours and didn’t try to escape. As a kitten that’s fairly rare behavior. And she found herself with a home. Other pets have been added, but Tsuki remains the boss and is the favored fuzzy of Mancandy. She acts more like a dog than a cat.  She enjoys following us on our walks/jogs, prefers my dog to the other cats, and has zero fear.  She also head bonks.  If Tsuki loves you, there’s no doubt.  She’ll walk up to you and smack her head into yours.  Sometimes it’s a gentle bonk, sometimes you see stars and your eyes water.  She also does goofy stuff like find a window she can watch you from and when she’s ready to come in, hangs on the screen and yells.

Tsuki Somebodys watching me

Sometimes I feel like….somebody’s watching me…..

This morning I went out early and mowed the yard.  I, of course, got too hot (I’m the most ridiculous delicate thing about heat), and had a serious headache by the time I got showered off and changed. I laid down to see if that would help the pain ease up and Tsuki came to help me nap. Her version of help goes as follows:

Circle approximately 20 times with butthole passing very close to humans face each time. Settle down in humans armpit area and pull arm around self. Use claws to ensure arm goes where it is wanted. Purr like a maniac. Decide love has not been shown and rectify by massive head bonk along with extremely loud purring. Repeat circling and arm moving. Try to bathe humans arm and make arm sore. Adjust arm every time human starts to drift off, liberal use of claws to ensure compliance. When human has drifted off, get up, smash face into the human face, purr, and begin the process over again. When human gets angry immediately begin snoring in adorable little snorts, termed kitty snortles. Human will settle back in.

That went on for about 2 hours. I finally gave up and got up. I love snuggling with fuzzy creatures but head bonks while nauseous with a headache is just too much love. As I type this she is being kicked off the other couch for trying to snuggle with Mancandy and using her claws on his leg. It’s a hard life for the queen of the household.

As an aside, I had to rescue her from the front porch where a group of birds decided to corner her and screech her to death. She’s not exactly skilled at catting.

Tsuki Tongue Attack

Further proof the catting is not strong with this one. 

Adventures in Nature and Arm Noodles

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I received a message from Mancandy that goes as follows:  “I think I’m going to buy some workout equipment.  I’ll come up with a routine for us.”  That seemed pretty innocent, so I text back something along the lines of, “ok” and thought nothing else of it.  Mancandy is a man of action, but only for a few minutes.  His “love” of running lasted a few weeks at most.  His “love” of the gym lasted a few months at most, none of it during the time I’ve lived here.  On his way home he texted me that we were going to go pick up the equipment a little ways from the house.  I put on a bra and considered myself prepared.

We set off to pick up “equipment” without an address.  He knew a city name (which neither of us had ever been to) and the trip would take well over an hour.  Mancandy did not seem concerned about the lack of details, he went through an ATM lickety split and off we went.  I love a road trip, especially to an area I’ve never seen, so this was much more my barrel of monkeys than his.  The light was beautiful as the sun started to ease down behind the hills, and the rural countryside with pretty pastures and old barns was lovely.  I occasionally tried to hint that we might want more information before we committed too far to the drive, but I was waved off.  We were to just give him a call when we got close.  This made me nervous, but there was very much an air of “let it go”, so go I let it.

When my phone’s GPS announced we were within 5 miles of the tiny town Mancandy gave Muscleman a call.  No answer.  A voicemail was left and we sat in silence.  I very much wanted to say “I told you so”, but I decided to give Muscleman the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe he was pooping.

A few minutes later Mancandy’s phone beeped.  A text came through asking where we were.  Mancandy text that we were pulling into town.  We got a return text to go to a storage building right past a home improvement store.  Couldn’t miss it.

We missed it.  We plugged the storage company’s name into the GPS and we ended up at a Dollar General next to a feed store.  We drove back and forth a few times to see if we’d overlooked something.  We hadn’t.  Mancandy called Muscleman again.  No answer.  Tried again.  No answer.  I wanted to say something along the lines of “must be a really long, involved poop” but I didn’t.  Because I’m a lady.  He called again and left a voicemail.  He then decided we should go back toward the main part of town and look around.  As we pull out the phone rings.  Muscleman begins talking.  There are nods and yups and sounds goods.  I’m told we should go back the direction we came.  The storage buildings would be past a church, next to a hardware supply store, and were the only things around so we couldn’t miss it.

We didn’t miss it.  We’d been miles past it when he bothered texting us the first time.  By this time I’m a little irritated, but I’m alone in my frustration.  Muscleman told us to follow him up to an old storage unit off the beaten track.  When he opened the unit Mancandy let out a tiny squawk of excitement.  There were pieces of workout equipment all over.  There were a few odds and ends in the unit as well as a kayak and a motorcycle.

By this point, I had been holding my bladder for a long time and had hoped I could run to the hardware store, but it was closed for the evening and I was getting desperate.  Now I’m well aware that most of my stories involve my need to find a bathroom pronto, but that’s not on purpose.  It just seems to happen that way.  When I stood up and started moving my need to pee went from gotta go to GOT TO GO NOW, WOMAN!  I decided I’d take my chances with surveillance cameras and told the boys I was going around back to pee and they should stay up front unless they wanted a show.  They just blinked at me.  I took that for an affirmative response.

By this time twilight had fallen hard, edging toward night.  The storage buildings were well lit and far enough from the road that I had privacy.  We even had napkins in the truck so I was pleased with my luck. These buildings were long but squat, like chicken houses.  There were several in a row, side to side, and I decided walking behind to the last building was my best bet of covering up should someone new drive up.

As I’m walking around the side of the furthest building I came face to face with a pasture edged with woods.  A loud honking snort exploded in front of me and I let out a strangled yip and backpedaled.  Before I turned to try and escape from the honky monster I realized it was a small herd of deer.  I’d startled them and they were alerting and fleeing, white rumps flashing through the trees.  I had to stand still and breathe deeply for a moment to keep from laughing really hard and possibly wetting myself.  I snorted out a quiet chuckle and kept walking.

I found a small area that didn’t appear to be covered by cameras (none that I could see anyway) set beside the building in shadows.  I began the ungraceful task of trying to get undressed just far enough I didn’t dribble on myself but also not so far as to be unable to cover up quickly if needed.  I had my shoulders back against the building, my knees bent, and my body stretched back at an angle.  One hand kept me balanced, the other kept my clothes out of the way.  It was not graceful or stable, but it worked.  As I relaxed a loud, shrill shriek sounded right above me and a dark object flew at my face.  I was past the point of no return and my brain was torn between not getting pee on my clothes and not letting my face be torn off by the crazy shrieking thing hurtling at me.

I leaned my full weight on my shoulders and smacked out with my hand while gulping air to shriek back and pinwheeling with my other arm.  I wasn’t sure exactly going on, it was just loud and there was a lot of panicked movement on my part.  At the last moment, the creature swerved away and up, flying back up to the top of the building.  I had apparently interrupted the evening rest of a large bird (crow maybe?) and he was at the top of the building cursing at me.  I, due to my panic, had emptied my bladder to the point of negative and was smashed against the building.  I had no idea if I’d kept my clothes out of my own way, for all I could remember I might have sat down right in my puddle.  After using the napkins to clean up and standing up I reached down with great trepidation.  Fortunately, I was dry.  I considered it a minor miracle that I managed to not embarrass myself.

It felt as though I’d been gone 30 minutes but neither Mancandy nor Muscleman seemed fazed by my arrival.  Muscleman was telling Mancandy about his time in the Marines (which excited Mancandy who is also a former marine).  When there were attempts to tease me about my unladylike behavior I explained they ought to be impressed because mother nature tried to make me pee on myself or have a heart attack twice and neither had happened.  They didn’t seem to know what to say to that, so Muscleman started telling us stories.  He is a ladies man, old fashioned, believes marriage is forever (he’s been married four times but it just doesn’t seem to stick on him and the irony of that entire concept was lost on him), loves motorcycles, doesn’t drink much anymore, has internal damage from an ex-wife feeding him rat poison, has refused to run since he got out of the marines because” fun runs ain’t fun man”, doesn’t understand genetics because his son has more hair on his back than a gorilla but no other men in the family on either side have hairy backs, wants to sell his motorcycle for a steal since it doesn’t have a title, loves women but is pretty sure we’re all killers, and likes making fun of the young guys working out at the local gym.

He was so excited to have an audience we stood getting eaten by mosquitos while he rambled.  When I glared at Mancandy long enough he finally broke away and wished Muscleman well.  We started the long drive home with a ton of gym equipment in the back of the truck and a VERY excited Mancandy.  I heard all about squats, and racks, and lifts, and pull ups, and gains, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I was promised the ability to eat more carbs and be less strict with my diet.  I heard all about the proper way to stand, the best way to get a title for a boat (or motorcycle) that doesn’t have one, musings about how quickly we could build up our strength, and the need for caution since we have crappy backs.  It was decided that our schedule should be lifting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with cardio on other days.

On the days we lift I don’t make excuses.  No matter how crappy I feel I go out there and sweat and make unflattering noises.  I put off showers after working outside and sweating.  I don’t complain.  I’ve made some small improvements and while I don’t look forward to it, I also don’t dread it as much.

However, there has been a slight issue with his occasional need to patronize me.  For example, when I struggled to lift a particular weight Monday (my arms are noodles of weakness) he kept fussing over me and finally patted me saying “you know, at some point, you’re going to have to lift less than me, it’s inevitable”.  Up until now, I’ve done every single exercise at the exact same weight he lifts.  I’ve done every rep.  We’ve gone toe to toe, and while he may do certain things with more ease, I get it done.  Now I refuse to do less.  He can stick that tone up his rump.

Yesterday was Wednesday, we were supposed to work on legs.  I worked outside most of the day and was sweaty, itchy, and ready for a shower a couple hours before he got home.  I waited impatiently and pounced as soon as the door opened.  We needed to work out so I could stop itching.  I was told, casually, that we were going to skip working out.  He was worn out.  I thought briefly of punching him but refrained.  I stomped up to my long overdue shower.  I should have gone out and done it anyway.

I feel quite strongly that after the weirdness of getting the weights and having to listen to hours upon hours of Mancandy jabbering on the benefits and delights of working out, I should not be the only one ready to go no matter how tired or irritated I am.  If he has decided this is a passing fad I may injure him.  Also, I’m craving a banana concrete with Reece’s peanut butter cup chunks mixed in from Sonic (if you haven’t had one yet stop reading immediately and go get one).  Working out is supposed to allow me to have that occasionally.  And I NEED some freaking chocolate people.  So I’m just going to go out there whether he does or not.  I’ll make it my own thing.  And if he quits not only will I get to eat sugar or bread occasionally, I’ll get to pat him and say “sometimes you will just have to lift less than me, it’s inevitable”.

That Time I Almost Died…

Standard

 

I loathe working out.  I hate wearing things that highlight all the things I hate about myself (which is almost everything) and sweating.  I can’t even begin to explain how much I hate sweating.  I have given up going to gyms or running (which I never could do very well and most definitely not gracefully), or a plethora of other “healthy” activities.  I love watching athletic events, I appreciate someone who is athletic, but I am not that person.

Mancandy is a former marine.  He loves to work out.  Well, he loves to lift weights and do stupid things like measuring his biceps (really dude?).  When we first started talking he was going to the little gym down the road and lifting weights with the single-minded nerdtastic focus he uses with everything.  He had charts with his measurements, supplements to boost this and decrease that and make him full and give energy and blah blah.  Before he got into lifting he was a runner.  Being a naturally tall and (until he hit his thirties) lanky build, he ran a lot.  He was in track in high school and joined the marines right after so the speedy movement and emphasis on fitness increased.  Being in the military eight years gave him plenty of chances to run around and while stationed in Africa he decided he needed to add bulk to his lanky self.  His days, as he tells it, were mostly working for the military and then working out.  That was all there was to do.  Fast forward to us talking many years later, and he was out of the military, not running as often, but increasing his fascination (dare I say obsession) with lifting weights.

And then he hurt his back.

But he continued lifting weights using the method of “grin and bear it” to cope with the pain.

And then the pain was so severe he couldn’t lift anymore.  He couldn’t stand up straight or walk normally.

I harassed him until he finally went and got help, but at that point, it had been months since he’d been in a gym and he couldn’t seem to get back into the swing of things.  Lately, he’s been going out at various times of the day in various temperatures and running.  He’s highly insulted that despite being able to run for miles without much effort in his younger years, now he pants and sweats and cramps like the rest of us.  I have a feeling he was pretty sure he was elite and would never be like one of us plebeians who are too lazy and fat to exercise properly.  I try not to derive enjoyment from his misery when I’m well aware he has been judgmental most of his life, but I’m petty that way.

Meanwhile, during his sweaty bouts of running and chit chats about getting healthy, I’ve been fighting to lose weight.  Unlike his skinny self, I’ve struggled with my weight and body image as far back as I can remember.  The typical diets and exercise never garnered much success, so I always quit and heap that much more self-hatred onto the pile in the back of my brain.  A friend gave me a heads up about low carb and after looking at it and reading a bit, I decided to try it.  And it has worked!  My body shape has changed and clothes fit better or are too big to be worn.  It’s much slower than other people’s losses, but when I compare it to the zero change with traditional methods I try to stay focused.  As I hit plateau points I get very crabby and restless.  So I stupidly talked about adding a workout to my new eating habits with the man who gets ridiculously excited about exercise.

All that to say, Mancandy is just sure we need to be workout buddies.  There’s no good way to tell someone no when the person you are pretty attached to wants to share something they love with you.  Not if you don’t want to be a jerk.  And also not after you have whined extensively about being fat.  So after many hints that we should jog together (he says run, I say walk, we settled on jog), I decided to stop being a jerk and go.

My disinclination wasn’t even so much about hating to work out (although I so very much hate it, all you tiny people talking about endorphins can just shut up because those are the worst lies in the history of lies and you suck), but more about not wanting anyone to see me work out.  Chunky chicks do not look good running.  Chunky anyone’s don’t really look good running.  Things that shouldn’t be there bounce and move and sway in a way that draws attention.  I have a tendency to turn red for no reason anyway, if I work out or get hot it’s exacerbated, and if I’m both I might as well carry a sign that says “Yes, I’m so red I appear to be glowing and I thank you for noticing but no, I’m not having a heart attack”.  I also sweat like a man.  Not dainty sweat that makes you look athletic and healthy like the stupid fitness ads.  I look like someone dumped a 10-gallon bucket of water on me and forgot to hand me a towel.  It’s not cute.  I know the man isn’t stupid and is aware I do not look like a Victoria secrets model, but I didn’t want him to see that.  I don’t want anyone to see that.  But, relationship rules say if it’s important to them, you should stop being a twit and go for it.

So I went for it.

I put on my one sports bra (that I bought years ago with a half thought to work out), yoga pants (that have never seen yoga in the 10+ years I’ve had them), a big t-shirt, tamed my floof into a ponytail, and shoved my feet into my sneakers.  I was ready.

We started out walking and he did some sort of stretching stuff that I ignored.  He brought a soccer ball to kick around because he said it gave him something to focus on and would take my mind off of things.  We walked down to the beginning of the walking trail that loops down behind our house and goes back toward a creek and basketball courts on the other side of the subdivision.  I’d guess doing the entire loop is about a mile, but I have no frame of reference so that may be a total lie.

As we walked he put the soccer ball down and started bouncing it out ahead of us only to kick it further ahead when we caught up.  I know my athletic ability is in the negative, so I didn’t touch the ball.  When he decided it was time, we picked up the pace.  For the first section of the trail I thought, just maybe, I turned athletic without realizing it.  We’re both tall so it was easy to match strides and he jabbered and goofed off making me laugh.  Then my body noticed I was jogging.  My lungs decided air was not available and I tried to quietly pant.

Just so you know, the only way to quietly pant is to not take in enough air.

Despite my lack of air, I refused to give up that easy.  We’d barely begun.  I couldn’t be that much of a weenie.  Mancandy, completely oblivious to my lack of air or ability, kicked the soccer ball across the path.  I kicked it out of my way in self-defense.  I’ve never played soccer.  Maybe I should have.  What I lacked in finesse I made up for with strength.  I sent that sucker flying.  For some reason, this startled me and I felt the need to fix my mistake.  I took off after it like my ass was on fire.  I actually yelled at the ball to stop.  It ignored me.  By the time I got to it I’d run further than I’ve run since I was a kid.  I am no longer a kid.  There was no quiet panting.  I was heaving like, well, something that heaves.  The sweat had made an appearance.  I was not looking terribly attractive.  Mancandy found this really funny.  He just grabbed the ball with a foot once he caught up and kept jogging.  I tried to stay beside him, breathing and sweating like a winded, overworked horse.

He asked if I wanted the ball.  I shook my head, talking seemed like a bad idea.  I might puke.  He laughed some more.  By now we’d gotten a good ways down the trail.  The layout of the trail takes it on a winding path, so by this point, we could not see our house but we could see most of the rest of the route in front of us.  I sent up thanks that no one was using the trail.  I glanced behind me and noticed a little black cat coming toward us.  Tsuki was a tiny ball of fluff Mancandy took in one Halloween years ago.  She has no idea she’s a cat and usually follows us when we walk the dog.  I personally think it’s a really adorable pack when everyone is out and walking.  My pup was still in the house as her back and hind legs can’t handle much exercise anymore, but Tsuki (pronounced sue-kee) decided to see what we were up to.  I started laughing at the sight off her jogging along and had to cease immediately, bend over, and breathe to keep from upchucking.

Mancandy slowed down so we could walk for a bit (I wasn’t the only one breathing hard, he just doesn’t seem to take it personally like I do).  Tsuki caught up and gave my shin a head bonk.  The soccer ball interested yet worried her, so there was a lot of sneaking up on it only to run away.  Once I got my breath back a bit, the pace was increased.  I did not like this.  At all.  Once around a fairly steep curve in the trail that begins the loop around toward our house, I had an unpleasant tingling sensation.  I had to pee.  I didn’t pay much attention, I was trying to not look like a wounded wildebeest on its last leg, but the sensation was persistent.

In one of the less fair gifts to my gender, the muscles that make sure you don’t pee on yourself tend to develop issues performing their job.  Generally, this happens after having children or with hormonal changes during menopause.  I was gifted with the need to cross my legs and concentrate really hard if I sneeze or cough without having gone through childbirth and still being of childbearing years.  I’m special that way.

I tell you that to let you know that having to pee while jogging (or trying my best to jog) was worrisome.  I didn’t want him to see me all sweaty and red and gross, I most certainly did not want him to see me pee on myself.  Around the next part of the curve, I had to admit defeat.  Being skinny was not worth using the restroom in my pants.  That was asking too much.  So he took the loop all the way back around to add distance to his trek at a jog and I would walk back without the extra loop.  He’d eventually catch up and we’d finish the distance back to the house.  The cat wasn’t sure who to follow but since I was moving slower and had the ball, she eventually settled on following me.  I huffed and puffed and contemplated throwing myself into the creek running off to the side of the walking trail.  It would cool me down and I could pee without anyone noticing.  It seemed like a win-win.

Suddenly, Tsuki looked around panicked, twitched her tail violently, and took off making a squawking sound.  I looked around but didn’t see anything.  I shrugged and followed behind her at my snail’s pace.

I began to hear a high pitch noise.  It was barely noticeable and I didn’t pay it much attention.  If I could calm my stupid breathing down enough that I didn’t sound like a wheeze machine it might make me a little less unappealing.  If I was really lucky he’d get a cramp and take even longer to catch up, then I might not be sweating so profusely.  I was beginning to focus solely on the distance between myself and my house.  I had to go.

I felt a pinch on my arm and looked down to see a mosquito pulling a vampire move.  I squished her, and in doing so noticed another land on my arm a few inches from her fallen compadre.  I squished her and saw more descending and motion around my head and shoulders out of my peripheral vision.  The whine suddenly made sense, it was dusk and I was walking alongside a wooded area next to a body of water.  Granted, mosquitos can’t hatch in running water but creeks always have puddles of standing water alongside them.  I was a smorgasbord with quite a distance (well, quite a distance for someone as out of shape as me, we’ll put it that way) to go.  I had to go with an urgency that was keeping me sweating.  And now there was a swarm of mosquitos.

They came in like a hunting pack, I was soon enveloped in a gaggle of the tiny demons.  I pulled a Tsuki, squawking and darting off.  I was suddenly less worried about peeing on myself and more worried about malaria at worst, anemia at best.  My breath was stolen from me yet again, and rather than kicking the soccer ball in front of me I just scooped it up and carried it.  All of my concentration went to moving faster.

The greatest migration on the planet, the huge herds moving across Alaska, only happens because of mosquitos.  They annoy the massive herds so much that as soon as they drop calves they start moving trying to find relief.  Miles and miles of land have been changed according to that migration, hunters and prey alike are dictated by that same pattern, and it only happens because of mosquitos.  I understood those herds completely.  I was so tired, my fat was crying.  I was jogging weird trying to hold my bladder, and I hear a breathless yell of “keep going, they’re still behind you!”

Being stalked will add some gas to your tank, so I dug deep and kept waddling along as quickly as I could manage.  I had been thinking very sweet thoughts toward him for warning me and coming to keep me company when the man in question caught up.  As I smiled at him (it was probably a super creepy grimace but whatever) I noticed him pulling ahead of me while looking behind him.  The smile/grimace disappeared.  My mouth fell open as the man for whom I’d put myself through this horrible, embarrassing, uncomfortable experience kept pulling ahead and away.  HE LEFT ME TO THE HOARD.

At this point, I’m too out of breath to yell at him but the glare I put out should have burned the depths of my wrath into his back.  We turned the last curve and I could see our house!  I could also hear the whine again.  I was probably imagining it, but it kept me going when I really wanted to just lay down in the grass beside the path and throw up while I quietly peed on myself.

I cut through the back yard while he jogged his annoyingly energetic self further, following the path up beyond our yard.  I slammed into the house and cursed with the frustration of having to climb the stairs rather than dash into the bathroom downstairs.  I could not tolerate the thought of putting the sweaty clothes back on after peeling them off and I was not about to wander around naked, so upstairs to the bathroom with a shower was my only option.  The cool shower after relieving the most pressing need was quite possibly the best shower of my life.  I was sure I was covered in mosquitos and scrubbing with perfumed body wash in the rainfall helped bring my dodgy grasp on sanity back.

After I was clean and comfortable I stomped into the bedroom.  No Mancandy.  I stomped down the stairs ready for battle.  No Mancandy.  I continued stomping around the bottom floor of the house.  No Mancandy.  Also, no pets.  I stomped over to the window and look out to see my sweet old dog (who takes it extremely personally that we don’t take her on long walks and let her do zoomies anymore) doing mini zoomies in the yard while Mancandy laughed and told her how fast she was.  She adores him in a way she adores very few.  It was the sweetest thing ever and I couldn’t stay mad.  I wanted to.  I tried to hold onto my rage.  But when the man bent down, told her to give him her eye boogies, and then cuddled her telling her how pretty she was, that rage just floated away.  It’s traitorous that way.

Plus when I fussed at him about it later, as if I was still mad, he just laughed at me and walked away.

That’s cool.  When the zombie apocalypse happens I’m just going to go ahead and trip you, dude.  Right out of the gate.  Then you can watch me leaving, horrified, as the hoard approaches.  And thanks to you, especially if we keep doing this stupid working out crap, I might just be fast enough to outrun them.