Run. Dog. Cat. Cat. Me.

Everything you need to know about running and life and any other random crap I find bouncing through my mind like a ping pong ball. And always be sure your shoes are happy.

Archive for the tag “Keurig”

AT&T: How I Learned to Stop Internet and Love Tech Help

A few miles south of the Canada/North Dakota border there is a field in which cattle roam among the remains of a Depression-era farm, three sides of an ancient barn leaning nearly perpendicular and the crumbled circular foundation of a corn silo the only evidence of a life or lives long gone.

Or are they?

Look closer.  That crumbled foundation is a clever disguise hiding the rumored-but-never-proven Top Secret Headquarters of the AT&T Customer Service Department.

Deep below the earth are two pale, thin men.  Men who spent their high school years winning the Science Fair and inventing robots to do their Spanish homework.  Men who, despite their most sincere efforts, could not fathom the intricacies of asking a female to the Prom, reduced to quivering, slavering mutes.

These are the few, the special, the cream of the technical service industry crop, carefully vetted by the “Home Ec” teacher, in actuality a member of the top echelon at ATT Customer Service.

Years of secrecy, years of scrabbling up the TechServ ladder, learning to play those life-or-death politics, the two men became a team so bonded, so close they finished each other’s sentences, “Thank you for calling AT” “& T”.  Seamless.  Desperately plotting, playing the dirty warfare of TechServ, they eventually triumphed.

Finally they landed in this North Dakota field, 20 degrees below zero, wind screaming, blinding snow blowing sideways; a moment etched forever in their collective mind.  This was their nadir, their Olympic Gold, their Stanley Cup.   Down, down they descended, thousands of feet, emerging from the elevator into a brightly lit hallway, Muzak softly playing their team song, “Muskrat Love.”

Daily they review US hot spots.  Is there an energy crunch?  Snow/ice storm?  Season Finals or the Golden Globes?  Tax time?  This morning they peered gleefully over the reports, clapping their fish-belly-pale hands and bouncing on their little toes.  “OH, lookie, um, ‘BENJAMIN'”, one tech squealed, “ICE!  SNOW!  Hundreds of thousands affected!”

“Benjamin” trilled, “Oh, um, ‘SAMUEL’, how awesome!  And – it’s  Monday too!”

“Benjamin” and “Samuel”, clutching their AT&T 1998 “A Team” mugs full of weak, tepid tea, headed to the console, all the while sighing happy little squeeeees.

The console was blinking like the Rockefeller Square Christmas Tree and the boys knew very well what that meant, millions of customers pressing 1 for service, 2 for billing, 3 for a new account, painstakingly entering their 10-digit service number on the minuscule screens of their cell phones, only to be asked to re-enter the number for security purposes.  A happy little shiver went up their spines and they giggled.

OH, no – it always happened.  As good as the boys are, and they are the best, someone always manages to get through eventually.  It’s usually an accident although mashing the zero button 32 times will always work – but few people know about that one.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you.  And is there another number I can reach you should we get …”

“oops,” they giggle, remembering first grade and that incident with their underwear.

The boys know there are always a few – usually the ones who’ve had far too much strong coffee – who will return, and they are prepared for that.  It’s not for nothing they are here, sealed below the earth forever, turning paler and paler, marking names off in the 10,000,000 Baby Names for Your Child book.

“Thank you for calling AT&T customer service where we are here to serve your customer needs may I have the number about which you are calling?”

“Thank you.  Is there another number I can reach you should we get disconnected?”

“Thank you.  What seems to be the issue today?”

“Thank you.  I understand that you are saying you have no service?”

“Thank you.  I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.  Please hold one minute while I test your line.”

“Thank you.   I have tested your line and have determined that the issue is that you have no service.”

“Thank you.   I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue. Have you unplugged everything, stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’?”

“Thank you.   I see that you have indeed stood on your head, stuck carrots in your ears and whistled ‘Dixie’.   Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you.   I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.   Please unplug everything again, this time count to 100 in German and turn three times clicking your heels.”

“Thank you.  I see that you have indeed counted to 100 in German while turning three times clicking your heals.  Am I correct that this did not resolve your problem?”

“Thank you.  I understand you have had an ice storm there and believe that your service has been interrupted due to that and you simply want to report the issue.  Oh, please, Mrs. Clarke, please don’t make that noise.”

Benjamin snickers.  He hears the Keurig engage and the sound of a thumb being sucked.

“Thank you.  I’ve scheduled your service appointment for Thursday, Juvember 32nd.  Thank you for calling AT&T, I hope I have been helpful.  You will soon get an automated phone call to determine the level of service you’ve received.  Please consider giving me “Excellent” in every category as anything else will not count and my paralyzed child, Little Timmy, will starve.  Have a nice day.”

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Farting Cows Barn Explosion, F-Bombs, the world is a wonderful place.

I can’t make this stuff up, kids.

Tags: Barn Explodes Farting Cows, Farting Cows Barn Explosion, Farting Cows Make Barn Explode,Farting Cows Make Barn Explode Germany, Weird Germany, Weird News

BERLIN (AP) — A herd of dairy cows nearly lifted the roof off their barn in central Germany when methane released by the animals caused an explosion.

Police in Hesse state said in a statement that a static electric charge apparently triggered the detonation, and a spurt of flame, on Monday at a farm in Rasdorf. The roof was slightly damaged and one cow suffered light burns. No people were hurt.

Police say 90 cows are kept in the shed and it wasn’t clear why quantities of methane had built up. Bovine belching and flatulence releases large quantities of the gas.

But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!
But it’s all right. I’m Jumpin Jack Flash,
It’s a gas! gas! gas! 

While looking for Mick having a gas gas gas on youtube I stumbled across this gem, apparently a new commercial for Audi.  I hope they weren’t saving it for the SuperBowl or something because if so I’ve blown their surprise.

Doberhuahua.  Now that’s fun to say.  Doberhuahua.  Cute little dog … at first …

HAHAHAHA I keep snorting, laughing, thinking about the cows blowing up the barn and escaping, a Doberhuahua rounding them back up.

Another friend shared this, which is awesome – a bunch of people getting together, encouraging each other, doing it for free, and … well placed F-BOMBS!  Perfection, and many thanks to “Steve”.  Watch it now and you’ll want to pull on your longies and woolies and head out at once.

Have fun with that, I’m not going to, I’m only starting mug #2 and you both know the world is not safe until I’m close to the bottom of mug #3.  This morning I started out with Chocolate Glazed Donut and topped the remains with Creme Brulee so I have a chocolatey-carameley concoction fueling me for a visit with Killer in a bit.  Gonna jog on the treadmill, first run since Friday.  I think I’m nearly done coughing up body parts.  This is the cold that never ends.  It goes on and on my friends…

And on a quick visit to my frenemy, weather.com, I am dryly informed that in Memfo Tennessee is it currently 4 degrees.  It feels like 4 degrees, and it is very cold.

4°F
FEELS LIKE 4°
Clear
Very cold.

With this I leave you my friends.  Stay warm wherever you are, and be sure to ventilate your barn properly.

♫This is the Blahg♬ that never ends♫♪

This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
It just goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .
This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
Yes, it goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .

GOOD MORNING!  HAPPY FRIDAY!  IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

mr Rogers

I found this online, it’s a t-shirt, in case you’re feeling nostalgic.

4°F
FEELS LIKE 4°
Very cold.
(intones weather.com)

MR. ROGERS FLIPPING

And take that, weather.com.

(Before you have a heart attack, Mr. Rogers is playing “Where is Thumkin”.   This made my day even though it took several minutes to quit choking from laughter when I first saw it.  I love Mr. R, gentle soul.)

Anyway, I’m so happy, I can’t stand it.  Brain decided to make use of visiting rights and showed up for a while yesterday, struggling to make itself heard thought the 87 pounds of snot muffling everything in my head.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy for Brain.   I think of Indiana Jones fighting his way through many adventures.

indiana jones

“Don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!”

Brain 1 frequently feels this way.  “OMG don’t look,” it thinks, watching me come up with yet another great idea, like going for a run in four degree weather, with only half of my lungs showing up for work today and the aforementioned snot.

“HEY, let’s have some more coffee!” Brain suggests to distract me, so off I trot to the Shrine, happily perusing my little stash, rubbing my hands together, chortling.

Chocolate Glazed Donut?  Creme Brulee?  Mocca Chocolata Ya Ya Creole Lady Marmalade?

mocha chocolatta

OK, you have to admit that’s pretty random and funny.

So instead of running outside I got to Killer’s early and did a couple miles on the treadmill (Mocca Chocolata Ya Ya Creole Lady Marmalade circling, stuck in Brain).  Then Killer lived up to her name, trying to kill me and my co-training crazy friend whom I shall refer to as … um, “Brenda”, who is looney enough to also enjoy working out with Killer.  “Brenda” was a bit put out when Killer informed us that I would not have to do the 2nd plank and would do some upper body instead.  I stuck my thumbs in my ears and waggled my fingers behind Killer’s back Nanner Nanner!  “Brenda” stuck her tongue out at me.  Killer showed me what I would be doing.  “Brenda” very childishly stuck her thumbs her ears and waggled her fingers.  “HA!  You thought the plank was tough!”

Brat.  Dammit.  And then Killer made me do another plank anyway.

Now I’ve had a lovely lunch, the sun is shining, we have a heat wave of 25 degrees (feel like temp 20) and weather.com did not have any additional comments at this time.

So – that’s it.  You just wasted 5 minutes you’ll never get back, perhaps four if you read fast.   GET BACK TO WORK.

This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
It just goes on and on my friends.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .
This is the Blahg that never ends.♬
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started reading it not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue reading it forever just because . . .

Karma, or Enter the Spawn.

no life without water

Having birthed the spawn of satan into the world on a napalm flow of snot for the better part of the day yesterday and later coughing out the rest of his minions through my lungs I’m a bit worn out today; copious amounts of coffee are just as spitting in the wind.  On the plus side I got an abs of steel workout without buying a DVD.  Another notch on the plus side:  I can see again.  Thank God it appears Vicks Vaporub is not fatal to eyeballs.  Also it is, indeed, possible to “Cry Me A River”.

“So you took a chance
And made other plans
But I bet you didn’t think that they would come crashing down, no.”

That’s where I went wrong, once again flying high on getting a run Thursday and immediately taking a chance, making more plans (this run is good!  I’m back!  OK, Friday I’ll do this and Saturday I’ll do that and Sunday it will be …) only to crash to earth Friday morning, victim of human frailty and satan-worshiping germs as the Virus From Hell wrapped me in its evil embrace.  BWAAAHAHAHAHA it chortled as I choked, lungs aflame.  GO AHEAD!  MAKE PLANS!  BWAAHAHAHAHAHA!

atomic blast

Yesterday when I woke it appeared I was (mostly) done coughing and, unaware a lava flow was busy heating up inside my head, I failed to realize why I was feeling down, instead blaming it on the fact that my friends were lining up at the Swampstomper start and I wasn’t.  A couple hours later I realized as far as Swampstomper went it’s just as well I broke my foot unless the karma gods, if I hadn’t broken my foot, would have spared me this cold; either way, not running because of the foot or trying to run with a healthy foot but this cold, it’s obvious that race was not meant for me this year.  Never trust the karma gods. 

It’s disheartening to realize, as I do occasionally before I can force myself to forget again, that the first day I ran pain-free since July 2012 was the same day I broke my foot.  Those first two miles – my brain singing the Hallelujah Chorus  (which you need to watch right now because I just watched it again and it’s going to be a few minutes before I can type much since I’m crying coughing choking laughing, so you have a break) – those first two miles, pain-free!  I floated, gloating, certain I’d found the cure, that running Nirvana is now MINE MINE MINE, clutching the joy … and then I took one more step, too greedy – but those two miles – they were heaven.

It’s human nature, I suppose, to continue to think surely this is the day, certainly it will be like it used to be or even better.

If this thought is based upon some provable fact, yay, you’re right.  “Today will be sunny.  See?  There’s the sun, shining.”  Additionally the odds are you do not live in Memphis.

If this is based on cheerful hope, you are an optimist.  “Today will be sunny, ” you think, living in Memphis, you foolish fool.

If this is based on a belief in some type of cosmic lottery which says at some point it will be time to ease up on any given person, it’s idiocy.  “It’s rained for 24 hours, surely the sun will shine in Memphis today.”

karma gods

Although I’m not really sure what the cats did to piss off Karma I think I should check the closet.  I bet they pooped in my shoes.

Zooming through my Zoo

5:05am and wide awake again.  I think I may start trying to do the elliptical.  I hate to drive to the center just to ellipticize for 20-30 minutes but I’m going to have to do something to use up some energy and calories so I can quit waking so early with nothing to do.  The exploding head would probably blow off some energy but it’s so much messier.

exploding-head-zone

You know, it’s fairly easy to find an argument on Google for whatever you wish to find permission to do, so I did use the elliptical at Killer’s on Friday for 20 minutes.  I actually did it for about 10 minutes, with a rest every other minute because I have, indeed, lost that much fitness in five weeks and had to stop and breathe every other minute.  We will not dwell on that.  I balanced on my heel with no pressure on the forefoot and it didn’t hurt.  I haven’t tried again; I don’t want to screw anything up even though, as I said, it didn’t hurt – I’ve been burned by the Injury Fairy so many times in the past 15 months that right now I’m gun shy.  However, from what I could find on The Great Oracle Google, it’s OK to do the elliptical if I’m stabilized in the boot.  Now I shall consult the other two Great Oracles, you, my two faithful followers of my world-famous blog.  Should I do the elliptical or not?

Remember, the safety of my family, the animals and my foot lie in your hands.  No pressure.

Meanwhile back at the Zoo, waiting for the Shrine to heat up, I let Murphy out.  Hubs said, don’t forget Murphy.  I said, it’s 5:15 in the morning and it’s cold and rainy, he won’t last five minutes out there before he’s scratching on the door.  On the way out to the gym hub’s final words:  just don’t forget Murphy.

So, of course, I did and now he is not in the yard.  dammit.  It’s 35 degrees and raining lightly and I’m out on the deck in the darkness (I tell you, I hear shuffling.  Do snakes shuffle?  Maybe it’s a fox.  Rabid racoon?  I know it’s not Murphy because his collar jingles.) yelling softly (and how stupid is that?  can you even yell + softly?  Isn’t that just talking?)  MURPHY MURPHY but no response.  I’ve had no coffee.  I really really do not want to go down the steps of the deck and hobble around the yard in the dark, in my sock feet sans boot, stepping on razor sharp edges of hickory nut shells which the squirrels constantly drop from the tress, littering the path.  I go to the kitchen door and stand in the carport MURPHY!  MURPHY! and the damn cat scoots out the door and under the car.

I do not have my boot on and I’ve had no coffee.  I’d intended to get a cup of coffee and then get ready for the day.  Now I don’t have time to get my boot on because if the damn cat gets under the deck the story is over and I’ll be crawling in rainy drizzly cold wetness in the dark where snakes might live and that’s going to happen exactly:  never.  I try to peer under the car to see if I can grab her, but I can’t see anything.  Oh, wait, it’s FIVE EFFING O-DARK-THIRTY IN THE MORNING and it’s pitch black outside in the dark rainy morning in which I’ve had no coffee.  Plus I can’t bend all the way over because then my forefoot bends *ouch* so I’m kind of hunched like some crabby old cat lady whispering dammit Chunk!  I hobble back into the house and grab the broom, meanwhile trying to intimidate Mo enough that he won’t go near the open door, which is open in the useless hope the damn cat will run from under the car back in through the open door and into the house.  Plus, intimidating Mo is like candy from a baby, there’s no need and it’s mean so now I feel bad.

I swipe the broom under the car and she scoots out … and directly around the corner to the front porch which is freeking dark as night because it IS night.  I hobble after her in my sock feet on the pebbly surface of the carport *ouch* *ouch* *ouch*.  I can’t see her on the black hole of a porch so I hobble back into the house and around to the front door and turn on the porch light.  Scurrying like a crab I return to see the damn. cat. scoot back under the damn car.  

!@!#$!!!   &^%$!!  *&(*&&^!!!!  and  @#$%!!! I mutter as I sling the broom under the car, swiping wildly.  Where is the damn cat??

Oh, I see.  There she is, so cute and fluffy, sitting in the kitchen doorway watching me attack nothing under the car.

“Whatcha doing, mom?”

Munker and baby

Look at that sweet innocent face, taking good care of her baby to show me how it should be done.

Then I drove  around the block twice trying to find the dog.  I gave up and went home only to find Murphy right there in front of our house, peeing on the neighbor’s bushes.  Tucked tail, ears down, he runs into the back yard and onto the deck.  OH, look, here I am!  Right where I should be!

I’m going to have to do something to use up some energy and calories so I can quit waking so early, forced to be responsible before I’ve had coffee.  The exploding head would probably blow off some energy but it’s so much messier.

explodinghead

Just a little flesh wound.

You can make dinner while standing on one foot but I would not recommend you do so while stirring the popping spaghetti sauce, ouch.

But it’s OK, just a little flesh wound.

Seriously, just a little pop of boiling spaghetti sauce on my arm, I’d rate it point-zero-one on a 1-10 scale.  I had a conversation with a friend one time, discussing another friend with terminal cancer whose stated pain level was 9 or 10.  We considered for a while.  How bad can 10 feel?  We all know 11 is one louder, however the pain scale only goes to 10 so it took a while for us to develop a new pain scale:

1 – my head hurts

2 – my head hurts like a little man inside is pounding it with a little hammer

3 – I’d like to get that little man out of my head and kick his a$$

4 – the little man in my head is using a jackhammer

5 – the little man in my head has a friend helping him

6 – the little man in my head and his friend are close to breaking through

7 – the little man in my head and his friend have broken through my skull and are now dancing in my eyeballs in celebration

8 – the little man in my head and his friend who broke through and did the celebration dance are now stabbing my eyeballs

9 – the little man in my head and his friend who broke through, danced and then stabbed my eyeballs just set my hair on fire …

10. … and … now they just tore my arms off.

Lately I have had ample opportunity to answer the question “Please rate your pain on a scale of one to ten.”  It’s a conundrum.  My ten could be your 20.  Or it could be your 3.  Maybe pain scales should note that a 10 means someone just sliced off both your arms but if you consider it just a flesh wound please choose 2. I ponder what number to choose on my current pain level.

I had my first two children sans medication.  It was the thing to do for some reason.  Don’t take an aspirin, just breathe deeply, you can do this.  So, I did.  I was alone in a room, waiting for something to happen, four weeks early with my girl child.  The woman in the room next to me screamed.  OMGOD HELP  HELP ME SOMEONE HELP MAKE IT STOP.  I was fairly sure someone was actually in the room with her who could help and it appeared they were either refusing or she’d made them promise to do nothing no matter how she begged.

Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA. (*@#$$, get me out of here! Open this $%&%# door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!

Hour after hour I was there, alone, with a couple of Home & Garden magazines to peruse which, by the way and to this day, I hate.  As I repeatedly gazed at gardens that would never grace my home I promised myself – if there was one thing in my life I was going to make sure would happen it was this:  I was not going to make a sound whenever girl child decided to appear.  Tear my nails out, I don’t care, I am not going to make noises that can be heard through walls by unsuspecting, lonely and frightened people.

So – I’ve had levels of pain but pain is complicated by duration, exacerbated by sudden stabbings or electricity jolting through muscles and who knows how much pain it really was, it’s different for everyone.  I’m gratefully past all that, again, and want to remain that way.  I will continue to strive to finally, totally defeat the current issue. Which brings me to stirring boiling spaghetti sauce while balancing on one foot.

Dr. W, as you both know, has been fantastic help since the first of the year and will remain forever my hero since my back did not spasm for three months as it did a few years ago – even without Butt Falling Off Syndrome that alone is enough to put him on the top shelf with all the really big trophies.  Yesterday I tried something new –  Structural Integration – and … just … wow.  I hurt this morning, but it’s a good hurt, ach-y in my neck and shoulders and oddly (because I never do so) I find myself stretching as I walk to the Shrine Of Keurig or sit at my desk, rolling my shoulders and head, and it feels good, looser.

I suppose most people who show up bruised and battered at Lucia’s office are pretty dorked up, I know that she didn’t seem to see much of me that wasn’t torqued one direction or the other.  She started from the bottom up and the first thing she asked me was if I’d badly sprained my ankle at some time in my life.  Yes, indeed I did, 6 months pregnant with the twins I fell stepping into the garage, the Goodyear Blimp of motherhood, landing awkwardly.  The ER doctor said I’d have been better off if it had broken and indeed, it hurt for most of a year if I moved wrong.  Side note:  a fat pregnant woman hopping through the house and office on one foot is pathetic and frightens innocent bystanders who fear the hopping could jolt loose a child.  It didn’t.

She rotated my left foot, then my right and suddenly I realized that my left foot seems to be attached very loosely by about 2 worn out rubber bands, flopping slightly as I stride, the right foot landing firmly while the left foot rolls to the outside before deciding to embrace earth.  Who knew?  Apparently just because the brains and I live in this body does not mean anyone is actually taking charge at the helm, and also apparently my left foot has been flopping about for 25 years refusing to carry its load, thank you foot, I’ll remember that at Christmas, coal in the stocking for you.  In the meantime we will be spending a lot of time, you and me, standing on you without the assistance of right foot.  But no longer will we do so in front of a roiling saucepan.

When I see them Dr. W and Lucia give me instructions, which I then carry carefully to Killer, who assists me in planking and squatting and lunging and monster-walking because in addition to no one firmly at the helm I’m also irresponsible and do not self-motivate properly.  Yes, yes, I nod, slavering happily, yessir, Dr. W, yes ma’am Lucia I’ll plank, I will balance on the BOSU ball, yep yep I skip about in their offices like a puppy but already Brain has seen a chicken and run off after it.

So I thank you, Dr. W, and Lucia, and Killer, and all of you in service industries who help people who are hurting, sick, in need.  I only have aches and pains, I do not have terminal cancer but I did watch my father die day-by-day for a year and I know who the caregivers are – givers because they care.  You are all very special people and I thank you all for making this world a better place while I sit at the computer answering emails and hanging around my watercooler named Facebook, posting pictures of cute kittens, unicorns and zombies.  You rock.

Daylight Stupid Time, Part Deux

I’ve never liked math but I can add, subtract, and multiply, although I usually multiply by two (mother of twins joke ha ha)

I say I can add and subtract but I still spent last night counting on my fingers repeatedly to be sure that if my clock currently said 9:37 and I reset it to 8:37 I had, indeed, calculated properly.  Most of the time I would not care.  I would just go bed and worry about it in the morning whenever I awoke because how much difference can an hour make on a Sunday morning when the only children you have, have four legs and feed themselves?

Unfortunately I knew that this was Road Race Series morning out on Singleton Parkway and I also knew that due to my job I have all the registrations, all the forms, all the chips and B-tags, safety pins and ties, the cash box, the CC slips and all the shirt check lists in my vehicle.  If I show up an hour late to a race, arriving 15 minutes before the race starts, my new name will be $#@*’#$@ #$(*&% with several !!! added on the end and there could be a lynching although my greater fear is being stuck headfirst in a port-o-let that has been visited by many nervous runners.

So I did what I do when I’m worried about things – like most people – and I woke repeatedly during the night looking at the clock, thinking it all through again.  Then I checked my phone, but it’s not 2am now, or maybe it was and now it isn’t again, but it will be and will my clock say 2am then or did it already say 2am and then needs to say it again when it isn’t 2am again?

Finally, exhausted, my head pounding, I fell deeply asleep only to be rudely awakened by sweet Mo tapping my cheek with his soft little paw.

Baby JESUS in a basket in the RIVER!  What TIME is it? I thought as I scrambled for my phone, belatedly realizing that was Moses in a basket in the river.  4:13am.  I turned the phone off and back on again, in case the phone doesn’t turn over to the right time unless you turn it off and back on again.

You laugh, go ahead, but how many times have you fixed some program by turning the computer off and back on again?

Four men rode in a car: a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, a chemical engineer, and a computer engineer.  Suddenly the car stalled.
The mechanical engineer said, “It must be the pistons; let’s repair them and be on our way.”
The electrical engineer said, “It has to be the spark plugs; we’ll replace them and be ready to roll in no time at all.”
The chemical engineer said. “No, it’s got to be bad gas; we’ll flush the system and be on our way.”
They turned to the computer engineer. “What do you think we should do?” they asked.
The computer engineer shrugged and said, “Get out of the car. Close all the windows. Turn off the car. Then turn the car back on and open all the windows.”

The phone popped back up, little white apple glowing and soon proudly announced it was 4:15 am just as the duck quacking alarm commenced to announce it was time to get up.

It could be a trap, you never know.  I could have set the phone wrong, like I could have told Siri that we now live in Pennsylvania and she reset the phone to their time.  I wandered downstairs and turned on the computer to google “what time is it in Memphis, Tennessee” and while I waited for all the windows to reopen I went upstairs to turn on the Keurig so my brain would start too.  Hope springs eternal.  Oh, look, I left the cup of water out on the counter.  May as well drink it up.

HOLY SH*T what the $&*% is THAT?

Because I think it’s ridiculous to spend the money on soap dispenser refills I buy cheap clear dish detergent and thin it with water to fill the soap dispenser in the kitchen.  In all my worries and concerns about DST and the RRS half marathon I’d forgotten I’d done that last night before bed and since it was all bubbled up I left it on the counter to settle and yes, I know what you are thinking and yes, you are right.

I spit the soap out into the sink, my eyes watering, my nose and throat burning, coughing and gagging, spitting, nearly retching.  I took a swig of (REAL) water and gargled, bubbles foaming up out of my mouth and running down my chin, spitting, gargling, foaming, spitting ACK ACK ACK

I gargled and spit, gargled and spit mouthfuls of foam into the sink until finally there were no more bubbles.  I tried some coffee but it tasted funny and I couldn’t figure out why until just now.

Everything loaded in the car I headed to the race site, throat still burning, sipping some juice, fumbling to find some ACDC or Ozzy Osbourne when I noticed – the clock in my car is right again!

Hunkering down with Chunker or how I learned I do, indeed, have two Brains

Chunker Munker and I have not had the best of weeks and it’s all my fault.  She is very happy to agree with that and seems pleased to lay the blame squarely at my feet; she isn’t enjoying life to the fullest following a long overdue visit to the vet.  Mo, the little sweetheart, sadly went along with the plan with a minimum of argument as I shoved the unwilling little things into their carrying cases and off we went.  Quiet little Mo evidenced a new side when we got in the car and he became extremely verbal about the situation, even resisting the vet which surprised me.  Chunk acted resigned until we got home.

I opened the carrier and she scrambled out like it was on fire.  I opened Mo’s, he jumped out and headed toward Chunk to share misery.

The little witch turned on him, soundly smacking him in the head repeatedly while yowling and hissing.  I yelled “CHUNKER!” and she turned on me, then poor Murphy crossed her path and she tried to smack him, arching, hissing, yowling.  Dammit, girl.  We gave her wide berth.  She was pissed off all night and half the next day, jumping, hissing, howling every time someone moved.  At first I thought it was because Mo and I smelled like the vet but by the next day and a change of clothing that seemed iffy.

I think she was insulted and embarrassed by the vet and taking it out on us.

I have to say, I would not be happy having my weight control issues discussed openly in front of my mom and an entire office full of staff people.  It has seemed to me lately that she’s getting a bit … fluffier, but I ignored it.

Yeah, no kidding.   She’s gained over 2 pounds since last year.  That’s a 16% weight gain.

Ooops.  My bad.  Apparently feeding on demand is not going to remain an option.  We will not mention whether I feed my own self on demand or not.  Do as I say, not as I do has been a fine motto to live by.

I told the vet my unsuccessful attempts to get her to play and that I’m feeding them both indoor cat weight control food.  He said that it’s possible her metabolism has gone into protect mode and is slowing down.  Interesting thought.  He told me about a new food that somehow increases metabolism and I bought a small bag.  I trust the vet, I’ve known him for 20 years but I still felt a little bit like I’d just bought a vacuum cleaner at my front door.

I mixed the food half/half with their old food and started the new menu Friday evening.  Sunday evening Chunker walked up to me and started batting at my legs, skittering around.  Eh?  what are you doing, little girl?  She jumped around a bit more.  I pulled out a toy.  She started jumping to catch it, chasing it, crouching, attacking.

Well who are you and where is my kitty?  It’s been a couple weeks now, I don’t think she’s lost any weight but she’s like a kitten again, chasing the laser light, running through the house with Mo, playing.

So I’m going to be doing some thinking on this metabolism idea; I know it will slow if enough calories are not consumed regularly.

Our bodies are designed to protect us, I know that.

In fact I got a really great lesson in that just this month.  Yay.  I always like learning new things.

I’m lying.  I do not like learning new things.  I like staying in my own little comfort zone doing the things I like to do.  I want my life wrapped in my squishy soft blankie in my awesome plaid bell bottom fleece pants and Chocolate Glazed Donut in my coffee cup.  I prefer being closed-minded and I want you all to shut up, most particularly the ones inside my head.

But, there you go.  Catch 22.  Which I read when I was in high school.  I was home, sick, cuddled in bed (I did not own awesome plaid fleece bell bottoms at the time or I’d have been wearing them) and as sick as I was, reading that book I started laughing out loud.  My mom came running down the hallway.  “Are you OK!?”  She apparently thought I was choking.

Maj. Major Major Major: Sergeant, from now on, I don’t want anyone to come in and see me while I’m in my office. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir? What do I say to people who want to come in and see you while you’re gone?

Maj. Major Major Major: Tell them I’m in and ask them to wait.

First Sgt. Towser: For how long?

Maj. Major Major Major: Until I’ve left.

First Sgt. Towser: And then what do I do with them?

Maj. Major Major Major: I don’t care.

First Sgt. Towser: May I send people in to see you after you’ve left?

Maj. Major Major Major: Yes.

First Sgt. Towser: You won’t be here then, will you?

Maj. Major Major Major: No.

First Sgt. Towser: I see, sir. Will that be all?

Maj. Major Major Major: Also, Sergeant, I don’t want you coming in while I’m in my office asking me if there’s anything you can do for me. Is that clear?

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir. When should I come in your office and ask if there’s anything I can do for you?

Maj. Major Major Major: When I’m not there.

First Sgt. Towser: What do I do then?

Maj. Major Major Major: Whatever has to be done.

First Sgt. Towser: Yes, sir.

There are days right now that I feel a bit like Chunk when she jumped out of the carrier, I really feel like yowling howling and smacking random people crossing my path and I don’t want anyone let into my office until I’m not here.  My back is on strike.  This happened once four years ago and lasted for three months.  I could not reach my feet to put on my shoes, my back in nearly constant spasm.

I went to see Dr. W.  He walked in and I slowly stood.  “What happened??” he asked.

“I’m not sure, but last time this happened it lasted three months,” I said, with a little catch in my voice.  OMGod in Heaven, Little Baby Jesus in the hay with the cows DO NOT let me go through last year again.

“I’m not doing any steroids.” I announced.

“Oh, no – nope, this isn’t lasting three months and we’re not doing any steroids,” he intoned.

He sounded so serious that I actually believed him.

He did a little poking and prodding, a little stretching and showed me a small back extension/crunch I was to do 10 times as often as possible throughout the day, then hooked me up to the machine which is like something from Heaven, electrodes taped to my back shocking the sh*t out of the damn muscles and I hope they are sorry they ever started this.  Damn muscles.  I know I said that twice.  Damn muscles.

When everything was done I stood to leave and bounced down the hallway like I was drunk.  Why am I thinking of Florida?  Anyway, I was walking and my back was not screaming like a girl, damn wussy little back.  Waaa waa waa.

Over the past 2-1/2 weeks the visits have stretched from 2 days apart to a week.  This week I was able to go three miles, jogging 2/10’s of a mile 9 times with a 1/10th mile walk between.  Dr. W said things should return to normal quickly.

Apparently, however, phoning in the core workouts is no longer an option and I am newly committed to the stretches and core work – planks, side planks, glutes, hip flexors because what done did happen, as they say in the south, is I outran my core’s ability to function and when that happened Brain 2, the Idiot, shut the entire system down.  Done, stupid Brain 2 said, and turned on the electricity.  Meanwhile Brain 1 and I are arguing that everything is fine and would you please quit trying to be the boss??

It makes sense though.  Metabolism compromised?  Start protecting.  Muscles being damaged?  Start protecting.  It is incredible to me that our minds actually take care of us when we think we’re the ones in charge.  I’m running along thinking I’m in control of my body while, in fact, the very brain with which I’m thinking everything is copacetic is doing something else against my wishes.

Yossarian: Ok, let me see if I’ve got this straight. In order to be grounded, I’ve got to be crazy. And I must be crazy to keep flying. But if I ask to be grounded, that means I’m not crazy anymore, and I have to keep flying.

Dr. ‘Doc’ Daneeka: You got it, that’s Catch-22.

(If you’d like to read more about how fatigue – overdoing it – leads to poor form and results in injury, check this out:  http://thefunctionalgolfer.blogspot.com)

I’m perfectly sane. Proof.

Munker is in a hell of a mood today, hauling her babies all over, mewling.  When she tires of that she smacks poor Mo in the head or jumps on the desk smacking my hands as I type.   When I leave the desk so she has no target she turns to chasing Mo throughout the house, up over the chair, through the dining room, under the table, until finally he hides.  Then I hear her thudding throughout the house upstairs and down, skidding around corners, chasing what?  invisible Mo?  Her brakes don’t always work well and once she went sliding to a stop on her butt, face planting the wall.  She sat there, looking at the wall in her face, her tail twitching semaphores spelling I-meant-to-do-that-and-you-can’t-see-me.  There is a reason her name is Chunk.

I wish I had some of her energy.  Last Sunday I did twelve easy miles.  Granted, I had trouble getting to sleep Saturday evening and had to get up at 4:30 to have everything at the race site by 5:45, leaving me with a net sleep of about 4-1/2 hours.  I got home, soaked in some Epsom salts, ate.  I struggled to hold out but by noon I was asleep on the couch.  I woke two hours later.

Hubs, out running errands, called the house.  “What are you doing?”

“Nothing much,” I yawned.  “I just woke up a few minutes ago.”

“You were asleep two hours ago when I left the house,” he commented, “why are you so tired?”

I thought for a minute.  “Well, I’m consistently doing more weekly mileage than I ever have, and I’m doing it while I’m currently older than I have ever been.”

“Yeah.  I guess so.”

Dude has done two full Ironmans (Ironmen?) and is now scheming to get into Panama City 2014.  140.6 miles in a day, all under his own power.

If I say to hubs, “I got in on that 50K” his eyeballs roll and he shakes his head.  Every.  Damn.  Time.

Sometimes I want to walk into the den and randomly shout FIFTY K!  just to see his Pavlovian response.  Sigh.  Eye roll.  Head shake.

Someday his eyeballs are going to get stuck that way, if my Grandma knew anything.

But 140.6 miles seems perfectly sane?  And – he won’t even buy the bumper sticker.  I did 26.2 and tattooed it on my body.  I’m telling you two, he is a machine, but he thinks I’m crazy.

The last time I felt this sleepy/tired on a regular basis was when the twins were little and the other two were active in grade school.  I’d get them to bed and go downstairs, physically ill with tiredness, my head aching, nauseous, falling into bed, asleep instantly.  A moment later hubs would ask me a question or say good night.

AH!!  WHA??  Wha??” I’d shout, throwing out my arms, heart racing.

“How the hell do you fall asleep that fast?” he’d question.

“I’m TIRED.”

Oh my god I got so tired of saying I was tired.

Tuesday I had 4×1200 (nailed it, happy face) and then worked out with Killer.  Killer, petite little thing, so sweet she wouldn’t say poop if she were standing in a pile of it, said, “Oh, you did track this morning?  Sometimes on days I run hard I do leg work afterward.”

Well then.  If it is good enough for Killer then it is definitely good enough for me.  Someday I want to be Killer and I emulate her whenever possible other than that part where she falls off her bike breaking bones and that kind of shit.  I nodded vigorously like one of those bobbing bird toys I wanted when I was a kid playing with dinosaurs, before I was currently older than I have ever been, but we were too poor to afford the toy so I just had to play with the baby triceratops.

drinking bird

“Okay!” I slavered, head bobbing, “Let’s do LEG WORK!”

Apparently – I’m just warning you, keep this in mind in case it ever happens to you – “leg workout” is French for “beat the holy shit out of yourself while paying someone money to tell you the most effective manner in which to do so.”

Killer seems to have a natural talent, efficiently helping you cause your own self to experience lasting pain and suffering even though she doesn’t speak French, other than a few French cuss words like “lunge”, “squats” and “step ups”.  Google it.  I bet you will find they mean “torture”, “pain” and “endless suffering” in French, although I’m not positive since I took Spanish in high school not French.  Plus all the Spanish I really cared about were the Spanish cuss words, which the teacher would never tell us.  Now days I could just Google them but I no longer give a f*ck.  That would be because obviously I’m good at using the English ones just fine now.

Wednesday I tried to stand and walk to the kitchen.  My legs seemed to think we’d just run Tupelo again yesterday.  I shuffled into the kitchen, leaning my head against the cupboard as I waited the excruciating minute the Keurig was taking, dry swallowing a handful of ibuprofen.  Banging my head softly against the cupboard I whimpered.  “Why?  whywhywhy?”

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

At least I can truthfully say:  I never accidentally ran a marathon.  THAT would be f*cking insane.

WOMAN ACCIDENTALLY RUNS HER FIRST MARATHON, FINISHES IN 3:11, BQ’S

M- Minus 1

Almost exactly, as it’s 4:44am and the race starts at 5am tomorrow.  I’ve been looking at digital clocks since 2:34.  At least the numbers are all even.

What did we do before digital clocks?  Were our minds slightly less TimeOCD?  “Oh, crap, it’s 2:30-ish.”  Did that somehow seem better than those gleaming red digits that light every bedroom so brightly you can see your way to the bathroom despite the near-death of ninja cats in your pathway, their gleaming red eyes eerily reflecting the display?

I spent about an hour and a half doing everything I could think of to drift back off.  Hail Mary Full of Grace mumble With Thee should I carry the powerbar and the beans or just the beans?  But the Blessed Mother figures that’s a personal problem I need to sort out for myself, apparently, and no answer echoes in my manic brain.  FLOP.  Adjust covers.  Nudge snorfing hubs.  Red digits burn into my retinas.  2:59…3:13…3:28…

I do know what we did in the times of BK (Before Keurig) – we had to wait at least 2-3 more minutes for the coffee.  In my early coffee years, even before the automatic pause feature where you could pull the pot out and the coffee kept brewing, dammed up in the filter for a minute while you poured (DO NOT forget to put the pot back on the burner … tiny tsunami of hot liquid coffee grounds spilling across the counter and dripping into the cupboards), I learned the tilt and pour, pouring coffee into the cup while it still brewed.  Yes, you burned a few fingers but what is that compared to waiting two more minutes for coffee?

I did spend several very enjoyable minutes thinking about dinner at Vanelli’s tonight.  Particularly the meatballs.  I may order extra to take home.  With the Traitors firmly ensconced in Brooklyn and Chitown there’s no one to eat them all and leave the empty container in the refrigerator to be discovered later by a very disillusioned mother.

And speaking of meatballs – or any food – how can my stomach possibly be growling hungry at 4am?  If I did the math correctly – and there is always that – but I did use a calculator, which is always fun because when Mo hears it he comes tearing into the room and leaps on the desk, absolutely enthralled with the paper rolling out as I add, biting at it, filing it with little holes like an old punch card – if I did the math right I took in 1,635 calories in carbs alone yesterday.  This does not include the actual sandwich part of the club with ham, turkey, roast beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers, spinach and mayo (LITE) (because LITE is lighter that LIGHT) or the ham, turkey, cheese, mayo and pickles of the cuban, or the meatballs, sauce and cheese on the spaghetti, all of which is just making me hungrier.

Probably all the hyped up nervous leg jiggling is burning hundreds of calories.

I really am pretty excited.  Don’t you just love it all?  I’m thinking of tomorrow morning, standing in the Mississippi countryside in the dark which somehow makes sounds crisper, the shuffling of feet, beeping of Garmins, nervous laughter, inside jokes, and suddenly it’s time – the start sounds and off you move, one of many, united and yet each on their own journey, fighting their own good fight.

I was greeted in my inbox this morning by a friend who shared this article:  http://triathlon.competitor.com/2013/05/training/chris-mccormack-embrace-the-suck_76419.  I loved this:  “I realized that no matter how much I loved racing or how hard I trained, at some point a race is going to really suck. It is how I reacted to this moment that determined everything.”

And don’t you think that as a runner – and I know not everyone who reads my blog is a runner but it’s likely that at least one of the two of you are – don’t you think that through running you’ve learned more about life and yourself than you have about running?

I’ve learned that there is always a finish line.  You keep moving past the finish line, but there is a finish line.  My brother’s death was a finish line.  A finish line that fell down out of the sky and knocked me flat on my back in the middle of the race.

So how do you expect me to live alone with just me
‘Cause my world revolves around you It’s so hard for me to breathe
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No air, air
No more
It’s no air, no air
(With thanks to Jordan Sparks)

But you can’t keep lying there.  You can stop along the way, yes.  But you can’t stay stopped because eventually while you stand there in the middle of the event, stopped, they will start taking down the course and the water stops and the cones and cars are free to roam the streets where you stand and your family is at the finish line, waiting for you to arrive, to be there for you, and then move past that line with you.

And there is not just one finish line throughout your life, you have many more to cross until you hit the final one; you’d better learn something every time you get to one or you will just have to repeat that race.

I’ve learned that there are many friends, but there are not so many Friends.  The ones who help you find a foreclosed house so you can use the backyard as your personal porta-john, that feel your pain, irritation and embarrassment, and can still laugh at you until you are both crying, crying-laughing in the middle of the street until you can’t stand up.  And who also understand you do turn the Garmin off because that doesn’t count on the mileage.  Friends who didn’t get to do that run but will have you crying-laughing again in the retelling.  Friends who get the texts, the crazy I’ve-lost-my-mind messages, the FB posts and offer to join your run even though it’s not on their plan, because they know expletives mean you’re heading over the edge.  Friends that give you the remains of their Gatorade and run the last mile dry themselves, who completely understand that a Ride 5 and a Ride 6 are a continent apart the week before your race.  Friends who live far away and helped you across other Finish Lines, still as near as your heart.  Friends nearby but time gets in the way and months pass before you get together – but those months are nothing when you meet again, you are where you always were; you could go a year without seeing them and call at midnight for help and they would be there.

I’ve learned that you can hit the wall – in life or in the race – and while time seems to stand still, washing you in a shower of drenching, breath-taking, all-encompassing pain, you don’t die, no matter how much you might wish to at that moment.  I’ve learned that you may as well quit standing there and take a step forward.

I’ve learned that you have to look up, not down.  I still look down a lot.  I like to think I’m looking up more but I know there are days I spend only watching my feet shuffle.  This is why I cannot be a runner without races.  I need a goal.  I need a plan.  I need the easy days and the hills and the tempos and the long runs, the rest days.  I need the time alone, running, seeing that mama deer and her twins, and I need the run with a friend while mama and the twins look on.  I spend time looking at the road passing beneath my feet, and I look up at the tops of the trees and the sky.  You can’t spend all your time doing only one of those – you will run into something, or you will trip and fall.

We need it all.  The good and the bad, the joyous and the solar plexus blow.  If you are not a “runner” you are still running the race and I commend you, fellow runner, and thank you, my Friends, for running the race with me. Read more…

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