Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Be A Hero

Today was the day. I was in charge of watching my two nieces (ages 6 & 4) and my nephew (8 months) at the same time. All 3 of them. At once. I was terrified! The two older ones - no problem at all. They can completely function independently - and tell me what the issue is, if one is to come up. That nephew on the other hand - - well, factoring him in made me nervous. Not because of him - he is awesome, and quite possibly the best baby I've ever met. Seriously. That isn't just my partiality speaking. But I'm uncomfortable with babies. I like them when they hit about 2 years old, and can speak. =)

So I showed up for duty this morning, got the low-down on what to feed them, etc. The sun was shining, so as soon as the boy woke up, we headed to the park. It was maybe like 1/2 mile away. The ladies rode their hot-wheels (I was told not to let them ride their bikes by their mom. I didn't ask why, I just decided to trust this tip and bank bikes.), and it went much better than the last time I took some kids to the park on their self-motorized transportation of choice. Rewind a few years (honestly no idea how many, somewhere between 5-10 is my best guess) to me watching my cousins S & J. J may have still been in diapers, and S is a few years older. S grabs his scooter and J hops on his bike with training wheels, and we're off. We get to the park, we're playing for a while when all of the sudden J looks at me and says "I have poop in my pants". I'm like...OK - this is not ideal. I didn't bring a clean diaper/underwear, and there was no bathroom in site. While I was working through that, J proceeded to inform me "...and I'm NOT riding my bike!". Perfect. So I got to carry his bike home, and then S's scooter the last half of the way. So you see - I have experience with tricky kid vs. park situations.

So back to today - - I load the nephew, the diaper bag, a bottle of water, cheerios, my phone, sweatshirts, jelly know...all of the essentials...into the stroller. I tell the 4 year old I will not be pulling them in the wagon - if she wants to go to the park, she has to pedal herself there. I go over the rules (basically just the one rule: Stop at every corner and wait for me) with the ladies, they confirm that they understand, and we're off. The trip to the park is almost incident-free. One small hiccup - the 4 year old stopping in the middle of the street to ask which park we're going to, when a car was coming - but other than that, perfect trip.

We get to the park, and there is much merriment. Climbing the rock wall, hide-and-seek, swinging (underdogs were requested, but I refused. I think we all know that would go one of two ways. 1. I fall flat on my face while trying to "run" under them or 2. I don't push them high enough, and their entire swing-encased body hits me in the head, knocking them to the ground. I agree to "push them really high" - so we it all works out). I got to push both ladies, and a friend of the 6 year old who showed up, on the circle swing. I can push really fast, so I am awesome.

Then comes the tricky point of the day. The "fireman's pole". The ladies are scared. I hold their legs the first couple of times down, but then tell them they have to do it themselves if they want to keep doing it. Why did I do that? I don't know. I will never do it again. The 4 year old (who is an attorney in the making) pipes right up and tells me I should show them how to do it. Shit. So I have a choice to make. I can tell them I can't - and lose all credibility when it comes to the ease of playing, or I can buck up and do it. Please keep in mind - I am 36. A good (at least) twenty years removed from my last playground experience. I am also severely too large for these new-fangled jungle-gyms (is that even what they're called these days?). But I knew I had to do it. How can I expect them to try new things, if I'm unwilling to try them?

So I find the steps up. The second my foot hit the first step, I knew I shouldn't do it - but I pressed on. I pushed my FUPA through the smallish openings in the frame to get from landing to landing. Finally I was up where they were, and looked down. HOLY CRAP you guys! IT'S HIGH! No wonder they're terrified! Of course the opening to get out to the pole is one of the more narrow areas, so I turn sideways, and wedge my fat ass through it. I hold onto the pole with both hands, put one leg out around the pole, and go for it.

blisters will form immediately
Mistake. For a split-second I thought everything would be fine. "I got this" were the exact words that ran through my brain. But no more did I have "this" through my noggin', then I remembered one major thing - I do not have nearly enough arm strength to hold myself up. SHHHHIIIIITTTTTTT!!!! That's what I was thinking for the .07 seconds it took for gravity to drag me down to earth. It was only once I landed, praying no one else was around to see my demonstration, that I realized that my right hand was ON FIRE! In my attempt to keep myself from breaking a leg with the sheer force with which I met the earth, I had given myself like a heat blister on two fingers of my right hand. I'm not going to lie - it hurt like hell! And I instantly had a huge blister on my middle finger. In my attempts to be a hero, and show them all of the fun that can be had at the park - I looked like a jackass, felt like a jackass and gave myself an injury. Who knew I could get into such shenanigans with young kids!?!?

But injury aside - it was an entertaining day. And I got a little exercise. And I got to soak in some vitamin D. And in this tundra we call Minnesota - we're never sure how many of those we have left. But I think next time I'll leave the playground demonstrations to their more fit aunts and uncles. I'll just remain the muscle on the ground.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and have an even better week.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

the anti-recipe for success

Since I am in the midst of a segment of my life where I am the least of an authority on how to succeed, I figured I should share the results of some research I have performed that may help you avoid being a failure. That's almost as good as succeeding - right? I am working on serving a purpose, no matter what!

So here's what I've got - - PITFALLS TO AVOID WHEN TRAINING FOR A 5K - by Natalie Kath

Before I move on to sharing what not to do, let me paint you a picture of this period in my life. It was the first weekend in August, 2011. I had just started my new job 5 days earlier. It was a warm summer's eve...on a train bound for nowhere...I met up with the gambler....we were both too tired to sleep...wait! That's not it. So I had started a new job, after over a year of joblessness. I was trying to adjust to having actual duties during the day - things that I couldn't push off to a more convenient time. I was failing miserably in many areas - working out, eating well, prioritizing effectively.... During my month of "Move It 2 Lose It" success (June) I had gotten cocky, and signed up to do a 5K with my cousin-in-law while we were up at Family Fun weekend. Don't ever get cocky. No good can come of it. I don't know that I exercised since the day I signed up. I had also spent a fair amount of time eating like crap. It wasn't great. So now that I have somewhat set the stage, let's get this show on the road.

Pitfall to avoid #1...  when planning to do a 5K (and by "do" a 5K in my world, I mean: walk slowly), and you have a lot of bod to haul along with you on the route, you may want to actually exercise consistently beforehand. Maybe workout a few days a week, for at least a month or so, leading up to the walk/run. It is a bad idea to completely stop working out for over one month prior to this walk, and assume everything will be fine.

Pitfall to avoid #2...  completely ignore the fact that your body needs water the week before your "race". I'll admit it. When I started my new job, I struggled with how to drink as much water as I needed. When I was sitting at home, it was easy to keep the glass full - but as I was training in at my new gig, I would forget. Most days I only got a glass or two in when I got home. Considering you're supposed to divide your weight in 2, and drink that many ounces of water, I was failing miserably. Two glasses of water wasn't enough to support half the weight of my left foot, much less the entire mass of my bod.

Pitfall to avoid #3...  it may not be the greatest idea to eat greasy/fatty food for an extended period of time, and then only eat one meal the day before your walk (or run if you're super-ambitious). And it is definitely not a good idea to make that one meal a plate full of cheesy, salty hotdishes (or casseroles, if you're fancy). can try and tell yourself that you're "Carbo Loading" - but the truth of the matter is that any beneficial carbs you may be ingesting are far out-weighed by the amount of fat/butter/salt/cheese, that is not going to help you be successful.

I did not obey any of these pitfalls, and it lead to disaster. I was not feeling great from the start, but when I was almost to the half-way point, my side started to hurt. I couldn't catch my breath. Then the pain got worse. I didn't finish because I felt like I was being jabbed in the side with a knife, and couldn't breathe! Ridiculous and unacceptable. I mean, seriously. I've done 5K's before. This should not have been something beyond my capability range. I know it seems silly - but when you don't take care of yourself, your body will rebel. It was basically Remus' way of telling me that he was winning. His "screw you" to me, if you will. Mark that one for Remus, zero for Natalie.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's Been Happenin'

Holy balls you guys! I have missed you! I've planned to get back to blogging about a million times, and then I always get sidetracked! My apologies for my extended absence, but I've had a couple of things going on - and I foolishly allowed them to keep me from you. I think I might be getting my crap together, so there should be smooth sailing from here on out!

I thought I might give you a rundown on what I've had going on the last month or two - and hope it is an acceptable excuse for going missing.

As many of you know, I was on the job hunt. I know I tried to explain to you what that was like (job hunting is the new dating, etc.) - but the best word to describe it was: STRESSFUL!! I was nervous because I hadn't had an interview for a job in like 14 years...little did I realize that was the least of my concerns! I wasn't even getting calls back for interviews! Seriously. I sent out what felt like a million resumes, and nothing. No response. No phone calls. No nothing. Well - that isn't completely true. I did get two responses from shady people who wanted me to work for them because they travel so much, and were out of the country. No thank you. I wouldn't do well in prison.

So the panic set in. And with the panic came laziness. I stopped going to the gym. When I could have used the endorphins most, I decided sitting in my friend's basement and stewing was the better option. (I can make some really good decisions). Skip forward a few weeks, and all of the sudden it happened! I was contacted back by three places. I had phone interviews, and two actual interviews (the third one found someone with matching experience, so I was out of the running). I got one of the my actual interviews. I am now the office bitch at Keller Williams Realty. WOOT! I love all of the organizational, behind the scenes stuff - so this is a really good fit for me. I kind of love it. I also genuinely enjoy the people I work with - and even more shocking - they seem to enjoy working with me!

So I started work on August 1st. Then I had Family Fun Weekend. Then I had to find a place to live. Then I had to pack. Then I had to move. By September 1st.

The apartment hunt was interesting. So many people are renting now, that there isn't a lot available. I went on Craigslist and looked around, and magically found something that is perfect! And it ended up being really close to my sister, her hubby and my nieces and nephew. Perfect! The application process was a bit of a mess - but everything worked out, and I was in! I recruited some fantastic friends and family to help me move on the 1st (basically just took my stuff up to my apartment, threw it in, and then went for pizza).

It has taken me about 2 weeks get fully unpacked. Labor day weekend was a loss - my youngest sister was visiting from Chicago, and it was Granny Kay's 80th birthday party that weekend. I lived among the ruins for a while, but it is finally coming together. And this weekend I get to shop for a new couch!

Then I realized that in my haste to figure out how to schedule my life (it is a major adjustment going back to working full-time after over a year of foot-loose-and-fancy-freedom), that I had forgotten to worry about hooking up cable/internet. That further delayed my return to you. I will work on getting that up and running next week. In the meantime, I will just have to go to the "business center" in my building, and use one of their computers to stay in touch with all of you!

So that is it. That's what I've been up to. It may not sound like much to you - but it was enough to sideline me. =) So now it's time to pull it back together. Start eating well, again. Start going to the gym, again. Get healthy...again.

I'll be back, soon! No more of this "months between postings" business!

Hope you all are well, and enjoyed your summer! Now let's bust it!