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rubberband man

Two weeks ago I opened my closet door, searching for the lightest material I could find. It had to be light as gossamer, and not add one ounce to the scale when I stepped up at the doctor’s office. I knew jeans would add at least a pound of fake weight, so I dug through sweaters, tops, pants, jeans, searching…searching…beginning to feel desperate.

Then I saw it. Tucked back out of sight, never worn because it had always been too clingy. Too revealing of bulges and bumps I didn’t want on display. The dress. Just a simple navy, scoop neck knit. You ladies know the type of dress I am talking about. I twisted my lips as I wondered if I could get into it. Then I lifted it off the hanger and my decision was made.

It weighed about 2 ounces. Perfect. If I could just squeeze my ass into it. I went to ask Wretch if she had a slip I could borrow. It had been so long since I wore a dress that I didn’t own a slip. Wretched Daughter handed me a slip as she uttered the fateful words:

“It’s a slimming slip.”

That should have clued me. The key word was slimming.  I didn’t have time to think it through so I grabbed the slip and headed to the shower to get ready for work. That is when the fun began. I learned some valuable lessons as I struggled to get this piece of spandex hell on:

1. Never put on anything spandex while your skin is still damp from a shower. It sticks like glue and refuses to budge.
2. Never use lotion before putting on spandex for reason #1.
3. Never EVER put it on over your head.  STEP into it.
4. Once you have put it on over your head, you are trapped.

It was nice and soft and stretchy when I was holding it in my hand. Once I got it over my head and under my armpits, it turned into a boa constrictor. It rolled up firmly under my armpits, and refused to budge. I couldn’t reach it to pull it over my head, and I couldn’t unroll it to pull it down.

I was stuck. At that point, I got a bit panicky, and started to sweat like a pig. Which made the boa constrict tighter. It began to feel like I would die, and end up with a rubber band buried up in my armpits.

I pulled from the front. Then realized I was pulling the bottom of the slip out over the top and it couldn’t roll down. Not even one inch. I tried to unroll it from underneath, but it decided that it wasn’t going to budge that way either. I tried to reach behind my back and pull it down from there.  Nope. I tried to pull the whole nightmare of a slip off over my head. Nope. By then my body was swelling from having the blood flow constricted, and it was buried even deeper into my flesh, if that was possible.

I was running out of time and made one last effort. I grabbed the front of the slip and yanked on it like I was pulling down a shade. It hesitated, then suddenly unfolded. I rolled it down my thighs, and then stopped to catch my breath.

Suddenly it felt pretty good. Or maybe it was that I could breathe again. I slid my dress over my head and looked down. Bumps, bulges and odd spots all under control. It really was a miracle slip. Wretch cautioned me that it wouldn’t remold me (dang it) but that it would smooth me.  It sure did. I felt like a tire with a new tread. Today was going to be great, I could just feel it.

I drove to work. When I got out of my car, I realized that the rubberband slip was going to let me know all day who the boss was.

Because every time I sat down all day, the backside of the slip slid up and cupped my behind. I spent the entire day feeling like my ass was in a sling.

All that effort to save 6 ounces on the scale at the doctor’s office.

The dress went in the garbage when I got home that night. The slip is still embedded in my skin.

…you’re bound to lose control when the rubberband starts to jam… ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

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nightlife is the bright life

Reminiscing tonight after seeing something on the television triggered a memory for tonight’s photo response to the NaBloPoMo prompt, NIGHTLIFE.

When Jim (our middle child) was about 4 or 5 years old, we were eating dinner and talking when we noticed that Jim had gotten quiet.  We looked at him and started laughing.  He had fallen asleep in his chair, with a half eaten chicken leg still grasped in his left hand, his arm dangling at the side of the chair. As we laughed, it led to another “Jim story” from about the same time.  Steve got up before daylight one morning to find the refrigerator door standing wide open. Lying on the floor in the light cast from the open door was the red rind off a piece of bologna, an empty cheese wrapper and an empty soda can. When Steve checked on Jim, he found half a piece of bologna laying on the pillow beside his head.  He asked Jim why he had left the door to the refrigerator open. Jim’s response: “because it was dark and I was afraid I couldn’t see to get back to bed.”

Nightlife in my house revolves around the family refrigerator.  The welcoming gleam of the interior light provides security in a darkened room, foods and treats to scavenge, and drama after a big family meal when we struggle and fight to find places to stuff all the leftovers. Then there is the unsolved mystery of the light. Is it on all the time, or only when the door opens?  Even Jim still hasn’t figured that one out, 37 years later.

(Happy Birthday to my sweet Sneezer, who turned 42 on May 25.)

…life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

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friday reflection: the funniest thing I saw this week

This week, the +FridayReflections prompts offered a chance to go back to previous weeks and write about something we had not used as a prompt. Since I missed a few weeks, dealing with other things, I looked back and the prompt I wanted to write about jumped right off the page and into my head:

What was the funniest thing you saw or heard this week?

If you saw what I posted yesterday you will see a photo of a 10 year old boy smiling. If you are very observant, you will notice his tie. His mother noticed it the second she saw him from the other side of the room. Here is the story behind the tie:

Jen called me the other day to share something. I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed, dealing with one thing after another in my life. I was beginning to feel as though a day wasn’t going to dawn that didn’t bring some major thing to endure with it. So I was half ass listening to what Jen said at first. She told me about Awards Day at school for the twins, and their accomplishments. I was proud of the kids, no doubt about that, but still miserable in my own skin. Then she told me about Duncan. 

This year not only did they receive awards for accomplishments, the twins also graduated from elementary school to middle school. So graduation was a big thing for them. Jen told me she sent a tie, shirt and jacket with Dunc so he could dress properly for such an important occasion. She arrived from work just in time to see the ceremony.

And being a mother, she noticed it right away. Dunc, who didn’t hold his bottle until 3 days before Jen weaned him off it, and didn’t dress himself until he was well over 5, had dressed himself. Jacket, shirt and tie in place. Except for one thing.

The tie was INSIDE the neck of his shirt. When she saw it, Jen started laughing. Then she fought the urge to do corrective dressing and let him wear it like it was. 

I was laughing as loudly as Jen while she told me this. I could just picture it, and when I did get a picture from Jen, it was exactly as I imagined. And…the tie was RED, which meant it REALLY stood out.

A bit later I was struck by the real lesson. It wasn’t the laughter, although that was medicine for my soul. It was the fact that Jen got it. She understood what was important that day. It wasn’t the tie. It was the fact that Duncan, the boy with ADD who had been failing the first grade, was graduating on the A/B honor roll.

And THAT is more important than a red tie inside a shirt.

…life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Today is day 23 of NaBloPoMo over at BlogHer and the prompt is OUTSIDE. I was stumped about it until we stopped at a traffic light today. Stevie Wonder said “look what is painted on the outside of that guy’s truck!”  I saw it, and as we passed by I shot this photo. Little bit of editing (I couldn’t be me without tweaking a photo with an app), a caption, and here is my take on the prompt (and also the funniest thing I saw besides Dunc’s tie):

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the sugar in my lemonade

I was going to write something pithy and wise today, the day before Mother’s Day, about something that would be so important it would change your life forever.

Forget that. I do good to put two sentences together. So I decided to respond to the +FridayReflections prompt of who has impacted my life for the better. I could say something about my mum, because it is almost Mother’s Day here in the USA. She and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, but she did contribute one important thing to me. She gave me a backbone of steel, and the belief that I could do anything I wanted to do. 
But the people I want to talk about today are two of the most important people in my life. Throughout my whole life, they were there for me. During hard times, lonely times, times when I didn’t have an answer, there they were. They didn’t always have the answer either, just as I often didn’t have it for them. But they loved me unconditionally, and without judgment. Even when we disagreed, it was always with the understanding that it was ok to disagree, and that it would not affect our trust or feelings for each other. I think of them every day, and especially today. 
They are my sisters, Vicky and Debbie. The sugar in my lemonade.
Vicky, Debbie, and Cathy

We have another side too. A raucous, wicked side that lets us make fun of each other, laugh at each other, and gives me a feeling of zest and joy that last for days. Yesterday we were texting each other, asking Vix if mum’s gifts we sent had gotten there. I just KNEW I was gonna have the most unique gift. I had thought this through, plotted, and planned it so that I would be mum’s favorite daughter by Mother’s Day. I sent flowers:

day 1
Vix Gave mother flowers:

We were both texting back and forth, pretty proud that we had made mum happy.  Then Dooj’s GIFT arrived and Vix sent me a picture:
that is a balloon on top and chocolates too
Our text chat then proceeded along these lines:
Vix: the #$&%@ has outdone us Cath. LMAO.
Me: how dare she do that! I think that $(#*#@$ balloon is a $%*#&@$ bit over the top. 
Dooj: LMAO
Vix: is that the one you wanted Dooj, or is this arrangement too small?
Dooj: lolololol
Me: you sure you didn’t tell them that was for a funeral Dooj? It’s big enough to cover a casket.
Dooj: lololololol…I did tell them no lilies but I’m not going to tell Mother that.
Vix: Momma is getting a kick out of these comments. She did say it was big enough for a funeral. I told her if she kicked the bucket before Sunday (Mother’s Day) we would use it.
Me: lololol.
Me:(to Vix) I hope Dooj’s flowers die first….
Vix: lolololol….
I have a secret weapon though…today mum got these:
Score one for the big sis…
NaBloPoMo photo prompt day 9 is: Light

…be positive…the best is yet to come… ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

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throwback thursday

way back in about 1986

Maddie was looking through some photos I had posted online and found one of my kids and me in about 1986.  She identified everyone in the photo but one person, and asked me “Grammy, who is that?”  I told her it was me, and she repeated her question two more times in disbelief.

She finally said:  You’re as little as your kids!
I said: well Maddie I was a lot younger then, and the kids had mostly gotten as big as me (with the exception of Wretch, who was about Maddie’s age).  (No way was I going to comment on what she obviously meant, which was that I was THINNER.)

Then Duncan started in: that’s you?  that’s YOU?  THAT’S YOU???
Me: Yes Duncan it is me.
Duncan: You look like you need to be married.
Me: I was Duncan, to Gramps.  That’s why I was as LITTLE AS THE KIDS…I got married when I was a kid…(sort of…I was 17).  🙂

Gramps, me and some of the kids and grandkids in fall 2014

Link up any Throwback Thursday photos you would like to share, in the comments below.

…laugh, life is good! ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


epic fail, with joy

Last August I decided I needed to go back to school.  More specifically, I decided to take a class in wound/ostomy/continence care, to pursue certification as a WOC nurse.  The program I chose was a graduate level class with a year of knowledge crammed into a semester.  Online.

I almost hyperventilated as I sank more money than I could imagine on something I would only experience through the computer.  I am comfortable with a computer.  That wasn’t the issue.  It was that I spent the better part of 9 years without much time off, and working 2 jobs (or more) while attending classes.  I survived, swearing I would never go back to school.  EVER.

Then I did this.  I struggled with a new set of rules and regs, screwed up a few times, had a hard time focusing to study (recommendation was 2 hours a day…I think I might have studied 2 hours a week). I felt like any minute I would fail.

But I didn’t.  I made it through lectures.  Made it through proctored finals (3 times) when some kid would ask me for my ID, and search my room (using MY webcam) for any lurking cheat sheets or dust bunnies that looked suspiciously like cheat sheets.  The first time I went through the process, I felt violated.  By the third time. I was ready to take the test naked if I could just GET FINISHED.

I also foolishly signed on to the NaBloPoMo December daily blogging challenge TWO DAYS BEFORE MY FINAL FINAL.  The thing I neglected to think through was that if I didn’t pass that last test, the whole semester was shot.  That’s right.  It was all or nothing.  So I wrote and posted on my blog those first two days.  By the 3rd day, the day of my final, I had been without sleep for long enough that I was delusional and thought I didn’t have to study much.  Translate that to mean that I procrastinated… painting my nails, coloring my hair, and waxing parts of my body I had no business waxing, until 2 hours before the test, when panic finally set in and I studied.

And passed.  And crashed after it all.  For days afterward I was a zombie, until I woke up one day and realized several things.

1. I was finished with class.  I HAD PASSED.
2. I was going to miss being able to fart out loud and drink a glass of wine while taking a live class.  
3. I had failed at the NaBloPoMo daily blogging challenge.  (Again.)
4. I still had clinical practicum to complete before the class was truly, really completed.

Clinicals in January and February.  Jacksonville, here I come.  Brace yourself.

EPIC FAIL, with joy.  The best is yet to come.

…life is good. find your joy.  ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


the saromony

It’s been an eventful year for our family so far.  That is one reason I haven’t posted anything in the past month.  Events in my life have had me so busy I just couldn’t focus on writing a single post.  Then the desire to write began to go (similar to exercise, if you don’t do it consistently the interest and routine begins to fade.) I was beginning to worry about ever feeling that push in my gut to put my thoughts down again, and then something happened to light me up again.  It was something big in our family, but not important to anyone else, and I thought to myself “I’ll post this, so I won’t forget it.”

So here I am, typing away again on the computer, putting down another memory and laughing about it while I do.  It started with the marriage of my daughter and new son in law.  A second marriage for both, they had been hemming and hawing about getting married for a while now.  Jen, being the planner she is, had planned and postponed their wedding a couple times.  First the mountains, then the beach, no back to the mountains, no, let’s go to the beach. That sort of thing.  Then she decided she needed to plan it far enough in advance she could lose some weight…

Then cancer struck.  Several months and three surgeries ago, Jen was diagnosed with cancer on her vocal chord.  The left vocal chord to be specific.  I know where it is because I saw an endoscopic photo of the monster in my baby’s throat.  Every three months, a trip to the outpatient surgery.  She would be put to sleep and her vocal chord stripped.  Over and over until I began to despair.  Then, after the last surgery the surgeon gave us wonderful news.  It had been downgraded from cancer to dysplasia.  That means abnormal cells, NOT cancer.  We celebrated and took a deep breath.  And said a prayer that the surgery in May will be the last.

So the wedding plans were on again…this time it was the beach…no it was too cold in spring for the beach…it was going to be in the beautiful yard of a coworker and friend of Jennifer’s, in May.  The race was on and shopping trips and online browsing ensued to find the perfect wedding dress and clothes for the kids and Michael (the quietly suffering uncomplaining groom).  Texts were passed back and forth, and photos of dresses, discussions about how to add red to the black and white theme Jen had decided on.  I was stoic, and promised to help with the alterations and anything else I was assigned to.

Then a week or so ago, on the 28th day of March, while I was in another state on business, Jen did something that made me proud of her.  It was totally out of character for my superplanner accountant daughter.

Jennifer and Michael slipped off to the county courthouse and got married.  When I got out of my meeting and turned my phone back on at the airport, I was hit with a barrage of texts.  The first I saw was Steve saying we have a new son in law.  I kind of disregarded it, because this is the same man who told me his parents had an outhouse right before he put me on a plane (2 weeks before I gave birth) to Alabama to stay with his parents until he was mustered out of the Air Force.  (There was no outhouse.)  Other texts confirmed it, including the one from Jen to us all, announcing what she had done, after the fact.

What Jen didn’t count on was the disappointment of one of the kids.  She said Michael’s daughters were ok with it, and Duncan could care less.  But Maddie was disappointed.  Steve confirmed it when he said she looked crestfallen when Jen told her on the phone what had happened.  Maddie had looked forward to being part of her mommy’s wedding and told me later “you won’t have to make my dress fit now, Grammy, since Mommy and Michael got married.”

I figured that was the end of it, and Maddie would get past it and move on.  Then last weekend I got a bizarre text from Maddie.  This was the text I got (remember she is 8 years old):

I thought they were on their way to the wedding of a friend and just laughed at Maddie’s spelling and telling me Dunc was the “ring guy”.  Then I got this from Jen a while later:

THAT was what Maddie was alluding to in her convoluted way!  It touched me that Jen would make the extra effort to include the kids (as many as she could get together at one time anyway) and try to make them feel part of this marriage.  And if it took a little time to put something together, then it was all worth it.  I sent Jen the text Maddie had sent to me, and this is how that went:
So now I have a son in law and three beautiful new granddaughters.  I see the happiness in my daughter’s eyes and it warms me to know she is happy.  
Congratulations Michael and Jennifer.  Sometimes it is the little saromonies that mean the most, and have the most significance.
…life is good. ~cath