Pandemic Part 2: COVID Confessional
Hey there internet pals. How’s everybody doing? Have you perfected the art of bread baking yet? Or maybe you’ve decided the real “wonder” of a Wonder Bread loaf is you can pick it up at the store and not have to wonder how fucking long it took to prep and bake the damn thing.
I once read a quote that went something like “If you have a friend who’s recently taken up bread making, please check on them. They are not ok.” I kinda feel like the earth is currently filled to the brim with people making proverbial bread right now and unfortunately there is no planet bro pal to check on us and pry the 30lb sack of tear-stained flour from our trembling hands.
Note, I have yet to actually bake any bread myself over the past 60ish days. I’ll bake cupcakes and banana “bread” (let’s be real, that shit is straight up CAKE) until my oven is begging for a break, but bread, real bread feels like something that’s slightly untouchable and I don’t think I’m actually qualified to make it.
I heard that every time an amateur baker fucks up a loaf of bread, a packet of yeast dies and I really don’t want that kind of stanky granular blood on my hands.
As for non baking related life, the Breh household has settled into a routine that runs like a well-oiled machine powered by goldfish crackers and Elsa’s long-winded singing to audiences of zero. Really though…
Frozen One: Elsa sings to snowy mountain.
Frozen Two: Elsa sings to empty caves.
Really pulling for Frozen Three: Elsa Live at Radio City Music Hall.
As is, the Breh days have become surprisingly short with every action packed minute scheduled down to the second, but sadly our weeks feel long AF. I’m pretty sure the lobbyists for Wednesday snuck a few extra ones into the week when we all weren’t looking because whenever I check to see what day it is, without fail, it’s mutha effing Wednesday.
The mini update on us is, yes I’m still working full time and watching my kid full time and no I did not find some magical free time to write this during regular business hours. That means, you guessed it, this blog baby is coming to you from 3am in the morning again during some recent sleepless nights.
Aside from, you know, the mountain of uncertainty and crushing fear for the future, what’s been keeping me up is the brilliant decision to change up my sleeping aids and go more natural, which means saying goodbye to the sweet elixir of ZzzQuil and hello to the sweet sounds of whatever the fuck kind of suburban animal wakes up at 2am and shrieks like a winged Game of Thrones CGI invention.
Say what you will about gangs and shootings in the city, but since moving to the suburbs I’ve discovered whatever the hell is going on out there at night is next-level sack of scary.
Ain’t that right, Tom?
So yeah, free time is still a bit of mythical unicorn concept in my house and I’ve finally quit complaining about it and settled into an acceptance and appreciation phase. If this had happened 10 years ago I’d be going through the pandemic alone in my studio apartment where I no doubt would have already rearranged the furniture eleventy-thousand times and started playing incredibly competitive games of Uno with my cat.
RIP Babette, you were too good (and fat) for this world.
As is, I have the daily entertainment of a (recently turned) 2yr old who is learning new words and full sentences every day while finding endless and unexpected ways to crack Dave and I up on the regular. I’d regale you with examples, but I think you’ll all agree one of the few upsides to not being in an office right now is none of us are getting cornered by Cathy from accounting in the breakroom as she forceably shares the “absolutely adorable” story about her son shitting on the carpet over the weekend, so let’s keep this work from home upside train chugging along shall we?
Sorry, Cathy. Put it in your diary.
One side effect of the pandemic I did not see coming has been my newfound total and utter obsession with buying all things tie-dye. I have no idea where my burning need to ultimately turn into a Grateful Dead teddy bear has come from, but I assume there’s some sort of underlying and unconscious need to return to the 90s when my biggest concern was worrying somebody on the school bus was going to see my tie-dyed Dead shirt and ask me what my favorite song was, because guys, I’ll admit it right here and now – I just liked the colorful teddy bears.
Needless to say, my closet has recently turned into a rainbow puking rainbows. I am now the proud owner of a wide range of multicolored gartmets including (but not limited to) a baseball hat, shoes, flip flops, multiple sweatshirts, tshirts, tank tops, a bikini, yoga pants and yes, even a mutha fuckin tie dye face mask, which sadly does not fit. Apparently my melon is smaller than I realized, but the face mask merchants aren’t so much down with return policies right now.
My new collection means that on any given day, my ass can be covered from head to toe with 100% tie-dye goodness. Last week, as I was walking down the stairs for the day, Dave took one look at me and said,
“Ok, Fresh Prince.”
When he’s right, he’s right.
No member of the Breh house is safe from my need to spread the word of tie-dye. Warning: Incoming adorable toddler picture….
Dave is next. He just doesn’t know it yet.
The other unforeseen side affect of pandemic has been my newfound higher level of commitment to running. I’m getting pandemic prison strong and with any hope, by August I’ll be fully capable of outrunning the virus.
Yes, that’s a thing. Shut up.
With the cancellation of my June half marathon and the inevitable cancellation of the Chicago marathon, I don’t have any actual races to train for, so my new goal has been to watch as many hours of vintage trash MTV as possible while logging treadmill miles. Running and MTV really do go together like peanut butter and jelly. That is if peanut butter tasted more like sweaty tears and jelly left a bit of an untreated STD taste in your mouth.
To be completely honest, I’m not ashamed in the slightest to admit my love affair with MTV, specifically anything Real World/Road Rules related, runs DEEP and when you’re stuck in a house forcing yourself to run, is there really anything more relatable than watching 20-somethings stuck in a house running from adult behavior and responsibilities?
Last week I watched two millennials get into a fight where one attacked the other with ketchup. Why? Because the offending girl had a FEAR of ketchup. Yes, she has a self diagnosed case of the condiment creeps. Tell me you can find that kind of quality entertainment anywhere else. You just can’t, so I’m in. All in and getting pandemic prison stronger for it.
Thank you, MTV. Please send me a tie-dye branded t-shirt in exchange for this highly valuable endorsement.
This one. Please and Thank You.
If I’m counting correctly, so far on lockdown we have missed the chance to properly celebrate Easter, Mother’s Day and Quinn’s birthday. I did the best to rectify the birthday situation by throwing Quinn a virtual Zoom tea party birthday because nothing says two like baby’s first Zoom meeting.
I’m not gonna lie, the entire experience, while fun to see a lot of familiar faces, was awkward as fuck and lasted all of 10 minutes while Quinn power unwrapped about 20 gifts wondering why the opening credits of the Brady Bunch were starring at her.
I am however thankful that a 2 year old’s memory of a birthday party is about as good as my recollection of any given weekend night I had in college, so she’s not going to miss what she didn’t get. There were balloons and a cookie cake and a dumb frilly dress with matching tea party hat, so I feel satisfied I checked all the boxes and will not be losing my mom card while on lockdown.
At the end of the day all Quinn really wanted to do was get naked and eat cake, solidifying her role as the true lockdown spirit animal within all of us.
So she did.
While it’s tough to find a more positive way to end a blog than with naked cake eating, I’m going to challenge myself here because amidst all the bullshit and the crappy days and the working my ass off for less money, something really amazing has happened over the past couple months.
It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big Vonnegut fan (basic intellectual bitch, checking in! So it goes…) complete with a tattoo and healthy novel collection
(This photo is dual purpose – go ahead, check out that sweet sweet tie-dye)
But on top of the standard fan appreciation I also have one of my favorite quotes hung at the top of our stairs
It reads: “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” -Kurt Vonnegut
To be quite honest, I’m not sure I can perfectly pinpoint even a dozen of those moments from the past year prior to two months ago. I’m sure they happened, but life was so noisy and we were always rushing to get in the door or out the door and trying to squeeze 20lbs of day in to a Ziplock sandwich bag, so there was very little time to stop and take notice of all the incredible shit going on around me.
But over the past 60 days, things have gotten quieter and I’ve collected more moments than I can count and easily rattle off at will. They’re usually teeny tiny and messy and completely unexpected, but I’ll be damned if they’re not mother fuckin’ perfect.
Sure, there will come a day when I drop Quinn off at daycare followed by dropping Dave at the train and carrying on my route to work. The routine is there, hanging in the distance waiting for us when we’re ready. But right now, spending 24/7 with the two people I love the most even when we’re in the middle of a dishwasher emptying stand-off or tantrum over why I’m sitting on the wrong couch cushion, (gonna clarify that one is on Quinn, not Dave) is something I’ll never get the opportunity to experience again in my life, so I’m grateful. Fucking grateful.
And I hope you are too.
Peace out from the pandemic! Here’s hoping the next time we chat we’ll all be a bit tanner and have long forgotten bread exists in any setting other than safely nested within a plastic bag protected by a hard working twist tie.
Quick Note Before Reading
I recognize this is a really serious time for everyone and that while a lot of us are merely burdened with staying in our homes, people are dying. I certainly don’t mean to downplay the severity of the situation by bringing humor into it. We all cope with serious issues in our own way and humor happens to be my default, but please don’t mistake it for lack of compassion. If you’re not in a place where you’re down to laugh at some of the more trivial and comedic parts of what’s happening in the world, that’s totally understandable and perhaps you skip reading this particular entry. Much love and respect to all of you, even the assholes with basements full of toilet paper.
So let’s begin.
Well, well, well… we’ve really fucked up this time, haven’t we? Based on the pulse of my social media feeds, you are all feeling the various pains of working from home, having your kids home round the clock and generally feeling bored AF like a Disney princess locked in a tower – I see you, Disney+ peeps.
Dave and I are both currently working from home and Quinn’s daycare closed about a week ago – neither of which were a surprise to us, but while I’m used to the daily grind of being a working mom and all the shit it brings, there is no instruction manual for how to take on the full time job of keeping your kid alive during her waking hours while also doing the full time job of your actual job.
If you take only one thing away from this post today, let it be this – childless friends and family of parents who are currently working from home while their kids are off school/daycare,
We Are Not Ok
To add insult to injury, we have no idea when we’re going to be ok again. There’s no finish line to this marathon we didn’t sign up for. So if I see one more insta post about ways to get my “passion project” started during all the free time we have while staying home, I might have to lock myself in the pantry and sob into a bag of flour. My passion project, along with many others during this time, is survival. Just that.
Note: I realize the hypocrisy of that statement as I get my first blog post out in over a year. I wrote this around 3am on one of the many nights I couldn’t sleep, so that’s been fun.
The nights have generally gone like this:
Me: “Alright boys, time to shut it down for the day.”
Brain: “You know the economy might collapse, right?”
Me: “Yeah, but there’s not much I can do about it. So let’s chill for today.”
Brain: “Ohhh, ok…. Hey, remember that time you fell off the risers during the 7th grade choir recital? Let’s rehash that for the next four hours.”
Dear makers of Zquill, I owe you my life.
But anyway, we’ll get through it because parents are resilient AF, but I’m sorry Karen, no I didn’t see and immediately reply to that email you sent 20 seconds ago. Why? Because my child decided this was the moment to express her artistic talent with a yogurt window painting and I’m trying to explain to her why it’s just not a sustainable medium. But don’t worry, that logo resize you desperately need will be handled in due time.
I do have to give Dave and I some props here for adjusting as best we can to a new normal and establishing a daily routine. It goes as follows…
Wake Up 7am… ok, fine 8am. I’m not exactly fighting traffic to walk down the stairs, k?
Get up and attempt to do work and get through as many emails as possible as quickly as possible before my kid duty shift begins. Shout out to the dozens of companies who send me emails about the insane virus sales you’re having on the daily. It’s totes helping me with this whole financial responsibility and saving money during tough times thing. Yes, Nordstrom I do, in fact, want that new purse even though the most it would ever see the light of day right now would be on one of my few trips to the apocalyptic grocery store landscape where I’d probably end up trading it for 3 squares of toilet paper.
A good amount of actual work does get accomplished during this time, but the child hasn’t fully awakened yet.
Time for me to take my first kid duty shift, which means watching Frozen for the 57th time in 48 hours. I kid you not, the first words out of Quinn’s mouth upon waking up every single day are “Let it go?”
No, the irony is not lost on me.
I truly believe every parent of a daughter can divide their lives into two very distinct parts: The time before Frozen and the time after. I was blissfully unaware of the two distinct camps until shit got tough and Disney+ had to be depended on to raise my daughter for several hours of the day.
The Breh house now bows to the Gods of Anna and Elsa. It only took one day of trying to persuade Quinn to watch Aladdin and her swiftly declaring it garbage for me to give in and accept our snowy overlords.
She’s right though, Aladdin is garbage.
Quinn goes down for a nap and I get on the treadmill to continue training for the half marathon I won’t be running in June because cancellation is inevitable. In that case I’m going to run 13.1 miles around my neighborhood and make myself a medal out of a yogurt lid.
Jump in shower where I most certainly will not be shaving my legs because skirts can suck it right now (the female version of the covid-19 beard) and enjoy the 10 minutes of my day that isn’t set to the Frozen soundtrack.
Back to work work. Shit gets done.
I take my final solo kid duty shift and we probably start watching Frozen Two, but that sequel honestly feels more like a weird fever dream, so I’ll most likely encourage a switch back to Elsa’s OG Frozen freak out.
To those who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing either movie, I’ll happily fill you in. They both star a little brat named Elsa who has some kickass powers, but all she does is complain about them and lock herself in rooms and big ass castles because she hasn’t yet been clued into the gift that is anxiety meds. In the second movie she hears voices and it becomes pretty clear she has an undiagnosed mental disorder, but hey, she stuffs her feelings down by singing about it, so all good.
Also there’s a Snowman named Olaf. For some reason Quinn can’t pronounce his name correctly and it always comes out as “Hallah,” like the delicious Jewish bread.
Dave and I tag team Quinn’s dinner routine, which lately has consisted of her refusing anything that isn’t a yogurt pouch, black olives or one of the various forms of snack carbs we have stock piled.
Whatever kid, you do you. As far as I can tell, quarantine isn’t the time for nutrition. In fact It’s probably one of the few times you can just mow through a box of Triscuits while sitting on the couch and be praised for how well you’re handling the situation.
Bath time, also known as “Quinn PLEASE SIT TF DOWN” time. I’m not sure when or if she’ll ever learn how much more pleasant baths are when you’re not wading in them like those dudes in the cranberry juice commercial, but man is she in for a treat once she does.
Quinn’s bedtime. To be honest, this kid may have the energy of a Florida man on bath salts during the day, but when it comes to sleeping, she is all “Game on, let’s do this” and barely puts up a fight.
And yes, I know how GD lucky that makes us.
Kind of a toss up. Work more or eat another protein bar or watch DVRed episodes of This Is Us while crying uncontrollably or scour social media for virus related stuff that will freak me out and/or piss me off. The possibilities really are endless, but sadly do end at my front door.
Yesterday I received this message from Instagram and thought I had reached the end of the Internet. Like that’s it? We’re done?
I switched to Facebook.
Dave and I drag our tired asses up to bed where we’re currently doing a rewatch of Community and I typically pass out about half an episode in. Seriously, I don’t have a clue what the show is even about.
Reset, Rinse and Repeat the next day.
As most of you probably know, I live in a state that has a shelter in place order or lockdown or “don’t you dare try to get your nails done” order in place. The Brehs were actually doing this a few days prior to the order because social responsibility or something like that – translation: Dave made me because he’s a better person than I am.
We agreed to only leave our house for foodstuff essentials, which created the Great Milk Watch of 2020 – whoever was there to witness the last drop got to make the coveted run to the store, which in our house is currently more valuable than the last square of toilet paper.
As time goes on, I wouldn’t put it past one of us to “accidentally” drop an open milk carton in the sink and desperately wash its contents down the drain like a mafia snitch.
I honestly don’t know what day it is today, but I think it was around a week ago I was granted furlough to make a Target run. I don’t think I have to explain my special relationship with Target to anyone, but this trip felt a lot like breakup sex – bitter sweet, but largely safisfying.
I’m typically a pretty irresponsible Target shopper, but on this particular trip I was Marie Antoinette with a Black Card. Among other things, my haul included a toy parachute man, a bag of sugar (why? Because there were only a few left and I panic bought thinking other people knew something I didn’t) every single Mickey Mouse item I could find within those four walls, a mittful of their 5 for $20 thongs (super practical for around the house attire) a bath mat, a shit ton of bouncy balls, bubble wrap and cat litter.
$300 later I was at the self checkout pissing everyone off with my blatant disregard for the under 15 item rule – sorry, not sorry people of Rosemont. Nobody is going to touch my stuff but me. I’ll be damned if a contaminated bouncy ball is what takes me down.
For now I think the Brehs are pretty stocked up with the exception of toilet paper. Dave used the shortage as an excuse to buy a bidet. I’ve only tried it once just for fun and it was not dissimilar to that moment an automatic toilet flushes while you’re still sitting on it – cold, gross and violating.
I’m guessing I have at least a few more months to make nice with it and see an inevitable strong bond in our future as my neighbors continue to ensure the stores cannot, in fact, spare a square.
That’s it for today, pals. Stay safe and healthy out there and remember, drugs not hugs.
Social Media Burnout
It’s now been about a month since I started my social media hiatus and I can definitely say I’m officially out of the loop. I only assume in my absence 17 more Marvel movies have been released, Trump is at least 50 shades of orange darker
and Betty White’s deal with the devil is going strong as she continues to outlive us all. Tom Cruise is still a bonafide banana sandwich though, right? Gotta love life’s constants.
When I first made the decision to temporarily cut ties with the social media realm I thought I would miss and long for it like my endless thirst for carbs in a modern world made of cauliflower. I deleted my FB and Instagram apps, but could totally see myself combing my long-archived internet history for just a taste of MySpace or hit of Tumblr during a late night withdrawl. However the FOMO wore off rather quickly and wouldn’t you know it, life went on.
Why did I put myself through this (lack of) social experiment? I’m so glad you asked. My reasons for taking the break were two fold:
One – I recently came to the very sobering realization that I was missing moments with my family and friends because I was overly concerned with getting just the right photo of the memory we were making and in the process wasn’t enjoying what was quite literally right in front of my face. I was just a handful of likes away from saying “No no Quinn, mommy doesn’t have a witty Insta caption for that pose. What else ya got?”
Don’t get me wrong, I totes understand the positives of social media and love staying in touch with people who, let’s be honest, would be strangers at this point without facebook/insta. I’m probably not going to just pick up the phone and call that girl from high school I had debate class with one year, but thanks to Facebook I know she just redecorated her living room and if we ever run into each other in real life again I definitely won’t be bringing up Game of Thrones because I know that boy is she sick of everyone posting about it.
Heard, Karen. Heard.
So it’s clear the positives are there, but when I did a hard gut check, I realized the importance I was placing on keeping up with what was going on in other people’s lives had reached a level I was no longer comfortable with. Let’s be real, I’m already way too obsessed with the details of all the Real Housewives (Countess LuAnne has gone OFF the deep end, ya’ll), which leaves little room in my head for other useless knowledge. Something had to change.
And Two – Online mom groups be crazy, yo.
Gonna be honest here, I’ve struggled with the decision to bring this up in blog form because looking back, I’m actually embarrassed to have gotten so heavily involved with something that now seems so meaningless with a little distance, but it happened and has fundamentally changed the way I interact on the internet, so buckle up because I’m going to take you on a bit of a ride here.
I don’t think many people are familiar with the seedy underground that is the world of online mom groups and I too was blissfully unaware until about two years ago. For those of you who don’t know, mom groups are like clubs for moms where you ask about baby advice, share kiddo details and basically just gush about your offspring to people who MIGHT actually give a damn as opposed to the rest of the people on FB/Insta, who lets be real, are sick of daily updates on your kid and didn’t sign up to an Anne Geddes newsletter so they probably muted you a long time ago and you’re just posting pictures into the wind…… probably.
Side note, waaaaay back when facebook first started and instituted new privacy changes like every week, I managed to mess up my settings something fierce and without realizing it had my privacy set to “Only Me,” for a year. Yes, that means that for an entire 365 days I was posting photos and thoughts to a wall that exactly zero people saw other than me. I got no comments, no likes and for that one year I was quite literally talking to a wall.
Here’s a screenshot from that bleak bleak winter and before you judge my posts too harshly, keep in mind this was 2008 – a simpler time when we were all just dipping our toes into the social media pool and still satisfied with just telling each what we had for lunch.
Anyway, here’s my quick disclaimer about mom groups: if and when you find your tribe of women who don’t take this crap too seriously, it is THE BEST (shoutout to you ladies!) However, you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find them and few moms reach the end of their search without contracting a hefty number of proverbial cold sores from many a makeout sesh.
Groups range anywhere from super chill to I WILL CUT YOU for daring to suggest formula is as good as breast milk to wacko anti modern medicine moms who urge you to stuff crystals in your baby’s diaper to ward off the sniffles… or the devil or whatever evil shit they believe crystals possess the power to repel. It’s a jungle out there and you never really know what you’re going to get until you’re already knee deep in momma drama.
Last year I joined a “secret” mom group that was an offshoot of a larger mom group. Basically a small group of them decided they wanted to create a virtual treehouse club with a very exclusive membership and rope ladder that they pulled up once it had been decided all the best people had been poached from the larger group. TO BE FAIR, there were lots of reasons this offshoot group wanted to form – many of them rooted in good intentions – and it was less of a Regina George situation than it sounds, but for brevity sake I’ll save the minor details.
Anyway I was chosen as part of the cool club and went right along with it because that’s the thing about exclusive groups – you’re so happy to be one of them and feel grateful just to be included, that you don’t dare say a word for fear of being excluded.
Welcome to high school for moms. And I played the part of Gretchen Weiners minus the model looks.
Yup, they had me. In fact I was so had that I requested and took on a mod position in the group so I could plan cool stuff and organize activities for the members all the while ignoring the voice in the back of my head that kept saying something just isn’t right here.
Needless to say I should have been anything but shocked when the mean girl activity didn’t stop with the virtual rope ladder and a handful of the chosen cool people turned out to be less Kelly Kapowski and a lot more Valerie Malone.
Sorry for all these 90s kid references, Dad – I’ll explain over Labor Day Vacation… But the rest of us will never forget that landmark moment when Valerie took off her nice girl mask and lit up a joint **GASP** as she hopped on the phone to trash talk our 90210 fam.
WE’D BEEN DUPED.
Over time the infighting, ganging up and general cattiness that went down in the group on a regular basis was too rich for my blood, so I bounced. I resigned from my mod position and went on my merry way.
That should have been the end of it, but after leaving I still wanted to enjoy mom banter on the daily because this baby stuff is no joke, so I joined another group hoping for a fresh start. After spending some time in the new group and suggesting some fun activities I was offered a mod position there and gladly accepted because organizing is my jam and I figured why the hell not.
BIG MISTAKE. HUGE. ATROCIOUS.
Unbeknownst to me we had a bit of a West Side Story Jets v. Sharks situation going on but with less peppy snapping.
In the eyes of some of my former group members I was literally Satan and vilified as a traitor. I was accused of taking “cool ideas” I’d implemented in that former group and sharing them with my new group. THEY DIDN’T WANT OTHER GROUPS TO HAVE THEIR COOL IDEAS GUYS.
Are you laughing? I hope you’re laughing.
The number of PMs I received from members of my former group with insults hurled at me as if I’d legit burned down their houses piled up. It was basically a full on Nicki Minaj and Cardi B twitter feud blowout, except I hadn’t gotten the memo.
Not gonna lie, I had to Google “Biggest Twitter Feuds” to obtain that reference. Who the fuck is Cardi B?
So I decided to get out of the game altogether. There’s too much cool shit in the world to spend time fighting on the internet over quite literally nothing and I can’t muster up the energy to give even a tiny rat’s ass about that nonsense anymore. Where was that revelation many months ago? If we’re being honest, it probably came straight out of Dave’s mouth verbatim over one of our Whole30 approved dinners, but I’m just gonna go ahead and give myself credit for slogging through 9 months of shit to figure it out on my own.
So now what?
The pull toward social media and my need for mom groups didn’t just go away after a month of social sobriety. And if we’re being honest, I did cheat just a bit to check in when I heard rumors about a mom in one of the other groups I belonged to posting about her young daughter who had learned to give herself a tattoo from YouTube and went ahead and did it.
And what did she tattoo on herself? Not “Fuck” or a pot leaf or a cartoon of Calvin peeing on Hobbs.
Lil Ms. Picasso tattooed A SLICE OF PIZZA on her leg. And when mom asked the budding artist why she did it, her response will go down in history as one of the most wholesome things ever on record:
“I just really like pizza.”
There is hope for future generations, my friends.
So clearly I can’t live without the internet and social interaction, but I like to think I’ve learned a few things along the way and have a renewed sense of what’s important and what social news can certainly wait until the kiddo goes to bed. Most importantly I’d like to thank everyone in my “real” life who put up with me being so much more active via text and my increased extending of invitations for in person interactions over the past month.
From the very bottom of my heart I mean this sincerely – you are the sweet sweet methodone to my social opiate addiction and I love you.
See ya back on the interwebs soon friends!
Here are all the random thoughts I thought of over the past month that I neglected to post due to hiatus, but wrote down anyway. Some real gems in here folks:
6/4/19: In a world of inconsistencies, it’s nice to know that no matter what, any beige mini van I encounter will always drive 10 miles under the speed limit.
6/5/19: Somewhere out there Jonathan Taylor Thomas is just going about his day like everything is normal.
6/10/19: If I invented Dum Dum suckers with plastic sticks that didn’t immediately disintegrate upon tongue contact and called them Smart Smarts, could I make a shit ton of money?
6/13/19: WHAT THE HELL IS THAT LITTLE PIGGY DOING WITH ROAST BEEF?
6/13/19: My life has become one long run-on sentence punctuated by breaks for making mac and cheese.
6/17/19: Today I’m giving a serious business woman presentation in front of a global marketing team and 16 different offices worldwide. They have no idea I spent last night decorating my planner with stickers.
Is it me you’re looking for?
Hey guys, betcha forgot I write a blog huh?
It looks like twice a month might have been a little too ambitious a schedule for me and ole blogo, so let’s just set the record straight here and now. It’s gonna happen when it happens and if you set your expectations SUPER low, you’ll just be pleasantly surprised when I actually do deliver. Kinda like laughing at an Amy Schumer joke.
The paradox of this particular blog, which you’re probably reading because you saw a post on social media, is I actually had time to write it only because I recently declared a hiatus from both Facebook and Instagram that is leaving me with more free time than I was prepared for, so I broke my self imposed rule for a quick sec to shout this from the digital rooftops and now I’m back on my break chillin in the real world.
Ok, on to the blog meat!
Life has been busy AF because that’s what life likes to be, but it’s also been a blast. Dave and I went on our first two trips together sans baby and I’m not gonna lie, they were flippin’ FANTASTIC. Sure sure, I missed the lil’ booger and creepily starred at every baby we encountered that was even remotely close to her in age. Telling their parents “NO NO IT’S OK, I JUST WANT TO HUG HER!” did not immediately make things less weird either.
Prior to baby, Dave and I used to travel pretty regularly together. We’ve been to Hawaii, Mexico, London, Boston, San Francisco, Nashville, New Orleans, a bunch of other southern cities and Vegas more times than I can (literally) remember, just to name a few. And yet, each time we go anywhere I find new ways to surprise him with how inefficiently I can pack.
My packing process starts somewhere around a week before when I begin THE LIST. Basically I write down anything a human being could possibly need in the span of 5-7 days. Such items range in rationality from sun hat to food scale. I dunno, maybe I’ll need to weigh stuff.
There are also those items we ALL pack for every single trip and never use. The “Beach Books” for example. Lets ignore the fact that I haven’t read “A” book from cover to cover in at least the past 5 years, but suuuure, I’m totally going to mow through not one, but MULTIPLE novels during my beach time. Keep the dream alive, Linds.
For some unknown reason I’m also resigned to always pack “THE JOURNAL” for each trip I go on. It doesn’t just get tossed into the suitcase though, oh no, it gets VIP placement in the carry-on because ya know, maybe I’ll have thoughts at the airport.
In truth I’m going to spend $50 on glossy rags and diet cokes at the first newsstand I see and those thoughts will quickly become consumed with how Meghan Markle is adjusting to the crown.
Not well btw if OK magazine is, in fact, a reliable source.
It does take about a full week to compile THE LIST and then the weekend before we depart is reserved for the buying of “mini things.” I have no idea what it is about mini toiletries that makes them so compelling, but those little bottles are straight up CRACK. It doesn’t matter that I’ve never once in my life used Vaseline in tub form. They sell it in the mini section, so you better believe it’s going wheels up with me.
I’ve got the compiling lists and buying stuff part of packing down to a science and I’m damn good at it. It’s the actual putting of said stuff into a wheeling travel devise where I fall flat. Some people consider waiting until the night before a trip to pack procrastinating.
Not me. I am packing right up until the minute the Uber rolls up. In fact, I’m asking the Uber driver to please hold some hangers while I decide which 4 of the 5 black dresses I own are going to make the journey.
Spoiler alert: it’s all of them.
My packing routine is less of an exercise in decision making and more of a grab-my-entire-closet-and-stuff-into-a-suitcase method. Sometime back in 2016 I bought what I like to call the Purple Wonder. She’s basically a studio apartment disguised as an eggplant colored suitcase and this B goes everywhere with me. She can fit the equivalent of a walk-in closet or high school football team, depending upon your travel needs and I LOVE her.
However, in an effort to suck the maximum amount of joy from traveling, the airlines have put a 50lb weight limit on checked bags. This does not bode well for ole P-Wonder, so recently I’ve had to purchase her a sidekick – Lil’ Eggplant Carry-on (say it fast, you’ll get it.) Eggplant is designed to hold all the spillover from P-Wonder and it’s a solid system. Like Batman and Robin, but less sexual tension.
If Dave had it his way, we’d be arriving to the airport for a Sunday AM flight the previous Tuesday. In my world, however, the whole hurry up and wait thing isn’t really appealing so you can see where we’d have trouble. In my defense, we have never missed a flight, but I do continually refuse to check in early, which always places me somewhere in boarding group Z-27 and I step on the plane at a leisurely pace with the last of the airline snack supplies and that sweaty guy who just hightailed it from the opposite terminal while clutching a McDonald’s bag in each of his meat mits.
Our two recent trips included a wedding in Puerto Rico in February and in April I had to travel to Calgary to direct a photoshoot so Dave tagged along to sightsee. On the latter trip, my flight was cancelled and while I was still able to get to Calgary that day, the P-Wonder and Lil Eggplant (who I’d checked bc I could expense the fee so why the hell not?) got on a different plane and went on a sightseeing tour of DC instead. So I arrived in Calgary after a ten hour delay with nothing.
It’s a very weird feeling arriving in a foreign country after midnight with not even a toothbrush or change of underwear. I felt oddly vulnerable like if a were somehow under attack by one of the local Canadian beasts… maybe a moose? I wouldn’t have any of the means necessary to defend myself and the Calgary Mounties would find my lifeless frozen body wearing underwear that had been worn for over 24 hours AND on a plane, which is like expedited dog years for underwear wearage.
Lucklily when the sun rose the next day, the local Walmart HOOKED ME UP with some of its finest duds. And I blended in seamlessly with the other Canadian folks.
Dave also participated despite having access to his normal American wardrobe. When in Rome…
I am pleased to report that P-Wonder and Lil’ Eggplant arrived in Calgary a swift two days later and United has promised to reimburse me for my Walmart shopping spree just as soon as they land a plane on Mars.
I’ll be using the money they send to purchase a third member of my luggage family that I can promise will be large, loud and highly impractical.
But maybe in pink.
New Year, Same Sneer
Happy new year to my favorite people on the internet and shout out to my dad, CFB’s newest fan. I introduced him to my blog when he came to visit for Christmas and he swiftly declared he’d be a devoted reader for life despite the genetic obligation. Thanks Pop!
(that’s him enjoying the primo hot dog sticks we got them for Christmas)
I have to first apologize for the delay between new submissions. Turns out the holidays were not the thing keeping me busy. It was just plain old life and being the mom of a 9 month old who will not. stop. getting. sick. and in turn gets Dave and I sick pretty much on a monthly basis.
Before I had a kid, I had no idea you could legit get sick every single month. At this point there is no being “well” in our house. There is just Sick and Waiting To Get Sick. Those are the only two states of being our little family enjoys these days and the amount of money I’ve spent on cold medicine in the past 9 months is starting to rival my mortgage. By the way, Walgreens workers, when someone is checking out with $40 worth of nyquil, maybe you skip your spiel about the sale on Pringles. I’m all set, thanks.
I’ve been told by moms of older germ carriers that the first year is always the hardest and after those booger filled 12 months have passed, my kid and myself will both have immune systems as impenetrable as my devotion to any true crime documentary Netflix spits out, so Cheers to that as I raise my glass of cough syrup and wash down another vitamin C pill. Bully!
Where were we? Ah yes, resolutions. Resolution time is upon us. I feel like resolution obligation has really ramped up in the last decade or so. Much like the drama in holiday perfume commercials starring Julia Roberts jumping into a pool of diamonds. Why the pool of diamonds? Because fuck you, buy Chanel, that’s why.
Yep, hitting that bad word quota early today friends.
It seems like every year we get a new celebrity weight loss endorser and I don’t know about you, but I wait with breath that is baited to see who our next D-list sacrificial lamb will be. I’ve often wondered if when an actor sees their career going south they just say “Fuck it, time to get fat” in anticipation for the call from Ms. J Craig herself. It’s pretty much an instant comeback and then once the weight is lost you can gain back like a good 20 and the Food Network gives you your own show where you declare potatoes, not size two jeans, have always been your true love.
For some inexplicable reason, Oprah also returns every year as the face of heath and weight loss foods. I think she shook hands with Weight Watchers sometime back in 2015, but as far as I can tell, Chicago’s former pride is still pretty fluffy. So tell me, why am I supposed to buy frozen pizza with her mug slapped on it? The jig is up, Op. You’re not Gisele.
Sorry, somebody had to say it.
One of my VERY favorite things about this time of year are the checkout line magazine covers donning celebs who’ve lost weight with the words “HOW THEY DID IT! FIND OUT THEIR SECRETS!” splashed across the front. Obvi I buy them because a $5.99 purchase is surely the only thing keeping me from being Halle Berry and of course the news is always the same, but it’s packaged in the most BS way possible. “Make good food choices” = throw out your pantry. “Park as far away from the store as possible” = hire an expensive AF trainer who will beat you into skinny submission. “Do yoga daily” = fuck off Aniston, nobody has ever lost a pound doing yoga.
I would LOVE for these celebrities to REALLY open up about the almond an hour diets and marathon dreadmill sessions that actually get them to where they are, but that’s not aligned with the body positivity movement that’s so posh right now. So I suppose we’ll have to continue eating up their finely packaged BS and wonder why taking the stairs isn’t giving us Beyonce’s ass.
Even though I embarked on my own weight-loss journey back in October with Whole30, I started this year with a new goal because I’ll be traveling to Puerto Rico in February for a wedding and my bikini bod is still hiding somewhere under 10lb of Halo Top ice cream that, I’m sorry, basically BEGS you to eat entire pints of.
I wish I could quit you, HT.
So January 1st started out with two goals:
1. Participate in something called a DietBet where you put up a sum of money and bet that you’ll be able to lose 4% of your bodyweight. If you do, you get your money back plus a portion of all the money that the people who didn’t hit their goal put in. So basically you’re betting on you to win and other people to fail.
2. I realized sometime around November somethingth that despite calling myself a “runner” I hadn’t actually run a single mile since that Half Marathon I did at the end of September. The training for that sucker had been so hard as a new mom with all the infant obligations that I’d pretty much hung up my running shoes in disgust as soon as I’d crossed the finish line, but now, months later the itch was returning… along with my ass so it was time to go back.
In order to achieve this I set the goal of four runs a week and paid for an app from a popular company that I can’t say the name of because they’re a direct competitor to the company I work for, but the name begins with a P and rhymes with Meloton, so you do the math. My company doesn’t currently offer an app that provides on demand running classes, but when they do, I promise I’ll be canceling my subscription to Meloton with a P to join the ranks of the good guys.
In other words, please don’t fire me, company I work for with a C.
As for the DietBet portion of my January, I entered myself into two different games just to REALLY ramp up the motivation. One of them was a small group of 8 friends with a $35 buy-in and another was a public group started by someone I follow on Instagram with 400+ participants and a $10 buy-in.
I’ll spare you the boring diet details, but the month went basically like this: I counted calories, didn’t even dare to LOOK at a carb and pretended that a single Hershey kiss after dinner was totes as good as a bowl of ice cream. I know our bodies are built to want the right amount of calories that would keep us pretty slim and trim. So why TF do I want to motorboat a freshly baked loaf of bread more than anything in the world? If I ate the way my brain told me to, I’d be obese inside of a week, so it was basically a month of going against all my instincts. At the end of the day I guess I’d rather strut my shiz in a binki along the beaches of Puerto Rico than hide in the darkness of my pantry and inhale a box of cupcakes.
Cut to March when Dave finds me cowering on the floor of a darkened laundry room covered in chocolate as I claim we must have sugar rats.
The month blew by and before I knew what hit me, it was weigh in time. Since this was an online bet, there was a whole process required to verify weight that began with taking a photo of my feet on a scale with a special word-of-the-day written on a post it note next to the scale (a la hostage holding a daily newspaper) followed by a full body mirror shot of you standing on the scale.
Now keep in mind, I am not that big of a person so losing 4% of my body-weight isn’t a ton AND as we all know, scale outputs fluctuate like crazy. I can easily weigh a full 5lbs more after my morning gallon of coffee, so needless to say I was super worried about where the scale would land on weigh-in day despite my confidence that I’d actually lost the necessary weight. On January 30th, I shot out of bed and b-lined it to the scale. MIRACULOUSLY I was the exact perfect weight for one of the games, so I went ahead and took those photos.
Then, I went to take photos for the next game and I was .2 lbs over….
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
So I ran around the house putting the scale in different spots and stripping off all my clothes hoping upon hopes I could get it back to the right weight. Honest to God, I legit considered cutting my hair off. Maybe if I trimmed my nails? Who really needs TWO thumbs anyway?
All logic and rational thought had gone out the window.
While I wasn’t able to get it back to my “correct” weight, I was able to get it to show me a weight that was 15lbs lower than my actual weight. Why? Who the hell knows, so I said fuck it. You don’t get extra money for losing MORE than 4% of your body weight, so I rationalized that this wasn’t cheating in any way because I knew I’d lost what I needed. This would just have to do.
So I submitted the 20lb weight loss. Aaaaaand was immediately disqualified from the game for losing TOO MUCH weight.
I guess you get instantly tossed from the game if you report over a 12% weight loss because ethics (blech), so my 20lbs got me ejected. I suppose you could say the “real” prize was the weight loss itself, but that won’t pay for the new scale I apparently need. I did however win in the other game I’d submitted the correct weight to and for that I won, wait for it…
THREE DOLLARS AND FOURTEEN CENTS.
That’s right folks, I won PI by not eating pie (credit for that little revelation goes to Justine!)
All in all, I guess participating in DietBets gave me the motivation I needed to get shit done, but at the end of the day the stress involved during the weigh-in process and added pressure of a time limit just wasn’t worth the three bucks and change. I think Dave summed it up best when he told me, “You find the weirdest things on the Internet.”
As for my running goal, me and the Meloton trainers became very closely acquainted as I enjoyed 30-60 min HITT, hills and fun runs. I also bought myself a pair of adjustable hand weights and have been taking 10 min strength classes in the hopes of turning my chicken wings into drumsticks.
I was able to keep that 4 days a week goal RIIIIGHT up until the plague descended upon our house last week and brought everything in its tracks to a screeching halt. So I’m blaming my daughter for not reaching that goal completely because if you can’t blame your kids for stuff, why do you even have them?
Annnnnd that brings me full circle.
All in all I’m giving myself a B+ on resolutions thus far. If the change in tide of the Food Network shows from Low-Cal Feasts to Comfort Food Fiestas is any indication, the resolution wave is already waning and everything will go back to normal soon enough. I’m hoping to continue the habits I’ve formed, but no matter what happens I think we can all agree that Aniston sits on a yoga mat of lies.
Hey guys, how’s it hangin? Everybody ready for The Holidays? Trees trimmed, lights up, gifts wrapped?
Dave and I usually have it pretty easy every year gift-wise because my parents always ask for super practical stuff like swim class water shoes and campfire hot dog sticks. On Dave’s side, his sister is always ON IT when it comes to gift ideas for Pops and the rest of the fam, so we’re good. However what I didn’t know is once you have a kid, you’re entered into the kid gifting pool and are suddenly obligated to buy ALL THE GIFTS for all the other kids in the family because people are going to be gifting your little rugrat a bunch of crap too.
I wish we could all just agree our living rooms look enough like a McDonald’s Playland as it is and maybe the little runts have enough.
But that’s the scrooge side of me talking… of course I want MY kid to have all the things and I’ve already cleaned out the Amazon Toy Department in my quest to do so. I really just don’t want to buy OTHER kids anything because I’m already broke after showing my little darling how much I love her with every product the Fisher Price line has to offer.
Don’t give me that look. You all feel same way. Don’t lie.
Even with that little speed bump, I am more than happy to say Dave and I got our shiz together early this year and as of December 19th, we are D.O.N.E. – done with our holiday shopping. I just have to go through one more round of wrapping because round one was cut short when I realized I bought wrapping paper with glitter on it.
For real, who thinks it’s a good idea to put little flecks of evil all over something that is going to explode upon your house come 12/25? It’s just cruel and I won’t do that to my friends and family, not even the D-list level F&F. So after a second (ok, 8th) trip to the Target Wondershop for a wrapping paper redo, the under portion of my tree will be fully populated come this weekend.
Can we take a second and talk about what Target calls “The Wondershop?”
You know what I’m talking about right? Every year, say around November 1st, Target erects this giant sign somewhere toward the back of the store that can somehow be seen from anywhere you’re standing with the words “WONDERSHOP” written in sparkly holiday type. Now you may have walked into target with the intention of buying the latest Streisand CD and dental floss, but before you know it, you blink and you’re in THE WONDERSHOP with a wreath under each arm and a box of multi-colored candy canes in your hand wondering WTF happened.
It’s a pine tree and cinnamon scented gravitational pull toward items that cost a ton of money for no discernible reason, but you can’t stop yourself from buying everything.
Five dollars for a roll of paper with cats in Santa hats on it? WHAT A STEAL! LETS GET SEVEN. An advent calendar with numbers that count backwards from twenty-five for a cool 50 bucks? HOW ELSE ARE WE GOING TO KNOW WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES??? IN THE CART YOU GO!
Every November I see the sign beckoning from the corner of my eye and that’s it, I know I’m fucked. If the hoards of other shoppers with glazed over looks in their twinkling eyes and monogrammed stockings piled high in each hand are any indication, I’m not alone.
You win, Target. And I’m not even mad.
After I lost count on how many times I got my passport stamped at THE WONDERSHOP I think it’s safe to say my family is armed and ready for all the holiday cheer to come. We’ve even managed to cross the dreaded family holiday card bridge and made it to the other side with minimal fights and frustration.
I honestly never thought I’d be the kind of person who sends holiday cards. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting them and seeing your lovely families sitting happily in a field every year. Is there like one field you all go to? Or are there many fields that are all owned by one Picturesque Field Corporation?
Dave and I have never been the type to send a happy photo card and perhaps that was our downfall. What I like to call our Holiday Card Kunundrum™ started innocently enough in 2013 after we got married. As part of our wedding photography package, we got a bunch of engagement photos done, but after photoshopping Dave out to use them in my LinkedIn profile, we were left with a bunch of prints and nothing to do with them.
So I had an idea. A terrible awful idea that would haunt me for years to come.
“Let’s take one of these and make a funny holiday card!” I said. “It’ll be fun!” I said.
And it was, it was fun riiiiiiiight up until November of the next year when people started telling me they couldn’t wait to see what we came up with this year.
I’m sorry, what now?
Apparently we had set an expectation to send funny cards every year without knowing it. So the panic and brainstorming began. A situation room was secured, white boards were utilized and the floor of our apartment became littered with takeout boxes as Dave and I put our heads together and banged out a holiday card idea that would be worthy of our audience.
And they were pleased.
The next year I mistakenly thought we’d given our audience two good laughs in a row and perhaps this was the year to get designy and creative. So I spent what was arguably the most amount of time I ever have drawing custom caricatures of each of us and put them together in a neat little holiday card package.
The masses were not pleased. Apparently it felt like a Jelly of the Month Club slap in the face after the humor expectation bar had been set so high and there was widespread disappointment.
Step aside Grinch, the Brehs ruined Christmas.
When 2016 rolled around I knew we had to step it up and go back to where it all began. Back to our roots! So we pulled out those old engagement photos – no bother that they looked nothing like us anymore – and slapped a good old Dave and Lindsey style caption on it.
In 2017, with the previous years momentum, we didn’t hold back. My snarky sick-of-being-pregnant attitude was in full force by December and we just went for it.
(Note: if you’re confused as to why you might not have seen some of these cards and instead received a more PG rated version from us during some of these years, it’s because I wasn’t entirely sure I wouldn’t offend people or scare the shit out of your kids. So on some years we did, in fact, create an alternative version to protect some of the more delicate flowers.)
And this brings us to the present. 2018 arrived and NOW WE HAVE A KID.
Here it was – our way out. This little bundle of germs and joy could be the beautiful baby storm that finally sinks this humor ship we’d been floating aimlessly on for the past 5 years.
It would be over.
We’d sail into the sunset on a new vessel that would eventually find land with a field where we’d take family photos of our own in matching holiday PJs one year and Cosby-style (the non rapey kind) Christmas sweaters the next!
The question was would we take the out?
Dave and I had a meeting of the minds – to funny or not to funny – and concluded that we would let our offspring decide the fate. We’d take the obligatory baby photos and allow the chips to fall where they may. The kid would tell us what to do.
Damn right she did.
Happy Holidays from ours to yours!
May your drinks be cold, your pie be warm and your unsolicited hugs be sparse.
The Dirty on Whole30: The Finish Line
Hey guys! Happy post-thanksgiving!
I missed you, but I was busy doing family things and spending quality time trying to pump into my kid’s brain that I, ONLY ME, am her mother, not the daycare ladies who are probably nicer and funnier and know more stupid baby songs, whatever. They can’t compete with those 9 months of just her and I hanging out and eating egg rolls for breakfast. Special times.
Before we dive back into the gripping conclusion of my journey through the uncharted territory that was Whole30, I have a couple housekeeping things to get out of the way.
First, it has been brought to my attention by someone who may have my same last name and pay half my mortgage that my swearing has not, as promised, been kept in check. I apologize and need to do a better job if for no other reason than I don’t want my kid picking up my bad habits and telling the sweet sweet daycare ladies to “fuck off” when she’s asked to pick up her toys.
SO rule three back from blog post numero uno is now very much back in play and I will do my darndest (see, SEE what I’m doing?) to find alternative words for those four letter suckers that have taken up permanent residence in my vocabulary. In “real” life I’ve been trying to utilize the phrase “holy bananas” a lot more and I gotta say, it’s growing on me much like the long yellow fruit does on the tree… or vine or whatever they do. Sprout? Who TF knows. Ahh, and yes as you see, I’m going to use acronyms wherever possible to skirt around rule three because well, I hate it.
Second, a couple people (yes a solid TWO) asked me how they can get notified about when a new blog is posted and I figured if two asked, hell there has to be AT LEAST another two who haven’t, but are interested. So I’ve included a handy screenshot for how you subscribe via mobile. If you hit that little follow button at the bottom right it will prompt you for an email address and then you’ll get an email whenever I post a new blog.
THAT IS THE ONLY TIME you will get emailed. I’m not going to subscribe you to CatFacts™ or fill your inbox with emails about the sale I’m having on oddly patterned mom leggings. Nope! You’ll just get an email about new blog posts when they happen because that’s how I roll. And also because I have no idea how to even access the emails, so there’s that. If you unsubscribe at any point I probably won’t know that either, so rest assured if I stop liking your Instagram things or start giving you likes instead of loves on FB, it’s probably because your stuff has gotten lame and not unsubscribe related. Do better.
Oh and if you’re reading my blog on a desktop I don’t know where the subscribe button is, sorry. You lose.
NOW ON TO THE BLOG!!! because I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to be finished with this topic and move on to some more timely (and juicy) holiday stuff. So much juice.
Now where were we??? Themes, yes. I’m gonna go ahead and combine 3 and 4 because four was really just an arbitrary number that I came up with when I could remember the month of October more clearly. It’s kind of a blur now, so let’s skip to the end. All in agreement? Bully!
3 & 4. The Aftermath and Takeaways
Whole30 came to a conclusion for us at midnight on October 30th. The next day was Halloween and Dave and I had both taken the day off from work bc we wanted to be home to take the kid trick or treating while it was still light out so she didn’t get eaten by a coyote, but having the day off also meant we could choose our own adventure to bust out of Whole30 in a blaze of glory.
We chose The Cheesecake Factory.
For those of you who don’t know, I have a long complicated history with the Cheesecake Factory. I worked there for a while in college and was subsequently fired from there when I told a customer that bread doesn’t just “jump in the basket on its own” after she accused me of daring to graze the side of her sourdough with my hand.
After that fateful day, I desperately wanted to hate the castle of cake made from cheese and tried to stay away. I padded my days with Red Lobster and The Olive Garden hoping to fill the mediocre restaurant chain-sized hole in my heart, but it was useless. The Factory beckoned and after a short boycott period, I went home. The CF doesn’t judge and soon it was as if I’d never left. We were joined together once again and broke bread over family style portions for one from the Encyclopedia Britannica of menus.
I get made fun of a lot for this CF obsession and there are only two people in my life who understand the very essence of what makes it so great and I happened to marry one of them. So it made perfect sense to dive back into the world of sugar and carbs in a place that felt like the building equivalent of a warm hug topped with whip cream.
So it was.
Whole30 ended with a diet coke and little slice of heaven that was shaped like a triangle and tasted like red velvet with cheese made from cream. It was the taste equivalent of that moment when you wake up in a panic thinking it’s Monday, but then realize it’s MotherEffin’ Sunday and you ease back into your dreams with the covers pulled snug and tight.
THAT. It tasted like that.
Because I wanted to see if Whole30 had actually done anything other than make me hate every human eating a slice of bread, on Halloween morning I took what the diet folks like to call “progress pics,” which consisted of me taking photos in front of a full length mirror wearing nothing but mismatched bra and undies. I won’t post those here because I don’t think we’re all at that stage in our relationship yet, but I can say after the final weigh-in I discovered I’d lost a total of 6lbs in the month of October.
Now I know that seems like next to nothing. What’s six pounds? That’s like an average sized avocado or a really big grape, BUT my quest began 3 months prior to October with a plan to lose 15lbs and I saw ZERO progress for those three months, so needless to say it was a pretty big freakin’ deal to me.
Dave didn’t weigh himself before or after, but it’s safe to say he looked good before and even gooder after.
Our cat Poe, who’s a notorious food beggar because someone, not gonna name names, might have started sharing her bowls of soup with him at a young age, was pretty amped about the protein palooza going on at the Breh house all throughout October and definitely got his fair share of nibbles. He didn’t do a before/after weigh-in either, so the jury is still out on Whole30’s effect on cats, but rest assured it will be confirmed whenever that time of year comes around when we remember cats need to go to the vet to avoid an Old Yeller situation.
After our victory lunch and the powdered sugar dust settled, I thought long and hard about what I planned to take with me from Whole30 and keep incorporated into my daily diet. The weekday meals with Dave are going to stay because I like looking at him and sometimes he says something cool. I’m also sticking about as low carb as possible because as much as I wanted to believe the type of calorie doesn’t matter and it’s all calories in, calories out, it does. It freaking does. Or at least it does for ME at this stage in my life as evidenced by the 30-day experiment. There’s just no denying at this point that carbs are the delicious devil that kept me out of size 4 jeans for too many months post baby.
So it is.
However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t moterboat the hell out of my sister-in-law’s stuffing on Thanksgiving. There are some things and some occasions I won’t compromise. That list includes birthday cake (I don’t care who’s birthday it is, any old bullshit relative I see once a year or co-worker I mildly despise will do, I don’t discriminate) all holiday meals (OBVI!) and whip cream mainlined straight from the can – the way God intended.
The things I WON’T be taking with me from Whole30 include:
1. Using Ghee for anything. Ghee is non-dairy overpriced butter goo and it sucks. That’s all you need to know. Don’t even google it. I refuse to grant Ghee any more power than it already has. Get off the earth, Ghee. Nobody likes you.
2. Attempting to cook anything thicker than a toothpick on the stove – my GOD the number of times I cut into things after cooking them for what felt like an eternity only to see that pink flesh staring back at me in all its mocking glory was infuriating. Fuck the stove. Yes, I said it.
3. Cutting out dairy. Guys, cheese is awesome and an invention that should be celebrated in all its many forms. Unless you have an allergy, if you don’t support cheese, I’m sorry we just can’t hang out.
That brings me to the end of all I have to say about Whole30. Will I ever do it again? Eh. I feel like it’s one of those things you have to do just to say you did it and then move on with your life. However I said the same thing about running a marathon and we all know how that story went (if you don’t: spoiler alert, I was training for my second full marathon when I got pregnant and the kid ruined everything, but it will happen again) So who knows. Maybe another Whole30 is in my future and maybe next time I’ll actually do it perfectly.
Yeah, I failed to mention that I went on a trip to LA in the middle of October and at one point was served a salad with parmesan cheese, which I ate because I didn’t want to be THAT girl with my co-workers sending back food and making them wait to devour their delicious California meals.
When I got home, I sulked into the living room, sat down next to Dave with my tail between my legs and told him my nasty parmesan secret that occurred during my time away.
His response: “Uh yeah that’s cool… I ate a pizza.”
The Dirty on Whole30: Part 2
October 1st fell on Monday this year and the weekend before Dave and I dove into our month-long quest for nutritional nirvana can only be described as a carb fest free-for-all-sugar-orgie bonanaza. There was pasta and sushi and cookies and whip cream – Oh God, So. Much. Whip. Cream. As I watched the clock tick closer and closer to midnight on Sunday I started panic eating. I mainlined noodles up until the very last daunting second.
Guys, it was gross.
And I regret nothing.
Alas, Monday rolled around as it tends to do and as the sunlight hit our faces on October 1st we slowly opened our eyes to the harsh reality of a total carbohangover and the sinking feeling that we had made a huge mistake. But because Dave and I are both stubborn AF, neither wanted to admit to each other that we had doubts, so we forged ahead and didn’t look back until Halloween.
As much as I could easily make fun of Whole30 and the HORRIBLE first world problem that was suffering through it for this entire blog post, I should pause here for moment and explain to those of you who aren’t familiar with it what exactly Whole30 is and what it isn’t.
The idea behind Whole30 is to strip all the unnecessary and problematic foods from your diet and eat only whole and natural foods with no added sweeteners. Basically you eat like an animal that consumes both fruits, veggies and meat, but no sugar. Like a bear who’s afraid of bees. And hasn’t learned to bake.
That means all fruits, veggies and meats are in and all dairy, sugars, starches (except potatoes) and legumes are out. It’s pretty damn close to a low carb or a paleo diet with a few notable exceptions like you can’t have peanuts (because they’re technically a legume) and even artificial sweeteners like Splenda are a no no, which means diet soda is out. There’s some other fine print and yada yada, but that’s the gist of it.
Now one of the really cool things about these 30 days is you don’t count calories and you don’t weigh yourself – those things are strictly off limits. Which was really freeing in a way. I, Lindsey Breh, who weighs herself daily and sometimes more than once a day like after a really satisfying pee (yo, why not?) had to learn to let go and just trust that the process was doing its thing. I’ve also been trained to subconsciously count every calorie I’ve ever consumed since the age of 15. THAT’S A CRAPTON OF MATH, so I was more than happy to put away my calculator and just rely on feeling full as my guide.
Ok so those are the rules. To help me along my Whole30 quest I purchased no fewer than 4 approved cookbooks and also a handy field guide thing that I can’t remember the name to at the moment, but it’s a day by day breakdown for the entire 30 days and gives helpful little tricks and tips each day. I read it out loud to Dave each night when we got into bed. Sometimes he listened.
I’ve racked my brain about how best to take you through this without turning it into a blog of epic proportions a la the Odyssey and I’ve settled on a theme format. I narrowed down my Whole30 experience into four key themes that pretty much cover everything. So here we go.
1: SUGAR IS LIFE and my life is over
I honestly had no idea how addicted I was to sugar, or sweetness in general, until this little experiment.
No, I’m lying.
I might have had an inkling there was a problem when I was too embarrassed to go through the Starbucks drive thru because admitting just how many Splendas I put in my coffee was a secret shame too difficult to bear. Now I don’t actually know the exact number of Splendas I put in each latte because I would just grab what I loving called “a mitt full” and then quietly hunch over the cup, ripping and dumping each packet into my coffee as quickly as possible before Mr. Joe Businessman made his way to the mixing station and judged me for my life choices. But it’s safe to say it was a lot. Like a metric fuckton a lot.
A red flag moment might have also been that time I broke a toe chasing a double chocolate malted milk ball as it rolled through my kitchen. But really, that could happen to anyone.
So it was super interesting to cut all sweet things from my diet and watch my body struggle HARD with what felt like a physical yearning for anything containing the white gold I so desired. I wish I could tell you that the need dissipated and went away completely after 30 days.
It did not.
HOWEVER, my taste for sugar in drinks actually did. I no longer want sugar in my coffee or iced tea and diet soda tastes more akin to a dessert now, which is really interesting. So if nothing else, I can say Whole30 cured me of my Splenda obsession and probably saved me from that third eye I’d inevitably grow on my forehead from overconsumption.
Chocolate though? Naw. We still buds.
2. “How was your day honey?” and other things June Cleaver might have said.
Turns out there’s no such thing as a pre-packaged Whole30 approved meal. You have to prep and cook EVERYTHING. The prepping is something I was pretty adept at doing prior to Whole30, however the cooking part? Not so much. And definitely not every damn night.
I honestly used to scoff at 1950s-esq moms who cooked dinner every night because I didn’t see the point, but after a few trial and errors, stove burns, WHY IS IT STILL RAW IN THE MIDDLE!!! fist shakes at the sky, broken glass in a pile of raw chicken, wondering what that smell was coming from the garbage (hint: prior day’s chicken a la glass shards) and a balsamic reduction that will still be stuck to the bottom of that tragic saucepan long after my grandkids have grown and died, I can safely say I hit my stride.
Dave and I got into a good groove where he would put the kid to bed and I would start on dinner and by the time we both reconnected there was a warm meal on the table and there we sat staring at each other wondering what comes after “how was your day?”
Naw, for real, actually sitting down with Dave to a dinner every night was pretty fantastic. Sure I missed a bunch of TV and don’t know what the hell is going on with that sinking ship known as Grey’s Anatomy Season whatever-teenth (I’M WITH YOU TO THE BITTER END MEREDITH!) but that’s nothing a good old sick day marathon can’t fix. It was pretty cool to have the 10-15 minutes it took us to devour our protein packed meals and enjoy each other’s company.
I know, barf, right?
YES, I LIKE MY HUSBAND. BUGGER OFF!
(Are you British now? No I’ve just used “fuck” too many times already in this post.)
I’m going to go ahead and break here and I’ll pick back up with the last two themes in the next blog because this has gotten a bit long and also I haven’t thought of them yet.
Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion and final tally for how many pounds my cat gained from eating my Whole30 fails.
Hint: he’s fluffy and he know it.
The Dirty on Whole30: Part 1
In order to be the four star tour guide you deserve and efficiently take you on my journey through Whole30 I need to first take you back to the beginning and explain why I got in the car in the first place.
Last year I got pregnant (remember, not a mom blog) and it sucked. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my daughter, but I hated being pregnant because pregnancy hated me. I puked preeeety much every day for nine months straight. It became part of life – I’d puke in the Costco parking lot, step over it and carry on inside to buy me some giant ass muffins. And a Vitamix.
So naturally in order to combat this output of food, I compensated with input and ate EVERYTHING.
I didn’t eat A LOT of the things. I ate ALL of the things.
My daughter popped out weighing 6lbs and change and was made up of 98% cupcakes and 2% cold lo mein noodles, which were consumed mainly for breakfast. Why? I don’t know. It felt right at the time.
One Sunday I bought a birthday cake at the grocery store. Was it someone’s birthday? I dunno, probably. But not anyone I knew.
It was delicious.
Much to my surprise, when Quinn made the transition from puke inducing fetus demon to squishy adorable baby, she did not bring those 40ish lbs of late night burrito fat with her. Those pounds remained squarely on my ass. And as such I had werk to do.
So I ran lots of miles and calorie counted and did all the things that used to work pre-pregnancy, but I hit some roadblocks. Turns out pregnancy FUCKS your body up. Like rewires and shifts organs, fucked up. Some things go away forever. Some new things pop up that you didn’t invite. And most surprisingly to me, weight hangs around like the long graduated high school football captain who still comes to games hoping to score with sophomore cheerleaders.
Drastic measures needed to be taken. So I did what every logical 37-yr old white chick does – I turned to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for some answers.
No you didn’t.
Oh yes I did!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Housewives franchise, first off, how dare you. Second, on the BH version there is a Housewife named Teddi Mellencamp who happens to be, wait for it, an “Accountability Coach.” Yep, this is a real job. A job that you too can aspire to with the only prerequisite being you have a ginormously famous father with gobs of money to fund your bullshit undergraduate major until you pop out four years later with your degree and ability to invent a job title.
Now apparently Teddi has been somewhat successful as an AC and has amassed a team of these coaches and even put together a program to help little nobodies like me lose weight, look fantastic and feel like everything in life is under control just as long as we’re fitting into size 2 jeans.
I took one look at this flimsy program and said, “SIGN ME UP!”
It was 2 weeks later, after accepting my low low deposit of $500, that they sent me the meal plan that would help me realize my Beverly Hills self. This is going to shock you, but the plan was less of a meal plan and more of a “just don’t fucking eat anything” plan.
And my dumb ass, ladies and gents, paid five hundred benjis for it.
Well that wasn’t gonna work. So after a bit of arguing and questioning, Teddi booted me out of her skinny people club and sent me and my $500 refund packing. I’m sure she and the other accountability coaches had a good laugh about it over celery sticks and then for dinner they went to bed.
So I was back to square one.
But all hope was not lost! For those of you who don’t know, I work for a fitness company and my co-workers are forever talking about and trying new diets, fitness challenges and have their ear to the ground when it comes to what’s new in the health world. Whole30 has been out there for a while and many of them had gone through it, so I figured what the hell. Let’s do it.
Dave, my trusty husband, was so pleased I had chosen to avoid Teddi’s starve-myself-to-success diet, that he was more than happy to join me on my 30 day quest.
So on October 1st we took the plunge. The month would include a week long business trip to LA, my birthday and a few other carb-filled speed pumps that provided tough challenges along the way. I will elaborate more in Part 2, but for now I can say that yes, Dave and I are still married. Whole30 did not break us. But we are scarred.
Also my cat is fatter.