Sunday, May 31, 2009

Budget Trucks

I warned them...
We rented a Budget truck to move our stuff from one end of this continent to the other. Okay, so, it wasn't that far, but for how long it took us, it should've been!
We get the truck, and I nearly puke all over it. It was filthy! It stunk! I wanted to bathe in sanitizer after getting in that thing!
We get the truck loaded up, we get going on the freeway, we hit a small bump in the road, we nearly tip over. I'm thinking, "WHAT THE &*!!, we're gonna DIE!!" My husband, the CDL driver who kept all the soldier supplies safe during all those attacked convoys in Iraq can handle a moving truck, right? Right. So, why the heck did we almost tip over? Because the truck was rocking, not rockin' as in old-school '80s hairband rockin, but like we're gonna flip over.
The truck wasn't particularly heavy. We had sold most our furniture. We had a heavy piano, and a lot of boxes, and a mattress. THAT IS ALL! Why is the van teetering like this? My husband, the ever careful packer, made sure that the truck would be perfectly balanced. Why, despite his meticulous efforts, did we feel like we were on the ocean rather than the interstate?
Because Budget SUCKS!
Okay, so you don't judge me for using such harsh language, let me continue. It wasn't long after we had called customer service 3 times just to be put on hold and disconnected that a tire blew. We called roadside assistance which told us they would have help there in an hour. Three hours later, we had a new tire and we were "on the road again", to coin the lyric. By this time, it was really late at night, and the stress had taken its toll on us. We pulled over and passed out in the truck. After our extremely uncomfortable "sleep" we started driving again. This time it was about six hours before the brand-spankin'-new tire blew. If my husband hadn't been driving, we would have been dead for sure.
Thank heaven for RedBox. Two movies and a wilderness urination later, we were "on the road again." What would normally take us 16 hours to drive, took us 30!! Thanks a lot Budget.
After turning in the truck, we immediately called customer service to make them aware of our discontent with our rented truck. Which kept rocking even when it was empty!
My sweet husband gets on the line with a woman who is less than sympathetic of our situation. "I only have record of one blown tire," she says with disdain. SO! ONE blown tire is scary enough! We weren't asking for a refund, but maybe some compensation. She said she could give us %15. Um, seriously? 15? That is practically insulting! So, the woman gives my husband serious attitude when he politely says that isn't good enough. He was talking to a lady, so he was being extra polite. Well, she continued to give him grief but says 25% is the best she can do. She puts him on hold, and he tells me what has been going on.
My turn. I get on the phone, and when the lady gets back on I say, "I want to talk to your manager."
"I don't have a manager," she says in a really snotty tone.
"Then let me talk to your superior."
"It doesn't matter who you talk to, you're not gonna get more than 25% back."
"I don't care! You were being a jerk to my husband, and I want to report you!!"
"Fine." I get put on hold for a long time, and finally, a very pleasant-sounding lady gets on the phone.
"How may I help you?"
"I was just talking to one of your customer service reps..."
"Yes, Robert."
"No, it was a woman."
"No, that was Robert." I was floored! I could've sworn I was talking to a woman!
"So, he's got a femmy voice, and he's a jerk?" I ask.
She laughs and says, "Yeah. I'm so sorry he was impolite to you..." blah, blah, blah.
Yeah, so we can't get more than %25 back, whatever. Their customer service blows. I'm telling all of you DO NOT ever use Budget trucks!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bed Bed Bed...

I have a very difficult time going to bed at night. It's not that I don't want to, it's just that I relish in the quiet and peaceful solace that nighttime provides. My kids are in bed by 8:00 every night. I am a firm believer in strict bedtimes. I have been ever since I read On Becoming Babywise. Once I got my baby Cory going to bed at a regular time, his schedule kind of fell into place. What I didn't like was waking up my baby. Honestly, it was more of a struggle to try to wake him up and keep this cranky baby awake for a half hour rather than just let him sleep for that half hour and let him wake up happy. This holds true for me today. My kids get about 12 hours of sleep a night. They wake up between 8:00-8:30 and they are happy!
My problem is that once they are asleep in bed I finally get my time, and I want it to last as long as possible. I stay up late, very late! This isn't good because I wake up at 6:30 every morning to go running. I'm exhausted all day, but when nighttime comes and the boys are sleeping, I'm wide awake. Why is that?
Last night, I got into bed without washing my face, brushing my teeth, I even still had my bra on. It was 10:00 and I wanted to read my book. Next thing I know, it's 2:00AM and my mouth tasted like bum. I got up, brushed my teeth, did my business, and went back to bed.
My run this morning went better than expected.
I need a bedtime.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ticking Time Bomb

Like I said in my first post, I don't want this blog to be about me ranting and complaining and whining, and I'm determined it won't be despite some of my past posts. I was hoping to do some reading on parenting and marital relationships to find out some things to experiment on, but, lets face it, I am way too stressed out right now. I don't handle stress well, either. I usually withdraw from the situation and let things--laundry in this case-- pile up around me.
My whole house is one giant ball of pent up frustration just waiting to explode. My sister is getting married in a month, my husband is graduating next week, we need to move all our stuff out of our old place and drive it cross country and put it in storage here until our house is done, we are building a house, one of my best friends is going through a horrible crisis and I'm dying that I can't be there with her. Plus, I live with my mom. Living with your mom when she is trying to plan a wedding is like living with a hydrogen bomb. I worry so much that any little mistake I make will be more than she can handle and she'll just explode and take us all down with her.
Here I am going through my own anxiety while watching my mother go through hers, watching my sister try to plan her wedding, and my husband trying to wrap up school. It's amazing we haven't killed each other yet.
I have to admit I have considered seeing a doctor. I really don't think my heart should be pounding this much and having trouble breathing is pretty serious. I am so tense I think my neck will snap off if my stomach doesn't burn me from the inside out. I'm going to Google "anxiety attacks" and see what the almighty internet has to say...
Yep, that sounds about right. Can anyone score me some Valium?

Saturday, May 9, 2009


At a family party earlier today, my aunt whipped out a photo that she wanted me to see. She said she had found it the day before in some old boxes and considered it an early Mother's Day gift. It was a photo of her son who had been deceased since before I was born. Our family rarely speaks of the death of my cousin because it was so tragic. He was only two years old and the circumstances surrounding his death were so sad that, out of respect to my family, I won't talk about them. You can imagine, then, why I was so surprised that she would hand me a photo of him. Particularly because I had never seen a photograph of him before.
I looked at the old photo that was taken sometime in the late seventies and nearly lost my balance. My breath was literally taken away. There in that old, faded photo was my son Kevin's face. Seriously, the likeness was unmistakable. The eyes, the hair, the same mischevious smile, if Kevin were blond, I would swear it was him in the photo.
It shook me up, to say the least. I have been weirded out by it all day. I can't get the photo out of my head. If we were living in some Hollywood drama, I would think this was some eerie omen or devastating foreshadow of things to come. Thankfully, "I'm not a superstitious person, I'm just a little 'stitious."
Honestly, I couldn't wait to rush home to my baby boy and hold him. I didn't let him out of my sight all day. I told my dad what had happened, and he told me that he saw the resemblance before but didn't want to say anything. I think sometimes we are given these wake-up calls so we remember how wonderful our lives really are.
On this day, Mother's Day, hug your kids a little tighter, cherish their presence a little more, be a bit more patient, and tell them how much you love them. It's because of them that you are a mother, and you never know how quickly they can be taken from you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Regular work day...

I know I shouldn't see motherhood as a regular job like the ones I had before I became a mom. The last "real" job I had was working as a secretary while I was in college. I was an assistant to the secretary in the college of Food Sciences. I hated this job. It felt like a job the secretary made up so she wouldn't have to do any work. Really, all she did all day was try to figure out the new budgeting program, which I could've showed her how to work in about five minutes. Still, it kept her busy, which meant she couldn't boss me around as much. What I did was type-- yes on a typewriter-- new labels for ALL the files in the whole office. It took a really long time. I did other things too, mostly organizational things and run errands. One time my boss mailed out letters to the wrong people and she blamed it on me. That was the day I realized my job was to take the blame for all the mistakes my boss made.
I LOVE my job now. I really do. Still, there are days that I catch myself clock watching. As if my job were going to end and I was going to be able to leave. As if. No, I watch the clock for the time when my husband gets home. Pathetic? Maybe.
It's not like my responsibilities end when he walks in the door, but there is the hope that they will be lightened a little. Maybe he'll take the kids outside to play while I get dinner ready, so they aren't pulling on my legs wanting my attention.

Yes, I try to get them to make dinner with me. Cory loves to, but Kevin would rather me hold him while I do everything. Ouch.
Even now Kevin is pulling on my arm hindering my typing.

So often my husband gets home and plops down and says, "Can I just sit for a minute?"
"Sure," I reply feeling a little guilty that he has had a long, hard day and here I am asking him to distract the kids while I get his dinner ready. Then I think, "Wait! Can't I just sit for a minute?!" I start to get a little resentful. Is that horrible of me? I don't think so. I think it's natural to feel that way, but I try not to let the resentment fester, so I either yell at him or let it go. :)
So, husbands, not that any are reading this, maybe let your wife "hang around the water cooler" a little longer this Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Building my endurance... again.

I built up my endurance so that I was running 3 miles a day. It was a slow 3 miles, but I did it! Of course, some big, giant needle came a long and burst my massive bubble. Yes, my bubble was massive because I was so proud of myself. This big needle gave me a cold, a virus that attacked my lungs. Asthma attacks followed.
Now that I'm feeling better, I can barely run 1 mile before I'm exhausted.
Not wanting to spend the next 3 months trying to build up to running 3 miles a day again, I did some research on building endurance. While the following article isn't the most helpful one I found, it is the most entertaining.

"Check with your doctor before you begin your exercise program.

I think we all know the benefits of building endurance but how is it developed? What is more important, how is it developed without hurting our selves? Well now that’s the question isn’t it? The following are just a few suggestions with a few words of caution added in for good measure.

For starters, this article is not written with the professional athlete in mind but for the more sedate. Although the exercises that will be described herein will certainly be of benefit to anyone.

Step one to improving your endurance is to stand up, walk to the television set and hit the off button. If the television doesn’t go off, you may have to apply just a little more force to the button. When they haven’t been turned off in a while they have a tendency to stick.

The next step is walk over to the icebox and put that half a can of beer back in. Don’t worry; you’ll be back before it has a chance to go flat. There is no sense in wasting a good beer, especially if it’s Guiness Stout or New Castle. On second thought, if you have more I’ll come over and work out with you.

Let’s head outside, and remember to take your watch. First we are going to do some light stretches. We won’t be doing many stretches just enough to loosen up so nothing is pulled that we might want to use later.

To begin reach over, touch your toes and hold your position for thirty seconds. Straighten up and arch your back to relieve the strain. Do this a couple of times but after the first grab your ankles and apply a gentle pull to try and get a little lower. You should be uncomfortable but not in any real pain. If you catch a cramp, come up about six inches and then slowly work your way back down. Done yet? Not in the least.

Now spread your feet six inches and do it again, then attempt to touch each leg with your chest. Remember to go slow and steady, don’t rush or jerk as this tightens the muscles and increases the chances of injury. Continue to work your feet out six inches at a time until you’ve gone down so far and your feet are so wide that you can’t straighten up with out pulling your feet in. It is important that you rotate your feet up on your heels with your toes pointed to the sky as you do this stretch. By rotating the feet up, you will relieve the stress placed upon the knees and other joints. Once your feet are pointing upwards, allow yourself to go down as far as you can.

Sit down and leave your feet spread, if you have pets in the yard you may want to first look where you’re about to sit. Pull your chest as close to the ground as possible then to the legs. Try to hold each stretch for thirty to sixty seconds. You will want to continue to increase the spread of your feet you can’t spread them anymore. Each time you move your feet they should open approximately six inches at a time.

When you have finished this, cross one leg over the other and grasp the crossed foot and rotate it ten times one way and then ten the other slowly. Switch ankles and repeat. Stand up, bend over and place your hands on your knees move your knees ten times one way and ten times the other in circles. It’s important that you stretch everyday whether you work out or not. This will help you to throw off the effects of the exercise a lot faster.

Walk to the road look both ways, pick a direction and start walking. The objective is to walk three miles in as close to forty-five minutes as possible. It sounds easy, right? Not very, at least not at first but it does get easier the more you do it. After doing this every other day for a couple of weeks move up to five-pound ankle weights. After six weeks, cut the time to thirty minutes and inject some running into it. The key is to go slow, allow the body to acclimate itself to the increased activity. It’s not that you can’t start the running right away, you can force the body to do incredible feats but you will be defeating the purpose if you injure yourself in the process. Plus the likelihood of your continuing after the injury is healed isn’t very good.

Once you are back home, do some katas or calisthenics for about fifteen minuets. Toe touches, deep knee bends, sit-ups, and pushups are all good but remember to do some light stretches to cool down. If you need more ideas buy a book, you’ll need something to read while you sit in your hot bath of Epsom salt. By the way you may want to invest in stock in this product for the first week or two. An important point, plan out what exercises you are going to do before it’s time to perform them so you don’t have to pause while your heart rate go down. As the time that you spend walking or running decreases increase the length of time you spend doing calisthenics by increasing the number of reps you do. You may try doing them to music or have a partner do them with you so the time doesn’t seem to be so boring. Music and partners have both been proven to increase the chances of a sedate person keeping with an exercise program.

If you get tired of walking or running, break out that bike and go for a ride. Please use the appropriate safety equipment. By the way it’s cheating if the bike has a motor on it although it is legal to ride a stationary bike inside while you watch television. Do make it a challenge so increase the tension so your heart rate will rise. Even with the stationary bikes, don’t forget to do your stretches.

Another great cardio vascular work out option for martial artists is kata. Do every one that you know ten times as fast as you can while still maintaining your form. If you don’t know that many

(a.) Do the one you do know more than ten times, working up to one hundred in one session.

(b.) Go to class or buy a kata book and learn additional katas.

While doing a kata, try performing them to fast tempo music. The style of music is a personal preference but it not only makes the time working on kata go smoother but your body’s motions as well.

Do you remember earlier in the article it said something about every other day? Did you really think you were going to get a day of rest in-between? Hardly, now we get into resistance training. I’m not going to cover much on this, as there are too many books and information out there in the stores and on the web to have to describe a bunch of exercises. Remember we are not trying to bulk up here, although there’s nothing wrong with doing that. Instead we are trying to build endurance so start out with light weights and do a lot of reaps. After you have built up your body some, start to increase either the weight or the number of times you do your routine. Don’t forget to use a spotter in case you become overwhelmed, work carefully and try to increase your work out at least every other week.

The key to improving your endurance is going to be you actually getting up, setting a time aside for you to work out and doing it. Don’t feel guilty about the time you spend doing this, as you are not taking it away from your family.

You’re doing it for them. You will be in better shape while increasing your stamina and your chances of remaining in excellent health.

By doing this you will be able to do more with and FOR them.

An additional benefit is that you’ll be in a better frame of mind. Regular exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress.

If for some reason you do feel guilty about your exercise time, make it a family affair. Get them up, make them join you and improve the health and mental well being of the entire family. Regardless, enjoy your workouts because you deserve them."