Monday, April 27, 2009

Ways to Scare the Pee Out of Me

I have a short pairing of humorous events I've been meaning to blog about for a while, but I haven't gotten around to it. This evening's event pushed me over the edge into blogging about it though. :)

First, you might recall my sister, LaRae. Here we are at Disney World in the Magic Kingdom:
She looks harmless enough, right? Like someone who loves her little sister so much that she's willing to walk around all week at the World in matching sweatshirts and kindly supporting said sister's desire to wear sequined mouse ears all week (despite being 25)? Someone who would never try to, oh I dunno, scare the ever living daylights out of a person, right?

OK the sweatshirts and ear support are deceiving because my sister is a lover of practical jokes. Wait, not really practical jokes, more jump out at someone and scare the poop out of them humor.

So, a couple of weekends ago our parents came in town on a Saturday morning. LaRae called to say they were coming to pick me up early because she needed me to flat iron a spot in her hair, so she came in (I left the door unlocked) without trying to scare me, waited patiently for me to finish my own hair, and had me fix her hair. She then told me to hurry because we were running a little late, said she'd go to the van and bring in the pillows for Mom & Dad, and then wait in the van for me.

I quickly finished cleaning the bathroom, went to the kitchen to feed the dog, locked him in the bathroom, shut all the mini-blinds, turned off all the lights, and started to leave. I grabbed my keys and opened the door only to hear this voice behind me say, "Don't lock me in!" I jumped about 10 feet in the air (quite a distance for a hobbit!), screamed bloody murder, continued to open the door, screamed "S**T!" at the top of my lungs out the door, and started to run (all in about 5 seconds) before I realized it was LaRae. My entryway has a bit of a hallway to it, so she sat on my hall tree waiting to scare me! Turns out Sprinkles actually came to the door, sniffed at the door, ignored LaRae, and returned to me where I was cleaning the bathroom without making a noise! (Some guard dog!) When LaRae and I made it to the van, my dear brother-in-law had actually heard me (8 garages down from my apartment) scream obscenities! Ooops... LaRae said she was proud that I at least was starting to run!

Yes, I scare easily. LaRae LOVES to jump out at me because it's a guaranteed funny reaction.

Wanna know what else scares me? Roaches -- well creepy crawling things in general really. So you remember Paul, right? The friend that came over late one night to save me from the Box of Impending Doom?? Ah yes, now you recall him. Well, Paul and I carpool to work. Today he witnessed (from the passenger seat) as I slammed on the brakes because a small spider was hanging from a web from the top of my window and crawling down towards me. Not only did I slam on brakes, but I also completely lost my train of thought in the middle of a story as I squealed and frantically put down my window and then really really freaked out as the spider went into my window cavity thing instead of out the window. He had to endure the ride with me constantly, spaztically looking at my side window in fear of the spider crawling out.

I can't really emphasize enough the depth of love Paul has for his friends. He is willing to do just about anything for them. So leaving the freaky little spider behind, I came home tonight, chatting on the phone with my sister (yes the one who loves it when I get scared), and O.M.G! There is a GIANT roach on my crown molding in my living room above my hallway door that leads to the bedroom and bathroom. Roaches make me want to throw up. I seriously shudder uncontrollably around them. LaRae told me I could kill it, but what if I made it fall on me?! I decided I would wait out the roach, so I went out on my porch to enjoy the evening.

Thirty minutes later the roach was winning. He had not moved one iota, and he looked like he was just taking a nap for the evening up there. I decided maybe if I turned on all the lights and shined a flashlight on it that it would run down the wall. Don't the scurry when lights come on? No dice. Roach - 1, Joanna - 0. After frantically ducking through that doorway a few times I decided I needed to call in my secret weapon: Paul.

Turns out he was bored and waiting on his wife, Jennifer to come home, and he said he'd come help me. Whew! He came over to vanquish the giant roach of doom, and I swear that the first words out of his mouth when he saw the thing were, "wow that is a giant roach!" Ha! See, no exaggeration! Paul confirmed the hugeness of the roach. He kindly scraped it down into a cup, threw it over the balcony, and saved my sanity for the night. I paid him two Cadbury eggs. I think it was a fair trade off. :) So, thanks Paul! You rock!

OK, so that's two ways to scare the pee out of me (thankfully not literally): jumping out at me and roaches. We'll save other ways for later. Speaking of scared though, incidentally my dog scares easily too and is scared of thunder, a trait that was all too evident this morning at 6 am (30 minutes before I needed to be up) as he stood ON me and barked every time the apartment shaking thunder occurred. No, he can't be scared quietly and cuddle under the covers with me. Instead, he has to yell about it. I guess that was just his way of opening the door and yelling "S**T!" into the breezeway, so I shouldn't be too annoyed.

Friday, April 10, 2009

How to Cook

How do you live without a microwave??

Tonight I was getting ready for my parents to come to town tomorrow, and part of getting ready was cleaning. I had some soup in a large container in the fridge that I thought would be better in smaller Pyrex dishes, so I got a spoon and doled out the soup. I had a little bit leftover, so I decided to microwave it for an evening snack.

While I was microwaving the soup, I was also hanging up laundry (by the kitchen). I heard this weird *pop* noise, but I wasn't sure it was the microwave. Well I wasn't sure until I realized Sprinkles was strangely interested in the microwave (picture head tilted, gazing up at the microwave in confusion). Anyways, the food was still spinning, the light still on, clock still counting down, and motor still running...

I went to put my laundry away, and I realized a fire alarm was going off in a nearby building in the complex, so Sprinkles and I stood on the porch until we heard sirens approaching. When I realized the sirens stopped super close to my building, we went on a walk to investigate. The building around the corner (the one right by mine across the courtyard) had alarms going off, and 2 firetrucks in front of it, and a lot of people were outside watching what was going on. Amazing how many people decide to walk their dogs when a firetruck comes into the complex! Anyways, no hoses out, no smoke, no fire, but it took a good 5-10 minutes for them to turn off the alarm and get it to stay off. Not brazen enough to hit on a hot fireman, I decided it was time for Sprinkles and me to head back home.

OK, so I get home and realize I forgot my soup. Hm, must mean I'm not really hungry, but I press '2' so it will heat for 2 more minutes. That's when I notice that the microwave is making a slightly odd and louder sound than normal, but I pass it off thinking that maybe hearing the alarm so close and so loud for so long messed my ears up a bit. Yeah, my soup came out stone cold. Grrrr. I called the complex service request line and left a message. I actually told them my parents will be here tomorrow, so I could really use them fixing/replacing my microwave tomorrow. Usually they're fairly fast. I REALLY hope they're fast this time.

I'm just annoyed. I know appliances break, and it's no one's fault, but it's irritating. I mean, how do you heat leftovers? How do you cook South Beach pizzas and heat South Beach wraps? I know I have a stove top and oven, but that's all so time consuming! I realize people lived without microwaves for a long time, but wow I really hate knowing mine doesn't work. I also hate that I have to wait for my complex to fix it. Granted if they didn't I'd have to pay for one myself, but at least I could go do that tonight and have a working microwave in a half hour.

The saving grace is that I have a school. I had my own microwave in my apartment in Searcy (and it was nice). When I moved to a complex that provided microwaves (a built in that goes with the stove vent), I took mine up to school for the math storeroom for us to use. Oddly enough we don't use it, but I'm "storing" it on a filing cabinet in the storeroom anyways. If they haven't replaced it by Monday, I think I'll bring that one home with me. It's heavy though... so I hope they replace mine fast. :)

I know... pointless post, but it's on my mind, and it's MY blog. ;-)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Numbers Numbers Numbers

I'm a numbers kinda gal. I deal with them all day when I teach. Beyond that though, I see the beauty in numbers, in the organization and logic of math. So, it should come as no surprise to any of you that I LOVE spreadsheets (I make them for everything I can), and I like to use them to figure how long it will take me to do things like pay off my credit card.

Today I made a Hungarian Pot Roast in my crock pot. The prep work took me about an hour this morning, but I think I could do it faster. You do need some special paprika which I found for a good deal at Sprouts. I'm not sure anyone should know as much as I do about different types of paprika as I do, but it sure made a tasty pot roast! Honestly I had no clue that pot roast could turn out so AMAZING without potatoes and carrots!

So tonight I was sitting here on my porch... ok side rave here. I LOVE my porch! It's my new favorite spot (aside from Disney World). If you follow me on Facebook, you know my status is constantly about me being on my porch or loving my porch. I feel like my apartment has gained 40 or more square feet overnight! I have this whole new, peaceful, comfortable domain where I can go to cuddle with Sprinkles or read or play on my laptop. A couple of summers ago I got a couple of Adirondack chairs for it, and I have a couple of nice tables out here. Sprinkles has a big pillow bed, and the porch even has a power outlet. It's good livin' out here.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, I'm on the porch (the place I can't wait to leave work and head to nowadays), and I'm full from the aforementioned amazing pot roast, and I start thinking about my diet (South Beach). It's been 3 weeks, and I've lost 11.2 pounds. I can't help but think, "wow! I'm eating good, really yummy food, and I'm actually losing weight!" which made me pull out my cell phone and use the calculator and calendar to start projecting my weight loss goals. I haven't gone as far as to make a spreadsheet, but I have some goals in mind that I wanted to put into writing (more to make me accountable than because I thought you'd really care).

By the end of summer (August 15th), I'd like to have lost 40 pounds. That would put me about halfway to my goal weight. Right now I'm just following South Beach. This summer I'm going to add in working out at the pool and at the complex gym. I'm hoping that will stop me from plateauing. When I go back to work at the end of summer my debt should be paid off, and I should NEED new clothes by then. I want to get back to work and for people to be surprised and notice how much I've lost. It's for me and all, but I want people to be able to tell I've dropped 40 pounds!

By my next birthday (February 22nd), I want to be at my goal weight (or lower). That means I'll need to drop another 40 (or so) pounds from August to February. If I continue working out and eating right, I should be able to do it. My goal weight is 150 pounds. Honestly that still puts me at the high end of the BMI scale for my height, but I'll be happy at 150. If the weight keeps coming off after that, so be it, but I'm not stressing if I hit 150 and plateau.

Daily, I am still amazed at how much more energy I have. I'm able to get so much more done in a day, and I'm enjoying being more active. It's not even that I'm going on walks and stuff. It's that I'm keeping my apartment really clean and picked up, that my laundry gets done when I need it instead of piling up around my ears, that my dishwasher is run almost daily, and that I'm able to cook for all 3 meals each day and not grow sick of doing it all! I've been trying to cook at least one new recipe each week, and every one that I've tried has (thankfully) turned out wonderful. I'm enjoying cooking and keeping up with my apartment. I LOVE not feeling like I always need a nap!

I'm still waiting for my blood pressure to go down. It's lowering some, and this should be what stops me from having to go on medicine for it. Already I've noticed I haven't had heartburn since I started this, and I haven't been nearly as achy as I am at times. The positives from this diet far outweigh the sometimes cravings I have to deny myself. I still miss and want cake.

I remember at Christmas I couldn't go after Christmas shopping with my mom and my sister because I knew I wouldn't be able to stick to my new budget. Now I can go to the mall or my favorite shop without overspending or even spending at all because I have it under control. I'm hoping this diet will eventually be that easy... one day I'll be able to go to my favorite restaurant and order the right thing that fits with my diet and not be sad that I'm missing out on the bread basket or whatever. :) I'm looking forward to that.

I think what I most look forward to is that at the end of the summer I'll have really worked hard and succeeded at being a new Joanna. I'll have paid off my credit card debt and have learned to manage my money. I'll also have lost half of the weight I need/want to lose. The journey to pay off my credit card has taken years. The journey of weight loss is going to take at least a year. I'm learning that changing yourself and changing your lifestyle takes some serious time, but wow I'm looking at those numbers on my debt and my weight go down, and nothing feels better!