Pain, Pain Go Away

I’ve been in pain for about two weeks now. Back pain. Ugh. It’s the worst. I used to have lower back pain pretty regularly when I worked in the restaurant business. That up on your feet running around everyday thing gets to you after a while. But since I work on my feet much less now, my back has been doing better. Then a few months ago I started running again, then a couple of weeks ago I added a HIIT workout to my routine that included free weights and BOOM! I have no idea if I pulled something, or moved something, or what happened, but I am down for the count. And it’s only getting worse, not better.

So I have an appointment with my doctor today, but something tells me I will be referred. I am having, I think more than the muscle pain, some pretty intense joint pain too. My hips, my knees. Sometimes in the morning I have to like wake up slowly and move my fingers for a while before they seem to work right. I sound like an old lady, I know. I feel like one right now. As I write this I am laying on the couch, Gatorade on the table next to me, a protein shake, and a bottle of ibuprofen. I am literally falling apart before your very eyes!

Listen, geez, okay, I’ve been trying to be optimistic these days. After all, Biden is running with Kamala Freaking Harris, how exciting! So let me start over. I’m going to the doctor today for some back pain, but it’s all gonna be fine. I’ll be cured!

Still, wish me luck please.

M.

Day Four

It’s day four of antibiotics and steroids. I keep waiting to wake up and feel like a million bucks, but the bucks aren’t coming. Still self-isolating while I wait for my Covid-19 test results. Jackson and Jerimiah aren’t exhibiting any symptoms which is good, but I’m still worried. We hoped for results today, but that was being optimistic of us. Jerimiah said he had a “white man moment” assuming that we’d get the results back at the earliest point mentioned. He’s funny, and overthinks sometimes like I do, but honestly it’s all probably just backlogged here. Meanwhile, my symptoms haven’t slowed, and I’ve developed some new ones. I’m playing this game of trying to think up reasons for the symptoms, like maybe my muscles ache because I slept wrong, or maybe I couldn’t taste my food because my nose is stuffy. Things like that.

I have two modes in most crisis situations: I either overreact immediately or, because I know that is a possibility, I under-react (is that a word?) as a means to combat the craziness that tries to sneak in. I felt myself wanting to overreact on Friday when no doctor would see me in person, so I’ve been mitigating that with this fun game of, “Chill, girl. You’re good. This is all just a funny, little mix up.” Ugh. It’s stressful. Stress! Maybe that’s what is causing the constant headache and joint pain!

So there you go. Day four of symptoms that I don’t usually have, that align pretty closely to the symptoms of a global pandemic I’ve spent the last four months actively striving to keep away from, in the middle of my husband’s birthday week. I slept alone in our bed last night, we decided Jerimiah should move to the couch. He’s not all the way down in the guest wing in the basement, not yet. I won’t let him. That’s too final. For now, just the couch. Tomorrow, who knows.

Hope you’re all staying safe, and wearing your GD masks!

M.

The Crown(line)

I have dental problems. Bad teeth. Always have. It started when I was about 12 and had braces for two years. Since then it’s been one thing after another. My cavities as a child, turned into root canals as an adult, and finally concluded with the mack daddy of them all last year, my first implant. No, not breast implants. We are talking about teeth here, y’all. I have an implant that cost me the equivalent of a used boat. Like, if I could go back in time, collect all the money I have put into my mouth and use it to buy a boat, I could buy a used 2008 Crownline. For actual real. I could be these assholes:

Don’t they look happy? Out on the boat for a fun, lake-day excursion. Instead, I spent another two hours in the damn dentist chair the other day as I had build-up done for yet another porcelain crown. This makes crown number four in my mouth, not counting the implant. Which would glimmer in the sunlight while I was out on my 2008 Crownline.

While I was at the dentist the other day, I had a new experience: I almost drowned. No, I was not in my used 2008 Crownline, you guys, the used 2008 Crownline doesn’t exist, I have the worth of it in my mouth. Instead, I almost drowned in the dentist chair.

There I was, all the way reclined in the chair, the dentist on one side of me, the assistant on the other, and they were working away with water and suction and a saw or something, when I suddenly couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe through my mouth cause the water was going down my throat, and I couldn’t breathe from my nose because there was so much water it was going up into my nose. I tried to motion for them to stop, but they didn’t see me. I thought, Missy, maybe you are overreacting, you’re not drowning, just take some calming breathes. So I tried to take some calming breaths, but I actually COULD NOT BREATHE! So I slammed my hands into theirs (probably not safe in hindsight) and sat up quickly. Then I started coughing up all the actual water that was in my nose and throat. They assured me I was fine and apologized (well kind of, they never actually said sorry, but the assistant did put her hand on my shoulder in a comforting way). The dentist positioned the chair up higher and I felt him move the suction for the assistant, and they started again. And wouldn’t you know it, within a minute I was drowning again! You guys! This went on a couple more times. They would take a break, I would cough, the dentist handed me a Kleenex to cough the water up into, and they would go again. I honestly don’t know what was happening. That has never happened to me before. So I’m not sure if my nose parts are moving, or if the assistant was new and doesn’t really know how the suction works, but it was the least fun I’ve had at the dentist, and y’all, I’ve had some miserable times at the dentist.

I’m alive. That’s the good news. And I’ve instructed Jerimiah to sue the shit out of them if I do die in the chair, but come on, that should not be a worry. So if y’all have any advice for next time, I’d appreciate it. I go back in a few weeks and I’m over this shit. I’m seriously considering pulling all my teeth out, selling the ones I can, and buying a Crownline. That promises better days ahead…

Ahoy!

M.

Virgo Rising

Listen, I don’t pay much attention to the zodiac. In fact, outside of those Seventeen magazine horoscopes that I read religiously as a kid, I haven’t done too much looking into how I supposedly “tick” because I was born under a Virgo sun in retrograde. When I think zodiac, my first thought goes to the Zodiac Killer. Wow, what a crazy dude. What’s just as crazy to me is that people spend their lives reading what their stars and signs tell about them, and are fully convinced that they play a role in their life. Well, that did seem crazy, until I read mine…

Listen we are a tactical group, us Virgos. First and foremost we are Virgos comma The Virgins, so I mean, yeah we are very nice and polite and pure. So pure. Haven’t you guys got that fucking pure sorta feeling from me? I hope you have. I hope I rep the Virgos really well.

We fit in between the 150th and 180th degree of the zodiac. (I can’t decide whether that is capitalized or not, certainly when we talk about the Zodiac Killer, proper noun, but what about the zodiac? I mean technically the zodiac here is just an area of the sky, but it is a certain area of the sky. I wish I cared enough to Google it.)

Our symbol, according to the ancient, wise truths of the website Wikipedia, is the maiden. Our element is Earth and apparently our ultimate nemesis is Venus, which seems weird because I thought women were from Venus. I’m confused again. But check out this badass.

Uhh heller, she cool. And not just because that looks like an “M” as in “Missy.” But I mean, that’s cool too.

So why I am talking about this today. Well, have you ever checked out your zodiac sign? I hadn’t really paid much attention to mine and then a friend was all, “Ohhh, you’re a Virgo? Whew.” And I was like what the hell does that mean? And she was all, “That’s why you’re so honest, like, uhh, too honest, Missy.” And I was like ain’t no sign gonna get up in here and tell me how to live my life. So then I started reading about Virgos and Christ, y’all, the zodiac has me pegged (not the killer, thank goodness) starting with the backstory.

Every good sign has an awesome backstory. The Virgo sign involves an oops pregnancy, a murderous/distant father, a very special bottle of wine, and a pig. I know right?! IS THIS MY LIFE?! Here is the story, and for sure I just copy and pasted from the ancient scroll of Wiki, college professors look away:

“In the legend, Parthenos is the daughter of Staphylus and Chrysothemis and sister to Rhoeo and Molpadia. Rhoeo had been impregnated by Apollo but when her father discovered her pregnancy, he assumed it was by a random suitor and was greatly ashamed. As punishment, he locked her in a box and threw her in a river. After the terrible fate of their sister, Parthenos and Molpadia lived in fear of their father’s terrible wrath. One evening, Staphylus left his daughters in charge of a very valuable bottle of wine. When they both accidentally fell asleep, one of their swine broke the bottle. Terrified of their father, the sisters fled to a nearby cliff and threw themselves off. But because of his previous relations with Rhoeo, Apollo saved his two sisters and delivered them to the safety of nearby cities in Cherronseos. Molpadia ended up in Castabus where she changed her name to Hemithea and was worshipped as a local goddess for many years. Parthenos settled in Bubastus where she was also worshipped as a local goddess. According to another story, Parthenos was a daughter of Apollo who made the constellation to commemorate her death at a young age.”

To be fair, it’s a cool backstory that is totally relevant to my life, but it doesn’t explain the “honesty” gene that I inherited from my grandpa Apollo (I obviously don’t know how any of this works). That comes from math, signs, moons in retrograde, and interestingly enough, the exact time I was born.

Horoscope.com, which I have spent way more time on than I’d like to admit since I was told my Virgo Sun rising was the cause of my problems, is pretty adamant about these Virgo truths: My flower is a sunflower (I already knew this as I am a Kansas girl, born and raised). I am supposedly smart, sophisticated, and kind. I think we can all agree on the second one, I drink White Claws. I’m apparently an amazing friend, always there to lend a hand and advice (especially the unwarranted kind). I’m practical, a big-picture thinker, and a little shy when you first meet me. Okay, this is getting creepy. Here are some other apparent traits of mine.

Apparently, I’m a passionate lover.

Apparently, I am Type-A personality.

Apparently, I enjoy digging in deep, getting to the truth of people. It’s apparently the only way I can gain their trust, and let them gain mine.

Apparently, I strive for perfection and make my friends and family suffer when it isn’t attainable.

Apparently, Beyonce is a Virgo.

Damn, I buried my lead.

M.

One Day Accident Free

I worked in a factory once. It was a plastic, heat, 3M something or other factory. The point is I worked in one. A place where you had to clock in and out. A place you were assigned a pair of safety glasses (in my case two, because I dropped the first pair out of my pocket and ran over them), and there was a sign that hung above the entrance that said, “__ Days Accident Free.” I always liked that sign, mainly because it usually have a high number in the blank spot, something like 88. None of that has anything to do with what I’m here to tell you today, except that maybe if I had a sign like that in my house it would say, “__ Days Anxiety-induced Drinking To the Point of Vomiting Over the Side of the Hot Tub Free” and I’d currently be wiping the slate clean to start over at 1 again.

These are some rough days y’all. But as I laid in my bed Saturday night, or really early Sunday morning, and watched it spin around me I certainly remember a loud, booming voice coming out of somewhere to say, “Hey Girl, you’re too old for this actual shit.” And that voice was right. But here’s the thing, I didn’t intend to drink that much. And honestly, factually, I didn’t drink anymore than I normally do, but I did forget to eat dinner.

But here’s the other thing: I’m drinking more than I usually do these days. I suspect a lot of us are, and we need to keep an eye on that, ya dig? I was reminded yesterday. And I know what you’ll say: You’ll say, “Yes girl, me too!” Or maybe you’ll say, “Ohnothankyou I don’t drink and you shouldn’t either.” Or maybe you’ll be like, “This shit is rough. It feels like there is no end in sight and every once in awhile we need to let go of some of that control we so desperately try to give ourselves when the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, and for some of us it’s shopping online, for others it’s smoking that one cigarette you have hiding under the loose 2×4 in your shed, or maybe it’s a bottle of wine with your husband in your hot tub once a month. Whatever it is, we need to be okay with doing it. Every once in awhile.” Is that you? Did you say that? I hope so.

I hope so.

In this shitty, upside down world, I’m okay with my choices. Honestly. If I wasn’t y’all know I’d tell you so. But I’m not okay with pushing 40 and being hungover. Nay, nay. That shit’s for the birds. I’ll be keeping my wine hand light from here on out. And you, well you watch yourself too. And remember, I’m always around to talk.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Hashtag Blessed

Woke up this morning thinking that I’m too stressed to feel blessed. You read that right: I’m too stressed to feel blessed. My stress level is off the charts. I’m not home during a global pandemic. I’ve got my kid traveling all over, seeing people who have not been taking this pandemic seriously. The lack of masks, social distancing, and isolation here is crazy. People are totally pretending like the numbers aren’t spiking. They think wearing a mask is sufficient. What the what? I want to be back at my house, alone, ordering my groceries again. I’m scared. I’m stressed. And if you aren’t, you are not paying attention.

Don’t get me wrong I’m having a good time, occasionally. Occasionally I forget that the world is a shitbag, upside place. Occasionally I drink so much wine with my husband and best friend that I forget. Or I’m on the lake, enjoying a boat ride. Like yesterday when we rolled up at the marina to get gas and snacks. It’s called “What’s Up Dock” and it’s cute, and lively, and had all the gas, Sprite, and potato chips we needed. They also has a ton of people. People walking around aimlessly, asking about jet ski rentals, and trying on “Table Rock” t-shirts, buy one, get one free. For a split second I forgot about Covid-19. It all seemed so normal. So free. So every, other summer of my life. Then I remembered.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car coming up here: “Too Blessed to be Stressed.” I smiled and thought, wouldn’t that be nice.

M.

Growing Old is a Trap?

There is this meme that is circulating that says, Growing Old is a Trap! and I laugh every time I see it. It’s funny, absolutely. And I get the sentiment, especially when my 75-year-old friends share it. It’s just that as I age, as I approach (gasp!) 40 years on this planet, I don’t feel that way at all. I don’t feel old. I don’t feel like I’ve been told I will feel my whole life. My whole life I’ve watched my mother, my sisters, my cousins, and friends reach 40, and most of them dread it. Like, absolutely dread 40. They dread it for a multitude of reasons. They say your body starts to break down. You can’t lose weight anymore, your energy level plummets, your hair suddenly turns grey, your family turns on you, wrinkles crawl across your face. I mean, they make it sound horrific, crypt keeper shit, y’all, and at 38.5 years of age I just gotta say, I don’t feel it.

I mean, I guess I have one-and-a-half years for the shit storm that is 40 to get here, but if I’m being honest I already deal with half that list. I already have greying hair. My husband, also 38-and-a-half, is full on salt and pepper now. I have friends in their 30s who have been dying their hair for years to cover grey. I already have creases and wrinkles around my eyes. Laugh lines, reddening skin. It’s been the hardest ever for me to lose weight since my hysterectomy. It used to be that I could workout a little, cut some carbs and bam! I’d lose 20 pounds. Not anymore. My energy level has always been dependent on my mental health, it ebbs and flows. Why should I be scared of turning 40?

Society, I guess. Women who are 40 have been programmed to think they are dead. Their life is over. Omigod, you’re 40! But you look so young! Yeah, bitch, cause she is young. Or, Omigod, you’re 40! Do you knit now? No bitch, I have ass-slapping sex with my husband every night, so I don’t have time for knitting.

Truth be told I am just beginning to feel like myself again after all the shit my 20s and early 30s did to me. I feel like I’m just starting to blossom. I was always a late-bloomer, so this doesn’t’ bother me much, but I absolutely look forward to my next 38-and-a-half years because I honestly feel like my life is just beginning again. I’m in regular therapy, which has been a game changer. I have a firm-ass grip on reality, something that eluded me most of my life. I’ve lived through just enough grief to know how it works, but I haven’t let it make me jaded. Not yet, anyway. Will my hair go grey? You bet. I might not even dye it, don’t know yet, haven’t decided. Will my wrinkles set in? Will my hands start to bend? I hope so, shows character. Will I wear grandma sweaters? Shit yeah I will, I know I will because I already do. They are warm. And have pockets. Who doesn’t love a fucking sweater with pockets? And what is that, is that a peppermint in the pocket?! Oh shit, just what I needed to settle my stomach after my third cup of dark roast!

Look, I love you 20-somethings, you’re adorable. You’ll also really dumb, but that’s how it is supposed to be! You have A LOT of living and learning to do. A lot of it. And no one wants to take that from you, lest not me. Live, girl! And keep living, and being dumb, even well into your thirties. Then, grow up. Cause it’s honestly not that bad. It’s not a trap at all. You might even learn a thing or two, about the world, about yourselves. After all, you live, you learn, then you get Luv’s (but not really, you only get Pampers cause all the others leak loose stool out yo’ baby’s ass all over the backseat of your new car.) See that? I taught you something. If you let us teach you, we will. But for real, I love you. You make me happy to see, to watch you do your beer pong and your whatsy-daisy, it’s just that one day, when the avocado toast is gone, and the wrinkles have set in, and your 40 and you still don’t have any idea what you want to be when you grow up, I want you to know that it won’t be as scary as it sounds. Trust me, I know.

So let’s stop this 40 is death thing, and embrace who we are. And while I’m at it, 50 isn’t death either! Neither is 60! OMIGOD, stop it Missy, is 70 death?! No! You know what death is, death. You dead. So stop living like you already are and do some shit to wake up. It doesn’t matter how old you are, today is your day.

M.

Update after talking to my husband. I was telling him I was frustrated with how people think growing and learning and evolving is bad and while he agrees with me, he politely reminded me that you only grow, learn, and evolve if you allow yourself to. Not everyone will. Or wants to. He reminded me that you have to, “know better to be better.” Man, he’s so spot on. All the stuff above only works if you allow yourself to not be burdened by structural pressures. If you educate yourself. If you love yourself enough to show yourself some grace. Please do that, y’all. ❤️

Begin Running!

Warm up walk, run, walk, run, walk, run, walk, run, walk, cool down. That is what the Couch to Five k is like. It’s an app. To be fair there are several of them. But I use the “C25K” one because it’s the one I have always used and I’m a creature of habit. But they all help you train to go from not running to running for long periods of time. To be fair here when I say “run” I don’t mean sprints or anything even remotely close to that, I mean more of a slow, turtle jog. I mean that someone who runs marathons could walk next to me talking their head off while I “run” without the ability to talk and with sweat seeping out of every, single orifice of my body. My ear canals sweat, y’all. My ear canals. I know this because sometimes my headphones fall out from all the moisture.

It’s week four of the couch to five k training for Jackson and me. He is doing it with me, and so far it has been good, bad, horrific, tolerable, and stupid. Stupid. A word we don’t even use in our house. It’s stupid on some days. Some days we look at each other while we are lacing up our shoes, or while I am taping my shins, and we shrug and think, This is so fucking stupid. Probably my 11-year-old doesn’t think exactly that, but I do.

While it is technically our fourth week of training, I repeated week two last week because it felt hard, so hard, to keep up. Then Jackson repeated week three this week, so we are back on the same week. I asked him if he was doing it to make me feel better and he straight-up said, No Mommy, my feet hurt. So, there’s that.

The app talks you through the process. The first five minutes are a warm-up, wherein we walk at a steady pace, get our AirPods all situated, our running mixes loaded, chat about our running path, then take long, deep breathes while we wait for the other one to be like, I dunno, you wanna skip today? Neither of us ever says it.

Then the app’s sweet, female voice pops up and says, Begin running! She’s so cheerful that at first it is hard to be mad at her. But by the third, Begin running! you want to slam your $1000 phone onto the ground and hop up and down on top of it while you scream to the empty, humid air above your head, I hate you, you piece of shit!

Okay, you’re all caught up now. I’m gonna go ice my shins. Maybe drink a gallon of water. Maybe drink a gallon of wine. Whichever is handy.

Cheers to running, running buddies, and wine.

M.

Not looking forward to “week four”…

Meet Ya at The Waffle House

Soooo, how’s everyone doing? Me? Oh well, thanks for asking. I’m sitting here at my desk, staring out my window at the beautiful sunny skies, listening to the birds chirping and the cars whizzing by wondering why in the hell you would actually go eat INSIDE a Waffle House today?! Yep. Uh huh. Welcome to Georgia. Where everything is made up and the points don’t matter. But, to be fair, it’s more than just the Waffle House opening up, it’s also bowling alleys and theaters. And if you do have the emotional or mental capacity to leave your house for dinner and a movie (who are these people, and what kind of anti-depressants are they on?!) then you know you are safe because you they can only sit four deep at the Waffle House counter. Whew, glad someone is taking this all seriously.

Also, just so we are clear, the servers are wearing gloves and masks at the Waffle House, but can I be real for a minute? Shouldn’t the servers at the Waffle House ALWAYS be wearing masks and gloves? I mean, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I like more than drinking so much gin that my inhibitions are way, way down, then getting turnt on some OJ and fried eggs at the Waffle House. In fact, 20-something Missy lived and died by WH. But, umm, I still always knew I ran the risk of picking up Hep-b in the bathroom while I was there, and I still used caution. Now you throw in a global pandemic and whaazzzzy, whaazzzzy, wha?!

I’m picking on the WH here but it’s because this is Georgia and people literally cried when the WH closed up shop last month, but truly this is the nuttiest thing I have seen in a while. People actually leaving their house, amid 23,500 cases in our state, with nearly 1,000 deaths, and hitting up the movies and going bowling. Like, I just don’t get it. And the beaches, please don’t get me started with the beaches. Y’all know we love to travel. In fact, I’m simultaneously planning three vacations in my mind right now (a trip “home,” a trip to Southern Cali, and a long weekend in Savannah) but you can bet your ass I haven’t actually booked any airfare, or started looking at hotels. Because shit, y’all. It’s gonna be awhile.

I know there are people who are just trying to get back to work. I know that. Small business owners, or you know, Shake Shack, are really trying to cash in on that money, but it isn’t coming. But to be fair, aren’t their employees making more money on unemployment right now, then if they were working? And don’t they have a “rainy day” fund? Like, certainly they don’t want the government to keep bailing them out, that’s, that’s, SOCIALISM!

I think I’m gonna stop. Take some deep breathes. Pour myself a glass of wine at three o’clock in the afternoon, and sit on the deck and listen to the birds. And the squeal of the tires in and out of the local Waffle House. Be safe, y’all. And STAY THE FUCK AT HOME.

M.

Case of the Mondays

Peter: Let me ask you something. When you come in on Monday and you’re not feeling real well, does anyone ever say to you, “Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays?”

Lawrence: No. No, man. Shit, no, man. I believe you’d get your ass kicked sayin’ something like that, man.

We introduced Jackson to a classic this weekend: Office Space. It was a hit with him, and now he says things like, “How many pieces of flair are you wearing?” and “Damn it feels good to be a gansta.” So maybe not the best idea, but also, it’s day forty-something of quarantine so… I have a case of the Mondays, for sure. I’ve had a case of the Mondays every Monday now for the last six weeks, and I’m desperately trying to find ways not to be a downer. Not to let Monday kick my ass. Not to get my ass kicked by a dude named Lawrence with a mullet and a Miller Light can.

So on Saturday, when I texted “My Squad” which is a group text with my husband and our BFFs, and said, “Anyone wanna do the Couch to 5k with me” and I got several “Yes” responses, I was like, “Oh shit” cause I was half-joking. Look it, I have done the couch to 5k before. I’ve been successful. I’ve ran a couple of 5ks. But I didn’t really have motivation to do it again, I just knew I needed SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help out. But my damn friends were kinda pumped about it and I was like damn it. And just like that, I am too. Friends are cool, huh?

So now, even though I have a cold case of the Mondays I have to go out for a run and I’m like, “AHHHHH!” But at the same time I’m like, oh yeah, my friends are too, and that makes me feel better. Misery loves company? So here we are. I’m gonna start a new cycle of the Couch to 5k and I’m offering all of you to join me. You can use me as an accountability partner for the next twelve weeks if you need one (it’s only an eight-week program, but we are giving ourselves 12 weeks). So if you are interested in doing it with us, do it! We can support you too. Or at least check in occasionally and make you feel bad for not getting your three runs in every week. We are good at shaming people. Like, unusually good at it.

Otherwise, you can probably follow my weird, pathetic, scary journey on here over the next 12 weeks. I’m sure Ill post at least one a week about how my legs hurt, and how I hate other “runners,” and omigod I’m gonna stab that dog that chases me along the fence line, etc., etc. For now just know this: I loaded up a playlist with way too much Lizzo and I’m going forth on this new (old) adventure with my bestest friends (and hopefully some of you) and well, we are in this together. You know?

I hope you don’t have a case of the Mondays.

Stay safe and sane!

M.

If you are up for the challenge, we are using this app: C25k It’s the best one I have found!

My Damn Dishwasher

Listen, I recognize what I’m about to talk about is small potatoes compared to what people are dealing with right now. And I want to take a moment and say I wish I could help you all in some way. And I am VERY grateful that my husband has a steady job, with a great company, and he gets to work full-time from home and still get his full salary. The one that supports all of us, and allows me to sit here and write blog posts about what I’m about to write a blog post about. Like, you are all doing the real work here, not me, and neither is my damn dishwasher.

I am team dishwasher. I refuse (unless I absolutely have to) to do dishes by hand. It’s asinine. And ridiculous. And why would you want to waste your time, not get your dishes the most clean, possibly make your whole family sick, and did I mention waste your time, doing dishes by hand? It makes no sense. And I know, I know that there are people that disagree with me, that’s why I literally Googled: “Is wishing dishes by hand better than using a dishwasher.” Because I thought, maybe they are right?! No. I’m right. Dishwashers are better for the environment, better for your dishes, better for your back, and an all around better option for washing dishes. And here are the articles you can read if you don’t want to Google it (names of articles have been changed for comedic purposes).

Dishwashers are Badass

Dishwashers are Better Than You

Stop Washing Dishes by Hand

I have been thinking a lot on this for the last two weeks because our dishwasher is BROKEN! That’s right. Shot. Motherboard fried. The dishwasher guy came out two weeks ago, said it was the motherboard, ordered a new one (it took a week), then when he came back to replace it, realized another wire had been fried, and then had to order that wire (still waiting on wire to come in). So there’s that. We gave the guy some grace though because, well, how could you not? Jerimiah was all, “Shit, I’d have done the same thing.” You open it up, see the broken motherboard and assume that’s the only problem. I get it, I get it. But I’m still pissed that I have dishpan hands.

To be fair Jerimiah has been doing most of the washing, and I have been doing all the complaining (and some of the drying). Jackson, well he was absolved of dishwashing duties the first time I saw him ask the dog to lick one of the plates clean for him. Jerimiah and I have even resorted to, “Hey, wanna have a little date night and wash dishes together?” Because it LITERALLY TAKES THAT LONG TO WASH DISHES BY HAND. Why do people waste their time on this? Seriously? Do you just hate your family that much, that you would rather spend all day at the sink? After dinner I want to sit and enjoy my family, not stand at the sink and watch them enjoy each other. I kid, I know you guys love your family. But also we’d rather you sit with us than stand at the sink and wash dishes, and to be fair NO ONE wants to stand at the sink and help you. But guilt prevails. (Looking at our mothers, sisters, and various family members here…)

I think it boils down to a generational thing. Most of the people I know who still do dishes by hand are a little suspect of “modern dishwashers,” and probably for good reason. I have seen pictures of those first dishwashers. They make me want to vomit just looking at them. But times have changed. Dishwashers really are badass now! And inexpensive. Not our dishwasher. Our dishwasher cost $1200. We have a $1200 dishwasher in our house. If I can’t trust a $1200 to do my dishes properly, to wash, rinse, sanitize, and dry, then what can I trust? But you don’t even need to spend a third of that on a good, solid, energy-efficient dishwasher to get your dishes better, more sanitized, and sparkling clean than you could ever do yourself. Here look:

Here’s One

And Here’s One

And Another One

These are all well within your stimulus check refunds, y’all! I know, I know, I won’t convince some of you. The “Machines are taking over!” My mother uses her dishwasher, to this day, as a drying rack. You know what I’ve been using as a drying rack? A towel on the counter. That’s not okay. It’s gross. But I refuse to spend any money on “washing dishes.” My dishwasher will come back to me soon. It will.

In the meantime, if you are still OBSESSED with washing dishes by hand (even though we have covered that it is very wrong, and should only be done when you absolutely need to) at least do this:

  • Use the hottest water you can stand (at least 110 degrees) and you have to keep it hot, when it starts to cool you have to add more water. See how impossible that is? You eventually run out of hot water… Consumer Reports recommends you use a small pot to do your dishes in, so you can keep the water hot, and the dishes from the gross bacteria that is ALWAYS in your sink.
  • For real, the kitchen is the grossest place in the house. Science says so. Not the bathroom, the kitchen.
  • NEVER leave the water just sitting there. Always use fresh, hot water whenever you do them. Water that has been sitting for about half an hour is too cold. Let alone water that sits all afternoon.
  • No sponges or old washcloths to wash dishes. You should have plastic or silicone brushes! Don’t use a sponge unless you know how to clean a sponge properly. Alert: You DO NOT know how to clean a sponge properly. Here, read this article from Time.
  • Wash the things that touch your mouth, and those that are the least soiled FIRST! That means (my husband will be upset to hear this) wash the silverware first, not last! Washing silverware last is how we get stomach “problems” among other things.

These are just a few tips. There are literally hundreds out there now. Basically the way we learned to wash dishes when we were kids is SUPER wrong and I think this falls under the “more you know” category. Or is it the “Know better, do better.” Yeah, one of those. A good place to start is the FDA requirements of commercial dishwashers and people who wash dishes in restaurants. I would hope you want your own dishes just as clean.

So there it is. Don’t be mad at me if you are “wash your own dishes” kinda person. We can still be friends. But listen, just know, that I probably won’t be helping you. I’ve already had my share of dishpan hands for the next few years…

Still love you.

M.

Doom Surfers

I recently learned a new term, Doom surfing. I first heard it out of context, a Zoom conversation with other writers, when someone said they felt like they were Doom Surfing and I thought, “Oh that must be what I do too!” Because I can tell you at any given point how many cases of Covid-19 we are facing in my county (539), state (6383), country (311,658), and in the world (1,216,422). These are the numbers at this moment, anyway, which was probably yesterday if you are reading this. I assumed that Doom surfing meant people who are always falling down rabbit holes of dread and doom, especially now, connected with the current pandemic. I was half right. Or sort of right. Or there are a couple of variations.

A couple days later I Googled “Doom Surfing” and came up with one of those variations. I saw the term used for people like me, sure, people who are obsessed with getting the up-to-date news on cases and deaths and CDC recommendations, which only serves to stop us from getting a good night’s sleep. But come on, four days ago I got an alert on my phone that said an 11-year-old boy died in the county I live in. The next day I got an alert that said that data was wrong. But in the precious 18 hours between those two news alerts I lost my shit. So I mean, sometimes the doom just comes, I don’t have to seek it out.

But this other variation on the term is a bit more, umm, how should I say this? It’s pretty fucking sad and scary. In Alexandra Wake’s article “Doom surfing and fact checkers prosper in Covid-19 infodemic,” Doom Surfers were likened to people who share Infowars articles to bait and scare people. Wake said, “There are the ‘doom surfers’ looking for anything about the virus to share; the self-appointed online moral enforcers who shame others for sometimes innocuous and other times problematic actions; the internet trolls who appear to find joy in spreading fear or provoking racism; and the comedians who can bring a laugh with a clever meme, song, or video, but, in some cases, may inadvertently cause further harm.”

This made me pause. I wasn’t this kind of Doom Surfer, if there are in fact kinds. At least I hope I’m not. I don’t think I’ve been sharing memes that could further harm. I mean, I’ve been laughing my ass off at Carole Baskin memes, but that feels like a different post. I do, however, know and am in some cases related to, people who do fit this description. People who share misinformation and say things like, “Jesus is the only way out of this. If you don’t believe you can’t be saved,” among other really cool things. (Sarcasm).

Then there is the infodemic we are living in. Infodemic is a term coined by the World Health Organization to express their frustration about getting correct information out to the masses in a time when so much misinformation is being spread. By who? Not WHO. You guessed it, the Doom Surfers.

So how can we stop them? Or us? Or all of it from bringing us down? Simple answer: We can’t. Well, we can’t really stop the other variation of Doom Surfers, but we can work on our own behavior like the way we respond (or don’t respond) to them, and how much time we spend getting sucked into the rabbit hole of hell.

Here are some things I have done in the last three weeks to help, maybe they can help you too:

  • Log off. That’s easier said than done, I know. But even in this craziness I am still trying to limit myself to 15 minutes a day on Facebook (Y’all know I’ve been doing that for months now) and it is really helping.
  • Log into new, different ways of connecting to people. Look for the cool concerts, free art exhibits, and other new and amazing things that are happening on the internet these days. Last Friday night Jerimiah, Jackson, and I joined some friends in Rhode Island via Zoom to watch an improv troupe perform. It was so much fun. You can check them out here: Bring Your Own Improv
  • Read, read, read (but not the internet, duh.) When quarantine hit I ordered three new books that I’ve been wanting to read from three of my favorite Indie book stores around the country. For real. I ordered one from Chicago, one from Kansas City, and one from Atlanta. Supporting small business and getting my read on, it’s kinda cool. But if you can’t do that right now, check with your local library, most of them have online books you can virtually check out and read on your phone or iPad now, and/or other free online libraries like Open Library where you can legit check out Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmade’s Tale” right now. Do it! There are also lots of Little Free Libraries all over the country now. You can find those registered near you at their website. There were seven in our neighborhood in Charlotte, we even helped build them! You just bring an old book from your shelf that you’ve already read, and stick it in there, then pick a new book from the shelf that you haven’t read. Super simple.
  • When you are scrolling, scrolling, scrolling and you find yourself confronted with one of those people, the other kind of Doom Surfers, scroll on past (if you can). Sometimes you can’t though. For me it’s a simple question: Is this person potentially harming someone with their misinformation? If they are, then you know I can’t scroll on past. I have to say something. I try to keep it short, tell them the nicest way possible they are giving wrong information and remind them to check their sources. I will often do that for them, and post a source with the correct information alongside my comment, then I tell them to DM me if they are confused or want to talk more. Trust me, no one fucking DMs.
  • Last, but certainly not least, go outside. This sort of goes along with logging off, and I know some of you are like, “Missy, girl, I am not an outside person.” And I get that. But desperate times call for desperate measures, ya dig? Try it. For me. Go sit on the deck in that chair you bought when you moved in and it still doesn’t have a butt imprint in it. Dust off the pollen first. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. If you have a dog cool, if not, call your local animal shelters, the ones who are desperately looking for people to foster right now, and ask how you can foster, or if you are not committed, ask how you can walk a dog everyday. Trust me, you can. They have them. The dogs that would love an hour-long walk outside with a human who will also pet them.
  • Watch good television. Or bad television. Binge watch “The Office,” again. “Tiger King”? If you just can’t do it, if you just can’t bring yourself to watch a documentary that you think is horrendous and crude (it is, but it’s also so much more) than may I suggest some others. HBO is offering free streaming for 30 days right now and there is a great documentary based on the “Serial” podcast from a few years ago about Adnan Syed. You know the one. There is also a documentary series on Netflix that I recommend about men and women in prison in New York who can attend college through the Bard College Prison Initiative. It’s by Ken Burns so you know it’s good. It’s titled, “College Behind Bars” and it will get you thinking about a ton of things. It will really combat those hours you gave to “The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia.” What’s that? You’ve never seen “W to the Fourth”? Then stop talking shit on “Tiger King.”

I hope some of this helps you. Some of this entertains you. Some of this inspires you. Most importantly, remember that Doom Surfing, as you and I do it, is sometimes inescapable. There’s nothing wrong with you if you are doing it. It’s human nature, actually, to want to know what is happening. And we are all anxious and scared and a little sad right now. That is the stone-cold truth. You are not alone in those feelings. But just make sure you aren’t the other kind of Doom Surfer, ya dig? Cause that’s bad news bears.

Take care of yourself. And be on the lookout for my “Tiger King” post, because obviously I have some shit to work through with that. Christ.

M.

Speaking of doom…

When in Doubt, Laugh It Out

I got an email from Delta yesterday, and I sucked in my breath because I have a flight scheduled for Friday morning, and I was like, “Shiiiit.” But it was cool. It was just telling me all the precautions they were taking in light of this here pandemic, and that they have a Command Station set up in Atlanta to combat any signs or symptoms of travelers. They didn’t tell me not to fly (that wouldn’t be a best business practice) but they did tell me that any and all change fees are waived right now, and that I can use my credits any other time if I do decide to cancel my flight. No harm, no foul. Thanks, Delta. But I’m flying out on Friday because my nephew is getting married on Saturday in Kansas City, and there’s just some things you don’t miss. But, I am a little nervous because Hartsfield-Jackson has had confirmed cases come through there, they are the busiest airport in all the land, and there are no instances of Covid-19 in KC, which means I may be bringing them gifts unbeknownst to them.

So, I’m anxious now. I wasn’t before, but now I am. I’m scared, and sad about all the deaths. I can’t imagine what China and Italy are going through right now, and I don’t want to know. I don’t want my fellow STUPID Americans (and our government) to muck this up and cause us to end up in bad shape, and worse yet, unable to help other countries who may desperately need our help. It’s bad enough that humans (and some dogs) are combatting this nasty virus, and dying from it, but why do we have to keep pretending like we don’t need to worry about it? We do. But… I deflect my emotions with humor. Which is what I’m fittin’ to do. And I get it, I know. You might find memes about a virus killing people repulsive. Then I’d just skip on down to the bottom where I fill you in on the important stuff. Cause these memes are all I have right now to keep me smiling. (Also, you’re probably not of my generation, and that is cool, it’s just that, well, we deal with things differently.)

Okay, we’ve had our fun, now let’s get real. Here is the most important site to keep updated in your browser:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC is still learning how Covid-19 spreads, but they know it is not airborne. Which means masks don’t help that much. If you just keep your distance (about six feet), don’t touch people, and wash your hands frequently you should be okay. It can spread through sneezing and coughing, but that doesn’t mean it just lives in the air. It means that an infected person, who may not know they are infected, can sneeze or cough and the droplets of their sneeze or cough can land near/on you and you can touch them, then touch your face, which is bad news bears.

The people actually showing the symptoms are the most contagious though. So think the sickest, the people in quarantine or those with really high fevers who just don’t look great, those are the people to stay away from. The rest of the people who have mild symptoms or are not exhibiting symptoms yet are least likely to infect others. Which is good, because if you’re still well enough to say, travel, then you are probably on the lower end of the contagion.

Community spreads are the most common as of now. That’s why whole provinces of China had it spread so easily. So it’s actually unlikely that I would bring the disease to KC, but you know, there’s a chance. It’s more likely that a student at a school gets sick, then the school has an outbreak. Which is why as I write this, the whole Fulton Country school district is out of school for the day. Fulton County is one of the Atlanta counties, and a teacher tested positive for Covid-19 this week, so everyone was out one day to clean the schools. It’s a process, y’all. And thankfully our backwoods-ass, horrible, pro-life governor is taking it seriously. You know, doing something good for once. Though to be fair, it’s the local officials who are handling things smoothly round here. And the big businesses like Delta. And thank the Baby Jesus for the CDC. Did I mention that? Cause if you’re still getting your news from our president, then, umm, I have no words for you. Stop. Just stop.

Okay, hope this helped in some way. It helped me laugh, cry, freak out, then laugh again. Stay safe out there, y’all.

M.

Here’s a great, short video on Coronavirus, how it spread, and how we can help stop it.

Novel Covid-19

Listen, I’m not usually one to worry about pandemics. I know this goes against all I have ever said about myself. I am a worrier. I have hella anxiety, particularly when it comes to my kid, but generally speaking, I don’t give much thought to like, the flu. We get flu shots every year, and Jesus I’m not here to debate whether or not you should. I mean, you should, but if you honestly believe that you didn’t get the flu because you didn’t get the shot, I can’t help you with that. Your problematic way of thinking is beyond my capacity. But, I am flying next Friday. In fact, the three of us are hauling ass (via the MARTA) in the early morn, and flying out of the busiest airport in the world, so I’ve been a little worried about this here Covid-19.

Like, what do I need to do? Face masks? Rubber gloves? Those Lisa Frank-looking windbreakers from the 80s that seemed to keep us safe from any and all harm? I don’t know if it’s because we live 20 miles from the CDC, but for the last week or so Jackson has been coming home from school with papers from DeKalb County regarding their escalating fear of the Coronavirus. Which makes sense, since our actual president just blamed our old president for the pandemic. Jesus. Someone has to take this seriously, and well, I guess the CDC is. But where does leave people like me?

There are confirmed cases in the ATL. In fact, the confirmed cases came through Hartsfield-Jackson. So when I looked at my husband last night and said, “Should we worry?” and he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Maybe,” that’s all it took. Cause he’s the logical one, y’all. Not me.

Now I’m worried. So is Jerimiah. And so is Jackson. In fact, Jackson has been worried since the beginning. He’s the most knowledgeable on the topic. It probably has something to do with the fact that his teacher’s wife works for the CDC. He’s the first person to refer to it as “Novel Covid-19” and explain to me, and a table full of our dinner guests, that we probably need to take it a bit more seriously than say, our federal government. My 11-year-old said the Coronavirus spreads like negativity, and it’s true.

So here’s my current plan: Buy some fresh hand sani, if there is any left at Target. Wear clothes we don’t mind burning if we need to. And make sure no one licks anything. It’s harder than you think with a kid. And I guess if we get Covid-19 on public transportation, or the plane, or the airport, well, then watch out Kansas City, cause we’re bringing it to you. And by the time you figure out that we brought it, we’ll be gone.

See you soon!

M.

Missy’s Low-carb Way

Jerimiah and I have been eating low carb for about twelve weeks now. I’ve lost twelve pounds in twelve weeks, which is exactly what the doctor wants (even though it seems painfully slow) and Jerimiah has lost, well, a lot more than me. Because life is unfair. But, we lost weight over the holidays and on vacation, so I’m calling that a win. But I’m struggling daily to find low-carb dinner ideas and when I Google, “Quick, low-carb meals” I get recipes that are 25 ingredients long and have 18-syllable names, like:

  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps on Garlic Zoodles
  • Pesto Chicken Roasted Red Pepper Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
  • Italian Tuna Green Bean Cauliflower Rice Fish Taco Bowls
  • Seared Salmon Watercress Potato Salad With Olive Dressing
  • Triple Cheese Cauliflower Crust Pizza w/ Blueberries & Fresh Greens

When all I really want is a recipe named, “Chicken and Broccoli” cause no one has time for this other shit. Well, I’m sure people have time for this other shit, but I don’t. And what I really lack is the patience for this other shit. I lack patience, y’all. Lack it a lot.

I also loathe grocery shopping. And gathering ingredients. And cooking the ingredients together to make a dinner. I loathe making dinner. I loathe cooking. I need a personal chef! Is that too much to ask?! According to my husband, yes. We don’t own a yacht with a private chef, so I’m screwed.

Now Jerimiah does enjoy cooking. More specifically, he enjoys finding the recipes, making the grocery list, doing the shopping, then coming home to the meals he picked out and created, fully cooked and assembled on his plate in a pleasing manner. It’s sort of like how he “doesn’t mind to do laundry” so on Saturday morning he will pile all the laundry into the laundry room, start a load, then on Monday morning I’ll walk in and be all, “What’s that smell?” Hint: It’s wet clothes that have been in the washer all weekend.

The point here is, he tries. He does. And I know he gets sick of the same old thing. I get sick of it too. Chicken and broccoli. Chicken and green beans. Chicken Caesar salad. Grilled chicken. Baked Chicken. You get my drift. We are stuck in a rut so I’ve been trying to find “Simple” or “Easy” or “Quick” low-carb meals for a while now, and have resorted to coming up with my own recipes and I’m sharing some now. No need to thank me, just use what you can, and leave what you aren’t willing to commit to.

  • Grilled Chicken, Just There, On a Plate: When your family looks at you with disgust turn the tables on them. Tell them this was your pet chicken that had been living in the backyard for several months. You’d kept her hidden so the dog wouldn’t eat her, and her name was Oprah Henfrey, and they should have a bit more respect for her because she was your best friend and actually once saved your life from a hawk attack. And now here she is, sacrificing her life so they may eat dinner. Now who’s disgusted?
  • Zucchini Pizza Bites: First you order a pizza from a really good, local pizza joint. Then you eat it yourself while everyone is gone that day. If you’re really trying to be good here, then give it to a neighbor, or just leave it out for the hawks that circle your backyard. But keep the box, that’s important. Then slice zucchini into bite-size pieces, put a blob of pizza sauce on it, add some small pepperoni, then a bit of cheese. Bake them at 325 for about however long it takes for you to be able to bite through the zucchini. Put them in the pizza box you wrestled away from the hawk. Put the pizza box on the table and when your family comes into the dining room for dinner yell, “Surpise! It’s pizza night!” They will be so excited! They will all rush over, sit down, flip the lid open and then sit in silence while they try to figure out what is happening. That’s when you remind those assholes you’re eating low carb and there’s no such thing as low-carb pizza. Then relay the hawk story to illustrate how you sacrificed for them. If you can work the ghost of Oprah Henfrey into the story, do it.
  • Stuffed Philly Cheesesteak Peppers: This one takes a bit of planning, but it’s cool cause you’re not busy on account of all the time you’ve saved cooking “Missy’s Low-carb Way.” First you buy tickets to a baseball game. Doesn’t have to be a major league game. We live in Atlanta so we can always snag some Braves tickets, but if you’re in say, Charlotte, going to a Knights’ game is just as fun. Secure the tickets. Tell the family. They will be stoked, they love baseball. The day of the game cook up skirt steak in Italian seasoning with onions and mushrooms. Jam the mixture into the peppers that you’ve already cut in half and lined on a pan. Is there music on? Say, “Hey Siri!” Say, “Hey Siri, play my Mumford and Such Playlist.” Make sure you have a “Mumford and Such” playlist. If not, 80s country music will work. Now cover each pepper with provolone, mozzarella, whatever white cheese you like. Bake the peppers at 325, for however long it takes you to bite through a pepper. When they are done let them cool, then wrap them in wax paper, then wrap that in that leftover Christmas-themed plastic wrap, then wrap that in tape. Stick them in the fridge. Now right before you head to the game, take all the peppers out and tape them to your body like you’re a cocaine mule crossing the border from Mexico. This is both as a means to get them into the stadium, and to warm them up for eating. Then head on over to the ball park. If your family asks why you’re walking funny, or why you smell like Italian seasoning, tell them there was a “hawk incident,” they won’t push. Really hype them up for the game! Be all like, “Oh man! I can’t wait for this game! You guys wanna eat some Philly Cheesesteak for dinner?!” They’ll be all, “Oh my goodness, yes! Great idea, Mommy!” You’re golden. A couple hours later into the game, the home team is winning, your husband is a couple beers in, your kid caught a fly ball, all is so cool, go ahead and tell them you’re gonna go grab those Philly Cheesesteaks. They are pumped! Go into the bathroom, rip those sumbitches off your body, oh man, they’re warm now, then grab a tray someone left sitting on top of a trash can and march those peppers back down to your family. You know what? Buy a Diet Coke for everyone to share. It’s a fun day! When you get back to the seats hand them the peppers, but don’t say a word. Don’t worry, they won’t either. Woooo, go team!

M.