Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wretched Cats

You may remember how I gushed about my cats in the post entitled Annabelle and Payton.

Well, I'm not gushing today. I'm actually considering finding a 12-gauge shotgun to rid my life of the prolific poopers who defiled my basement.

For several months, I've noticed the faint smell of cat litter - "and then some" - wafting throughout our house. Most people either didn't notice it or politely insisted that they didn't when they actually did and then decided to never visit our house again. No matter how often we scooped the cat box and replaced the litter and sprinkled it with deodorizer and sprayed liberal amounts of Lysol Neutra-Air, the smell lingered.

Situation unacceptable.

"Luckily" (I think), my daughter and her buddy recently discovered the gruesome truth: the cats had found an alternate outhouse under the basement stairs. This is in a small room that houses the furnace. However, there is a small piece of drywall cutaway for access to the furnace from the outside of the room - this is where the kitties found their entrance.

I asked my husband to address the mess while I started dinner - partly because I'm allergic to dust and pet dander, and partly because I didn't want the disgusting job of chipping up dried cat poo.

My poor, poor husband then faced a grisly mess that he could only describe as a "ball pit". We had conveniently forgotten (for a day or two) that the smell of such things embeds itself into anything and everything, even after the initial clean up. So, even though the visible mess is cleaned up, we now embark on the formidable task of erasing the cat odor. Since the incident (or many, many, many incidents, I should say) took place in the furnace room, the smell does indeed pervade the entire house.

Today's task is to clean the basement floor - repeatedly - the goal being to get enough ammonia out of the concrete so that we don't asphyxiate ourselves when we bleach the heck out of the floor.

Wish me luck. And remind me again why I love my cats so much.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mirror Image

You know how they say that people look in the mirror and think they are fatter than they really are?

Well, not me, apparently.

I mean, I know I'm not slim by any means. I know that I could stand to lose a good amount of weight (never mind how much). But I tend to think I carry it well.

Here is evidence to the contrary: when I put on this outfit for my nephew's graduation party, I thought it looked decent. I thought it looked light and summery and that it managed to cover up my flaws in a fairly efficient fashion.

Instead I look like the Great Pumpkin.

Unfortunately I didn't notice this until after the party and after all the pictures were taken. And I can't exactly delete the pictures of my awesome God-son's graduation bash.

But, dang. I thought I was going to be his cool, hip Auntie Jenny.

Instead, I'm his great aunt Marge in a muumuu.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diet vs. Diet

My kids have been asking me lately, "What does 'diet' mean?" In an attempt to steer clear of the connotation associated with the multi-million dollar weight loss industry, I say something along the lines of, "A diet is what kinds of food you eat. For example, a bear typically has a diet of berries, fish, or other meat." To which they respond, "NO! What does it mean to be on a diet?"

Why the heck are they asking me this? For all my concerns about weight, exercise, and healthy eating, I don't think that I have uttered the phrase "on a diet" since high school. Or college, maybe.

I have tried - with some success - to change my family's eating habits for good. I set my feet squarely in the camp with people who say that there is no such thing as a diet - it has to be a lifestyle change. However, I sometimes still try to get that quick weight loss by following a more stringent diet plan. I usually end up going back to the Fat Resistance Diet, which is founded on a philosophy that I understand and agree with. But the truth is that I really don't like the food. So, why is it that, not only do I have to deny myself the stuff that I love (like Frosties from Wendy's, which I had just last night), and then force myself to eat stuff that I hate?

Here's a snapshot of the Fat Resistance Diet:

Breakfast: Smoked Salmon Frittata, Slim Chai Tea, decaf coffee with skim milk, fresh orange

Fish for breakfast? Not a chance. Not even when I was living in the Philippines was I forced to eat fish for breakfast!

Slim Chai Tea: This is green tea with cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves.

I hate tea.

I mean, I really despise tea. (Please don't tell my mother-in-law - she's British.) I have politely tried to like it, but to no avail. I am a coffee drinker, through and through. Forcing myself to drink tea is like forcing a hockey player to compete in a figure skating competition. (Yes, I know this was done in the movie "The Cutting Edge", but I'm talking reality here.)

And then, the coup de grace: decaf coffee with skim milk. Might as well substitute the swill from my garbage disposal for as much enjoyment as I'd get from that. It would be like going to my favorite restaurant, ordering Prime Rib, and being served a single McDonald's chicken nugget. Yeah, it's that bad.

But I don't want to be inflexible. I could probably cut my coffee intake a bit, and possibly switch to fat free 1/2 & 1/2. I can eat a frittata for breakfast with lots of veggies. And I've gleaned some great things from the Fat Resistance Diet - even my children like the smoothies made with plain yogurt, blueberries, protein powder and flax seed.

I think it's a matter of adding the foods we like (or at least foods we can tolerate and hopefully learn to love), and finding healthier alternatives to what we already eat. The best part is that my husband is finally on board - it was he who suggested that we have salads every night and vary them throughout the week.

But I will never learn to like tea.