A review of my death as a way out of sorting girly undies

7 Oct

This is something from a long ago abandoned blog.

Today I’m reviewing my death as it relates to the end of sorting laundered socks, underwear and random female accessories.

If I’m in an elevated mood and a rogue “death” thought takes over my brain, my good mood is stomped on, punched in the mouth, spit on, and then tossed out the door like a sack of garbage.

A rogue thought can sneak in like this: one minute I’m staring into space thinking I’m hot shit (you know…cool) and the next minute an image of myself in a coffin flashes behind my eyes. Where did that come from? Contemplating the end of my own existence is a sure way to bring me back down to earth.

I think about my own death, on average, once a day. What will happen when I take my last breath? Will I “survive” my own death?

The hell if I know.

On the heels of the coffin image in my head, I can instantly bring myself back up (so I can be hot shit again) with the realization that, after I die, I will never have to dig through a big pile of socks and underwear trying to piece together this weekly puzzle.

Four baskets of clean clothes reduces down to one of just socks, underwear, and other random female accessories that I don’t understand (tiny scrunched up black things that I just toss into the box of American Girl doll clothes, belts that I thought were scarves, and head bands that, at first glance, I thought were underwear).

Nowadays, when I find scrunched up black garments that look way too small for human use, I know that I shouldn’t throw them into a toy box. That leads to Jennifer rampaging around the house–usually when we’re running late to get somewhere important–yelling things like why can I never find the girls’ tights? I know the damn things don’t just get up and walk away!

What the hell IS this?

After much delay, it’s time to suck it up and tackle that basket of hell. As the girls have aged, the size of their stuff gets harder to differentiate. Six years ago, it was easy to tell the difference between a diaper and a tiny pair of underwear. It was easy to pick out Ainsley’s socks (they looked like adult thumb covers). Her shirts really could fit a doll back then.

When I reach into the basket and find that I have pulled out one of my own items, I feel this slight jump of satisfaction in my belly (I’m feeling it now as I think about it). All of my socks are big and black. All of my underwear are boxer shorts. Nothing is pink. It’s simple. It’s a temporary break in this horrible, ugly work. I sometimes hold a big, black sock tight in my arms, close my eyes, and just take a couple of deep breaths, savoring the moment.

I don’t want to move on (it’s like setting a rose down just to reach into a bucket of snakes). I know that eventually I’ll pull something out, hold it up–what the hell is this?–look at the four piles I’ve made, and just sit there stumped and pissed off, because I don’t know where to put it.

Lately–and this is a very recent, very IMPORTANT discovery I’ve made–I immediately throw “unknowns” onto Jennifer’s dresser BEFORE I spend much time fretting. I mean, I’ve really turned a corner here, I think. She seems to know where all this stuff belongs anyway.

My death, on its own, would earn less than a full plum. Death, when seen as a way of escaping this evil chore, scores four plums on my scientific five point scale of review.


The Great Summer Peach Fail of 2013

27 Sep

On a hot Saturday morning in late July, my wife and I walked down to the local farmers market. We came upon a busy stand selling one thing: large, perfectly ripe, locally grown peaches. I slid in line and began to study the options. How many peaches were we able to haul home without a car?

The options and prices were confusing: a peck, a half peck, a bushel?

Five dollars for a half peck, that’s like, two big peaches. Isn’t that kind of high? How much more are we willing to pay for local peaches?

To make things worse, we had brought our puppy who was attracting attention. Every kid in the city was petting her and she was acting a bit flustered, as was I.

A Peckel of bushes? A Bush full of peckers?

Then I spotted a large box of slightly inferior peaches under the table. Written on the box: Seconds, $10. My bargain radar–my bardar–went off. At “above table” prices this big box would cost forty bucks. I squatted and inspected a couple.

Hmm, minimal squishyness. A young girl behind the table noticed and said the peaches were not rotten or anything, just bruised or otherwise inferior to the peaches above the table.

I threw down my ten triumphantly. Ha suckers! I wondered why all these people ignored the Bargain Of The Day. I knew I could cut ’em up and freeze most of it, and Jennifer said she could make peach preserves. In fact, she even mentioned she was excited about it. It’s going to be so good!

I imagined myself spreading deliciously sweet preserves on many slices of toast. And we’d have peach smoothies throughout the fall and into the winter.

Yes, life was good.

The heaviness of our bargain box combined with the brutal heat made the walk home uncomfortable. I arrived a sweaty mess, but I was riding a peach fuzz buzz so that made everything okay.

Immediately, I got to work slicing the peaches. I grabbed a small bowl to hold the icky spots, but it quickly proved too small. I replaced it with a larger one.

As I made my way down into the bowels of the box, my peach high was wearing off. I found entire peaches that couldn’t be saved, completely gooey and icky. Fruit flies zipped from the box and into my face. With each toss into the discard pile I imagined a meter like a speedometer with the needle moving incrementally from “bargain” to “rip-off.”

I despise rotten produce. Once in awhile, in a bag of spinach, I’ll find a slimy, black piece among all the nice looking, green leaves. I seriously have to suppress gagging. I have to beat back this urge to toss the whole freakin’ bag because it’s been contaminated by this rot. So, at this point, I’m hesitant about reaching into this big box of sketchy peaches.

And it’s not my nature to stomp down to the vendor demanding a refund. I can be assertive, but I knew the young lady thought the peaches were in decent shape. They were probably much firmer when they were placed into the box. And then maybe they sat there for a couple of days. Who knows.

Anyway, I put some in the refrigerator, some in the freezer, and I took two miserable trips to the compost pile for a wet peach dump.

Jennifer took what she needed for the preserves, and later I found it simmering on the stove. Let me say here that I don’t know a thing about making preserves. I didn’t even know it involved heat.

Before I poke fun of her, I have to admit that I also abandon ideas and put off projects. In June I wrote about ripping the dryer apart, finding the broken part, and ordering a replacement. I still haven’t fixed it. We have a replacement part for our dishwasher that I have not installed, so I’m still washing dishes by hand.

I’m not here to make fun of myself, so let’s get back to the brown peach stew on the stove that would soon be preserves. Later in the day I noticed it had been transferred to the fridge.

Let me remind you that this was late July.

It hasn’t been touched since.


Though I look at it every day, I haven’t said a word about it to Jennifer. Normally, I’d be all sarcastic like “Are you saving that for NEXT summer?” I’m afraid to open it. But even if I could muster the courage, I’m kind of curious to see how long it stays there. Heck, maybe it’s supposed to age like wine. As I said, I’m clueless.

If you add up what we tossed into the yard with what we wasted for the preserves, the bargain box of second-rate peaches turned out to be a disaster, a totally shitty deal.

If you didn’t think it could get any worse, the frozen peach chunks are so stuck together that it takes a chainsaw to dislodge enough for a small smoothie. I’m almost certain I’ll lose a finger this fall screwing with the massive peach iceberg.

Peach season next year I’m staying above the table.

The End of Seven Days + The Saddest Pancake You’ve Ever Seen

25 Sep

Day 6 – Sunday, Sept. 22

  • Steps Taken: 15,773
  • Calories Consumed:  Around 1,800
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  0
  • Total Weight Change: .6

Day 7 – Monday, Sept. 23

  • Steps Taken: 12,444
  • Calories Consumed:  1,600 to 1,700?
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  0
  • Total Weight Change: .6

My 7 Day Challenge was not a total success. I didn’t hit 15,000 steps on Monday for the first time and over the weekend I didn’t track my eating as closely as I had planned. Also, I didn’t lose those three pounds. I was probably overoptimistic about that anyway.

Yesterday, instead of continuing this experiment, I failed to wear my pedometer and didn’t track calories. Let’s call it a buffer day before I begin anew today.

* * *

In other news . . .

Early Sunday morning Chloe finished off Ainsley’s “birthday” box of cereal: cinnamon toast crunch. It was supposed to be Ainsley’s personal, special occasion, sugary treat except for whatever she decided to share. To avoid a meltdown, I decided to bake Ainsley a single serving cupcake without the streusel. It was supposed to be done in 13 minutes, but it was still gooey, so I freaked out and tried to make her a single serving pancake despite the recent meltdown of our electric range.

I could have given her the more healthful oatmeal or Ezekiel bread toast, but she surely would have marched down to Lincoln Middle School to beat the tar out of her sister. Cereal is a serious business in our house.

I attempted to make the pancake in the Instant Pot 6-in-1 Pressure Cooker. This beauty can cook beans in thirty minutes. It’s a rice cooker. It’s a slow cooker. It can steam. It can vacuum the floor. Sometimes I squeeze my little butt in it and drive to the market. But it’s not a shit for pancakes. I tried the sauté setting and of course that provided way too much heat. In half a second the batter was stuck to the bottom. So I had to treat it like a big piece of broccoli, continuously flipping and turning it. Take a look at the disaster that she happily ate with some maple syrup.



Day 4 & Day 5 Summaries – Party Bomb

22 Sep

Day 4 – Friday, Sept. 20

  • Steps Taken: 16,521
  • Calories Consumed:  Around 1,800
  • Morning Weight: 137.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  +2.2
  • Total Weight Change: -1.6

Day 5 – Saturday, Sept. 21

  • Steps Taken: 21,006
  • Calories Consumed:  1,800 (+ or – 100)
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Change:  +1
  • Total Weight Change: -.6

I saved a thousand calories for Friday night because I knew Dewey’s pizza was coming. But nothing good can come from consuming a thousand calories of pizza at seven o’clock in the evening–all the salt, sugar, gluten, etc. And then Saturday I quickly realized that measuring food was not an option. I wasn’t open for all the ridicule that would come from carrying my kitchen scale around. I guess that’s why my weight climbed from 135 to 138.2 in forty-eight hours. But even yesterday I demonstrated a respectable amount of moderation, consuming just a small piece of cake and opted out of the fire pit smore-fest once the sun descended.

Instead of this being a 7 Day thing, I’m going to extend it indefinitely until I reach a “permanent” weight of 135.

(Side note: There’s a girl in Panera who looks like Shelly Duvall of The Shining and Popeye fame. I can’t stop staring at her eating her souffle. It’s freaky. Wow, she really ate it quickly and left. Maybe she noticed me looking at her. But we never made eye contact, so I doubt that. I wish I would’ve stealthily snapped a photo.)


Day 3 Summary – Weekend Challenges Ahead

20 Sep

Day 3 – Thursday, Sept. 19

  • Steps Taken: 17,875
  • Calories Consumed:  1,694
  • Morning Weight: 135
  • 24 Hour Weight Loss:  1.2
  • Total Weight Loss: 3.8

Again, more of me has disappeared. Yesterday I wrote it off as random fluctuation, but when I eat my regular “unregulated” method of eating, my weight remains pretty steady from day to day or even creeps up. A dietitian might tell me I’m losing weight too fast. Everywhere you read, they (experts, I guess) recommend losing up to a pound a week. I’ve lost 3.8 pounds since Tuesday.

If you know anyone wanting to lose weight, I think religiously counting your calories and steps works better than any fad diet. After a period the tedious reporting–two weeks, a month?–you get the hang of how much you’re consuming and moving throughout the day and you can put away the kitchen scale and pedometer. I often revert to the food scale when I need “recalibrated.”

I might have scheduled this “challenge” at a bad time though. Today is my youngest daughter’s ninth birthday. That means parties. That means cake, ice cream, pizza–the usual madness. Tonight, five girls–all of whom love to scream in that vexatiously high pitched way only nine-years-olds can–are descending upon our abode for a sleepover. Pray for me.

Parties and morbific food, as, sadly, they go hand-in-hand, are killers for me. I dread parties. I’m anxious about all the people, so I stuff my face in a vain attempt at squelching those emotions. It’s quite unfair given that I I’m faced with anxiety when birthdays and similar events are near, festivities that are supposed to be fun and memorable. Frankly, I’d rather hang out in a hole and pop out for about ten of every sixty minutes, a “checking in” of sorts. And don’t throw cupcakes into my hole. I’d rather do without, thank you.

Yes, I’m a birthday party scrooge, but I try not to let it show to the girls. I’m there to smile, to snap pictures, to retrieve stuff when my wife requests something, but I’m secretly wishing for time alone with them where I can be myself, much more the clown (not the creepy kind), always wanting to play and be silly. That’s the guy very few people know.

Day 2 Summary – Brown, Chunky Breakfast Soup

19 Sep

Day 2 – Wednesday, Sept. 18

  • Steps Taken: 17,294
  • Calories Consumed:  1,800
  • Morning Weight: 136.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Loss:  2
  • Total Weight Loss: 2.6

The scale is saying I’ve lost 2.6 pounds in two days. According to this, one has to burn an extra 3,500 calories in a week to lose one pound. Obviously, my two day calorie deficit is nowhere near the 7,000 it would take to lose two pounds.

Here’s a good explanation about weight fluctuation, which is what’s going on.

The more important point after two days is that I feel better. Much better. I feel in control, which, obviously, is preferable to feeling out of control.

You might think I’m out of control when you read what I ate for breakfast this morning. In a large bowl, I mixed:


It turned into a brown soupy disaster with chunks of powder that refused to break down into the liquids despite my frenetic stirring. I gave up and just ate it. No sense spraining my wrist over it. And I liked it. Don’t believe me? Well, you didn’t see the smile on my face and the brown goo all around my lips. Here’s a blow by blow contest between my breakfast and a popular morning treat for thousands of people in any city that hosts a Krispy Kreme.

Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled donut

My Breakfast Super Soup vs. a Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Kreme Filled donut.

TASTE: NO, I’m not going to lie and say that my concoction tastes better than a donut.

  • Breakfast Soup: Okay
  • Krispy Kreme Donut: Amazing        Advantage: Donut


  • Breakfast Soup: 354
  • Krispy Kreme Donut: 360        Advantage: Tie


  • Breakfast Soup: 11.2 grams
  • Krispy Kreme Donut: 3 grams     Advantage: Breakfast Soup


  • Breakfast soup: 16.9 grams
  • Krispy Kreme Donut: 1 grams     Advantage: Breakfast Soup


  • Breakfast soup: 0 grams
  • Krispy Kreme Donut: 6 grams      Advantage: Breakfast Soup

I could go on, but it’s pretty clear that my Breakfast Soup beats the sugary corduroy pants off the Krispy Kreme donut on all nutritional contests. But here’s why most humans in the U.S.A. are overweight: The Krispy Kreme donut is a goddam pleasure to eat–like ten minutes of heaven–and food discipline is just not something we’re good at. Discipline is hard, but that’s what I’m working on this week.

But the bottom line is if you eat healthful foods consistently you’re going to feel better, look better, and live longer than the person who consistently eats junk.

It’s 10:36 on Wednesday and I have 4,876 steps and 447.8 calories. A good start to Day 3.

Day 1 Summary – Success & Pizza Temperance

18 Sep

As I wrote about yesterday, I’m throttling my unwanted gluttonous streak for seven days by counting calories and eating mindfully, as well as pushing myself to score 15,000 on my ever-present pedometer.

Day 1 – Tuesday, Sept. 17

  • Steps Taken: 16,418
  • Calories consumed:  1,782
  • Morning Weight: 138.2
  • 24 Hour Weight Loss:  .6

I’ve read that it’s pointless to compare one day’s weight to the next, but to focus instead on week to week tallies. Nevertheless, I’m going to post my weight daily. Stepping on the scale is the first thing I do each morning. Our scale is upstairs in that unnecessarily large area between the three bedrooms, a closet, and the bathroom. I know there’s a name for this spot, but I can’t think of it. I tend to call it wasted space.

A curious reader asked why this is a seven day thing and not, like, a month.

Well, curious reader, it’s because I want to WIN at this game. A month would be tough. If, instead of referring to this as a “challenge,” I said “Man I wish I could do blah, blah, blah for a month,” I’d probably fail miserably. But as it is, I set the goal and I’m gonna do my best to reach it. If it goes well and I get my ass back into a healthy groove, I’ll do it again or add something to it, like a daily run of at least two miles. We’ll see. 

The Great Temptress, PIZZA, almost screwed me over on Day One. I needed something quick and easy, and we had an Amy’s “no cheese” Roasted Vegetable pizza in the freezer for Jennifer and I and a cheese and veggie pizza for the girls. I had only 300 calories to spare after eating the biggest salad EVER in the history of Earth, so I devoured a third of the vegan pizza and let Jennifer have the rest, which made her extremely happy. The entire pizza topped out at 840 calories. On a normal day I could eat the entire thing.

The real problem came when I pulled the cheese pizza from the toaster oven. I fought back the urge to eat a piece, because that would have turned into two and then three and possibly four. That moment when I resisted, when I put the stupid pizza down, exemplifies why I’m doing this: to pressure some goddam self-control.