Intestinal Parasites, a SWAT Team & a Police Chopper: Just a Regular Tuesday Morning at my House.

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My morning started with intestinal parasites, a SWAT team at my door and a police chopper circling overhead. And a very annoyed FPL guy.

Let me back it up a bit.

The Parasites

The night before, my daughter alerted us to the fact that she had something tickling her butt. Upon further inspection, we discovered tiny little squirmy things in her poop. Yes. You read that right.

Turns out it’s pinworm. You can puke. I wanted to.

So I spent all night washing and disinfecting everything in the house before going to bed.

But when I woke up to pee, I couldn’t fall asleep again because I was stressing out about all kinds of important things.

Like the intestinal parasites that are likely lurking all over my room. And possibly festering inside me.

The Bikini Wax

I began to feel itchy “down there” so I decided to investigate. I was now lying there with my legs spread, using the flashlight on my phone to inspect my parts and I realized I was in desperate need of some landscaping. But should I shave, wax or laser?

And so for the next hour, I obsessed over and debated the merits of each. At least it took my mind off the worms.

All this to say I didn’t sleep much during the night and must have fallen into a very deep sleep because I was jarred awake by someone banging incessantly at my door.

The Nudity

Now, I sleep naked.

And while I normally have my “PJs” next to the bed, they weren’t there this morning because wormies.

So, half-asleep, I found something to throw on and answered the door. A man was telling me he needed me to let him into my yard to pick up trees. He was wearing a neon vest but I noticed there was no truck parked out front.

I came inside to put on something less rapey and some sneakers and to call my husband and ask if he had called to have our trees trimmed. He told me he hadn’t and not to let the guy in. I tried going back outside to ask him for credentials but it was too late. He had decided to let himself into my yard anyway.

The Popo

At that point, I realized he was actually just there to pick up trees. But it was too late.

When I called my husband back to let him know, he informed me he had called the cops. I begged him to cancel. This poor dude is out there, sweating his ass off, just trying to do his job.

And then, I heard the chopper.

There was another knock on the door. It was an officer with some kind of assault rifle at the ready. Closely followed by like 4 more units. And the police helicopter circling my house.

I wanted to die of embarrassment.

I tried to explain to the officers (who thought they were going to thwart a home invasion) that my husband had perhaps been a little overly cautious and that calling them was completely unnecessary while they lectured me about asking for credentials.

I am certain Miami Dade’s finest went back to the station and had a good laugh watching the body cam video of the “hysterical female” who called the cops on the poor FPL dude.

Moral of the story: When in doubt, don’t call your husband.

Note to self: Schedule a bikini wax. Stat.

How did your week start out? Let me know in the comments below!

Dear Daddy: Remembering My Father

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Five years ago today, I was at work. I was afraid of losing my job. But mainly, I was afraid of losing my father.

So I went to the office to distract myself from the latter while trying to prevent the former.

My friend told me to go. To spend as much time as possible with him.

As it turns out, I would end up losing both.

I went home to try and nap a little. I didn’t know how long he had left and I don’t do well on no sleep. But I couldn’t. I was terrified that by the time I got there it would be too late.

So I rushed to my parent’s house.

And waited.

And as I waited, I wrote a letter to him. A letter which I was blessed to have been able to read to him before he passed.

We watched my father take his last breath at 12:26 a.m. on August 4, 2012.

So as I remember him on this day, I wanted to share the letter I wrote him.

Dear Daddy:

My heart is breaking as I write this. Although you’ve been sick for some time and I’ve tried to mentally prepare for this day, I don’t think anything I could have done would have prepared me for the sorrow and emptiness I’m feeling. The hopelessness. The helplessness.

I vacillate between wanting to spend your last moments with you. Needing to be there when you pass. And needing to run away from myself. Wanting to crawl out of my skin. Away from this pain. And I know that’s selfish. Becuase you’re going to a better place. A place where you’ll no longer feel pain. Or be trapped in this body that has betrayed you for so long.

And it’s selfish because mom needs me to be strong. After caring for you for so long, she needs to be taken care of. Especially now that she’s losing her companion of 44 years. The ride wasn’t always smooth. But you stuck by each other. And no matter what, you were always there for us.

So as I sit by your side and see your life reduced to a few pictures strategically chosen to show you in your youth, with your wife, with your children, and your grandchildren that I count myself blessed to have had you be able to meet – I can’t help but be sad.

This is so final. I will never be able to see your face again. Or joke around with you. All I’ll have left of you are these pictures. And my memories. And the regret that we didn’t get a chance to make more.

I hope you know how very much you were loved. Are loved. And how very much you will be missed by all who were fortunate to have known you.

I love you, Daddy

5 Unmistakable Signs That You’re Not as Young as You Think You Are

jabba-the-hutt-portrait-tall.jpgI’ve never really felt my age. Or, if you talk to some people, acted it.

I often find myself marveling that somebody actually lets me be responsible for other living things. Like my children.

And that I don’t have to like get permission to go somewhere. I can just up and leave. It’s mind-boggling.

Plus, I’ve been lying about my age for so long that I honestly can’t remember how old I am without doing math.

But despite my best efforts and attitude towards aging (I refuse to go gentle into that good night), there are just some things I’ve been finding I can’t deny:

  1. It becomes increasingly difficult to successfully pull your hair up in a ponytail without revealing grays. Or bald spots. And speaking of hair…the strands on your head seem to begin a migration southward. Like to your upper lip, chin and neck.
  2. You no longer have a discernible chin. Whether because of weight gain or loss of skin elasticity, your chin seems to have morphed with your neck. You must take care to not allow profile shots. And never, under any circumstances, take a selfie from below unless you want to draw Jabba the Hutt comparisons.
  3. Weight gain. You just look at a doughnut and gain 10 pounds, which then take you 2 years to lose. When I was younger, I could just work out. Or stop eating bread. Now I have to do all of the things AND give up drinking. Life can be so cruel.
  4. You’re suddenly afraid to skate, ski or walk near puddles for fear of falling and breaking a hip. Not of scraping a knee or breaking an arm. No. Of breaking a hip. Seriously.
  5. Decline in mental acuity and vision. You finally locate your missing phone in the fridge. And you can’t see shit without holding it as far as possible from your face, widening your eyes in a lame attempt to bring things into focus and making a weird face, thereby exacerbating your whole Jabba situation. I never thought I’d need a selfie stick just to be able to read!

I like to tell myself that these are things people just don’t tell you about getting older. But the truth is, they probably did. You just didn’t listen because you thought, somehow, it would never happen to you.

So now that they’re happening, I thought I’d give anyone who’ll listen a heads up. Yes, you can work out and eliminate dairy and processed foods and drink gallons of kombucha. But sooner or later, you will succumb to these signs. And you’ll bitch about how nobody told you.

And then you’ll have to seek solace by reminding yourself that every day above ground is a good day. While you gather up tennis balls to affix to your walker.

Can you relate to any of these? Have any more you’d like to add? Let me know!

Don’t Murder the Children

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This is something I’ve found myself having to repeat often over the last couple weeks.

Because as one of my fellow Toastmasters likes to remind us, we are all just one bad decision from incarceration. He knows. He works at the local correctional facility where he runs a Toastmasters group for the prisoners.

Now, I’ve never been to jail. But I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t like it. On the count of I like to pee on my own schedule. And I’m just not that interested in women…romantically. So there’s that.

But, I digress.

So, my children finished school and started summer vacation two weeks ago. It’s been the longest 14 days, 3 hours, 15 minutes and 46 seconds of my life.

Because, you see, my children are not going to summer camp. And I work from home. It goes without saying that things have been quite….challenging around here. For all parties involved: me, the kids. And their dad.

It’s really difficult to do research, be creative and write when you’re constantly being called upon to do stuff. I know this may come as somewhat of a shock to some of you, but children like to be entertained. And fed.

They’re needy that way.

I mean, I love my kids. They’re super duper awesome. But as I told someone who suggested I just take them with me when I need to go somewhere, my kids are like adorable little bulls in a china shop.

Last week, my internet was acting up so I took them with me to the corner coffee shop. Not only did I get nothing done, we are now banned from Starbucks.

I also haven’t spoken to a grownup for 2 weeks. And yesterday, I found myself singing the theme song for the Thundermans. Every freaking word.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been easy for them, either. They’re bored out of their skulls.

So they fight. A lot.

There’s a lot of screaming and bloodcurdling screeches going on. And a lot of demands to be fed.

There’s only so much TV watching, iPad playing, blanket fort building and house destroying they can do before they’re at my side again, trying to make my head explode. And asking for food.

And every day, when their dad gets home, he gingerly tiptoes through the front door, half expecting to walk in on WWIII. Or else to find those little white chalk outlines on the ground.

He sends me these little texts every day, asking how my day is going. At first I thought, “aw, how sweet!” But now I realize he’s just trying to determine if he should call the cops. Or the nice men with the white coats.

Last night, he begged me to line up a summer camp for them, lest he find me in the fetal position in a corner one day, hugging my knees to my chest and rocking back and forth. Or he might have to come visit me in my padded room.

I think he’s legitimately concerned that one of us will end up dead. And he’s the only one with life insurance.

So, before I lose my whole mind and make one of those bad decisions that lands me in the Gavel Club, I think I’m going to take him up on his offer and find a fun camp for the kiddies so I don’t, in fact, end up murdering the children.

 

 

5 Depressing Signs That You Just Can’t Party Like You Used To

1. You Think There’s Such a Thing as Too Many Rum-Filled Coconuts

I went to a birthday bash on Saturday and stayed out way past my bedtime. I also stood and danced on 5-inch heels for way too long. And also, I may or may not have consumed a few too many glasses of wine and/or sipped on one too many giant coconuts filled with coconut water. Oh, yeah…and maybe, what tasted to be, about a full bottle of rum.

2. You Used To Be Able to Party Like a Rockstar. On a Weeknight. But Now It Takes You Two Days To Recover

I’m ashamed to say that it took me 2 days to recover. And I’m still not feeling 100%.

I wanted to cut off my feet and walk around on my stumps. It would have also been swell if I could somehow have temporarily removed my pounding head.

There was a time, apparently a lot longer ago than I care to admit, that I used to be able to go out. Every night. Even on school nights. Sometimes, I didn’t even make it home. I’d borrow clothes from a friend and head in to work, put in a full day and repeat the process.

3. 8:00 PM Signifies Bedtime. Not Party Time.

Now, I strongly debate whether I even want to go out at all. I mean, the thought of having to get ready to go out at a time when I’m normally getting ready for bed is almost too much to bear.

4. You Used all the Energy you Had for Getting Ready and you Wind Up Staying In

There have been times when I’ve actually gotten all dressed, blow dried my hair and been fully made up and then mere thought of the consequences of going out have convinced me to say, “fuck it. It’s just not worth it.” And I’ve promptly changed into by comfy PJs, washed off the warpaint and put my hair up in a messy pony. It happens often, actually. True story.

5. The Hassle of Having to Find Childcare and Then Having to Pay the Price the Next Day Usually Dissuades you From Attending Functions

Then I have to think about child care. If we take the kids somewhere and we stay out late, it’s not like I’m going to show up at someone’s house at 2:00 am. So the kids end up “sleeping” over my at my mom’s/sis’s.

The thing is, they don’t actually sleep. They go to bed super late and then wake up at some ungodly hour. Which means they’re going to be psychotic and whiny lunatics the next day. Combine that with mommy and daddy’s lack of sleep and disproportionate hangovers, and you have a recipe for disaster. A veritable powder keg, if you will.

But Being a Growed Up Ain’t All Bad

Although this revelation may sound a little disheartening to some, I’m beginning to make my peace with it. Partying until all hours of the night was fun when I was younger. And don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun. But only on special occasions. When I can build in recovery cushions of at least a day.

Most nights, I’m content to just make dinner for my family, sit around the table and talk about our day (or be forced to watch some episode of iCarly or Henry Danger or the Thundermans for the ten thousandth time) and then snuggle up all together in my bed and read Harry Potter to the littles until they fall asleep.

So, even though I can’t party like I used to, I’m ok with it.

But there is a bright side to having stayed up past midnight: I already had 2,700 steps on my Fitbit when I woke up the next morning!

Can you hang like you used to? Do you even want to? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!

The Power of Now: When Your Rate of Book Purchasing Far Exceeds Your Rate of Reading

The Power of Now

I’ve had this book for some time. So long, in fact, that I don’t remember if I bought if for myself or if it was a gift.

Anyway, I hadn’t read it. Actually, that’s not really news since I have about a hundred other books that I’m embarrassed to admit I also haven’t read.

But something about this one — perhaps the title — had me feeling incredibly guilty about not having read it.

So I started to read it. And quickly realized I had already started to read it at some point previously because the pages were dogeared and some of the stuff was sounding familiar.

It was at that moment it dawned on me I had a problem. I mean, if I couldn’t finish a book about the power of now, what hope was there for me?

I decided I had to finish it. So I read. And I read. And then I stopped reading. And forgot about it. Until I stumbled upon it again.

This time, I was even more astonished at far I had previously gotten but how little I remembered. So I started again with a fierce determination to finish it. For real this time. If for nothing else so that it would stop taunting me.

I am happy to report that I finally finished the book. If you quizzed me about it in any detail, I would most likely fail. But I think I got the gist.

“The book is intended to be a guide for day-to-day living and stresses the importance of living in the present moment and avoiding thoughts of the past or future.”

And in that regard, I can honestly say that it has made me more aware of how often I engage in rehashing the past or worrying about the future. And it has encouraged me to practice mindfulness more often. So for that, I am grateful I got through it.

And, I would also recommend it. Although it’s probably most helpful if you read it over the course of a few days, and not a few years as I did. Kinda helps it make more sense and also aids in putting into practice the ideas Eckhart Tolle so brilliantly puts forth.

Now if only I could get to the hundreds of other books in my library. Or the list of a hundred others I want to buy but have had to restrain myself from purchasing on the count of I can’t justify spending another penny on another book that doesn’t fit on my shelf or that’s taking up space on my iPad.

Do you have a book-buying problem? Leave a comment below!

When You Feel Too Much

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This morning, my husband called to tell me that the father of two boys, each in one of my two youngest children’s classes, was killed in a car accident this past weekend.

I have been a mess ever since. As soon as he told me, I felt nauseous. And then, the tears came. I can’t stop thinking about how his wife must feel. And how, how do you tell a 9- and 6-year-old that they will never see their daddy again? I am overcome with sadness and despair, even though I never met the man. Or perhaps I did – in passing, or at one of the events at school.

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter because I am feeling his loss on a very deep level. I have always experienced loss this way. Even when I wasn’t directly affected.

When John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s plane had crashed into the ocean, I watched and hoped that somehow, he’d be found alive. I was in denial that he could be gone. I mourned for him. So much so, that I developed a stiff neck that rendered me incapable of driving or sleeping, requiring me to seek medical attention to alleviate the pain.

And it’s not just grief that I feel deeply. It’s also joy. When something good happens to someone, I’m elated. I get butterflies in my stomach and tears of joy well up in my eyes.

It is perhaps because of these deep feelings that I’ve found people feel strangely comfortable sharing very personal stories with me. Virtual strangers will pour their souls out to me. Grown men I’m not very close with have choked up and cried sharing details they may be too embarrassed or proud to share with others.

I read an article recently about how people can tell when they’re in the presence of an empath and it resonated so deeply.

It finally gave a name to what I’ve always considered my proclivity for being “too sensitive.”

 

 

One of the 15 “traits” listed in the article is about how negative media images profoundly affect an empath. I stopped watching the news a long time ago. Because I don’t get desensitized. I get hyper-sensitized.  The article describes feeling overwhelming sadness and suffering every single time you saw something violent or upsetting on the news. That’s exactly how I felt every time I see something negative.

I have also always hated crowded places. I attributed it to be being claustrophobic but now I see that it’s more than that. It’s overwhelming and exhausting to be in the midst of and absorbing the sheer force of all those energies and feelings. I also detest loud sounds and too much noise. I absolutely require a lot of quiet time. When I’m home alone, I don’t ever even turn on the television. All that din makes me crazy.

 

The article went on to address how empaths are sensitive to stimulants and medications. I can only have one cup of coffee in the morning before I start feeling jittery and anxious. I NEVER take medications unless absolutely necessary. This includes aspirin. I suffer from allergies but would rather deal with the allergy symptoms than the wired, head-cloud I’ve felt when I tried allergy meds. Same thing with colds. I’d rather consume honey for a sore throat and up my vitamin c intake than ingest any cold medicines.

 

Empaths also tend to feel tired and fatigued often because we absorb so many emotional drains. And we are easily distracted due to a heightened sensitivity to our surroundings.

Finally having a “label” for my empathic nature won’t change how I feel things, but at least it’s made me aware of why.

And it’s helped me to recognize when I’m having these feelings and the thoughts that trigger them, so I can stop and take some deep breaths, allowing me to observe my thoughts without judgement. 

In this way, I can give myself permission to notice and feel what I’m feeling, And then I can choose to let them go. Now, I haven’t mastered this by any means. And I’m not sure that I ever will. I think it’s an ongoing practice. But one that I feel is instrumental in allowing me to cope with challenging situations.

Do you feel deeply or know someone who does? What strategies do you use for coping? Please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

The Cuban Beach Invasion and the Best Tent Ever

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I love going to the beach.

But growing up Cuban, we never just went to the beach. Even though I grew up in Miami, where beaches abound and it usually doesn’t take longer than 20 minutes to get to one, going to the beach was a huge production.

You see, it took a great deal of preparation to go to the beach. We couldn’t just wake up on a gorgeous day and decide to go. No.

We would first have to go in advance to Sedanos, the Cuban grocery store, and load up on all the essentials. You know, like bread crumbs and a block of meat and Cuban bread and some other little tiny buns and some orange pasty crap my husband says is deviled ham. (This is a shocker to me. I’ve never thought to find out or ask what the hell bocaditos are comprised of. Who knew??)

Anyway, we’d buy cartloads full of stuff like that. Enough rations to feed a small army. And then we’d spend the entire day before our planned outing helping my grandmother put the block of meat (ham hock, apparently) into this grinder contraption and fight over which kid got to turn the crank and churn out the wormy-looking meat.

Meat GrinderSuper gross, really. But I guess at the time we thought it was the coolest thing ever. But what really mattered was that somehow that disgusting worm meat ended up as the best fucking croquetas I’ve ever had the pleasure of inserting into my mouth.

My grandma would slave away in the kitchen making the sandwiches and the croquettes and we’d sleep over so we could get an obscenely early start the next morning. After loading up the car with all the towels and blankets and chairs and prepared foods and coolers full of Jupiña and Materva, the rest of us would try to squeeze into whatever room remained in the car.

Revolving SharkWe’d drive what seemed like hours (again, it’s not more than 20 minutes from where we lived) to El Farito, what the Cubans lovingly called the beach where the lighthouse stands on Bill Baggs State Park. We’d get super giddy when we got to the spinning sharks that signaled we were close.

We’d emerge, 20 or so Cubans, from a wood-paneled station wagon, loaded down like pack mules, for our day at the beach. We’d swim and play and stuff our faces. And when it was time to leave, my grandma always insisted on having us submerge our sandy little bodies in the freezing cold shower thingie and would force us to bathe with the soap she had brought along and then hold up towels to block us from view as we peeled off our wet (and now clean) bathings suits and put on a dry change of clothes.

Unfortunately, this set a somewhat cumbersome precedent. Because, as you can imagine, I can’t just go to the beach.

Even now, a beach outing takes preparation. And although I don’t grind my own croquettes, no trip to the beach is complete without them. Or sandwiches. Or sand toys. Or balls for varying sports. Or towels and a change of clothes. And granted, the Jupiñas have been replaced by wine and beer and Fireball. But still, it requires taking along a cooler.

We stupidly used to also take an umbrella. But after years of struggling to keep the damn thing from tipping over or flying off dangerously into the path of innocent bystander, we finally stumbled upon this. The greatest invention of all time.

This tent has made going to the beach even more awesome. As if that were possible. It weighs hardly anything and sets up in minutes. We are seriously the envy of our fellow beachgoers. It even has an additional panel that can be clipped on in a pinch when, say, it’s really windy. Or when an unexpected torrential downpour happens. As it did today.

So even though we got a little wet, we were able to weather the storm in our little tent. And wait out the traffic brought on by the mass exodus the little deluge brought about.

I can’t recommend this thing highly enough. Do yourself a favor and go out and get one. Stat. And meet me at the beach!

Do you have any traditions around going to the beach or any other place you frequent? Leave a comment below!

Adventures in Pole Dancing

Chicken Strip

I saw this little video today of a chicken stripping. I couldn’t stop laughing.

First, because it’s so stupid. But mainly, because it reminds me of my failed attempt at stripping.

Ok, I never actually stripped or intended to. I just wanted to take pole dancing lessons.

Ever since I watched a pole dancing championship competition video, I was mesmerized by what those women can do on those poles. They make it look effortless. But it wasn’t until I tried it myself, that I truly appreciated what incredible athletes they are.

I’ve always considered myself to be pretty strong and athletic. But I could not hold myself up on that pole. Like not even a little bit. And it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that attempting to do so resulted in my shoulder injury.

But, aside from the sheer physicality required to hoist myself up on the pole, what I found the most difficult was trying to be “sexy.”

The studio where I took the classes had several poles affixed to the ground and ceiling at varying intervals along the room. After encouraging us to bring heels to class, the instructor would dim the lights and have us do lengthy stretching exercises. Once we were nice and sore…er, I mean warm, the heels came on and we were guided to approach the pole with abandon and be slinky and sexy.

All I could muster was nervous laughter. And dirty looks from the divas surrounding me. I just couldn’t do it.

So when I saw the chicken strip, I was hilariously reminded of my failed attempt at both being seductive and of climbing the pole.

Have you ever tried pole dancing classes? What was your experience? Leave a comment below!

Today, I Ate All of the Food

Like all of it.

I finally got 2 bacon doughnuts yesterday. And a pistachio one. Ate them all.

I had gotten some pita chips from Whole Foods. You know, the ones that are like crack? Yep. Polished off whatever the hubby and kids hadn’t eaten. Even poured the crumbs into my mouth. Super classy.

There were like 5 teaspoons left of Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream. Ate that, too.

I had made some yogurt-based egg and avocado salad yesterday. Had two Cuban crackers smothered in it. Granted, they were the small crackers, but still.

And, of course, I made some thin chimichurri steaks with pearled couscous and veggies for dinner and I aced all of that as well.

The saddest part is that I’m still unsatisfied.

And although I couldn’t really work out today on the count of the injuries sustained during yesterday’s rollerblading fiasco, I did walk a few miles. But probably not nearly enough to burn off all the intake of calories.

Granted, I could have probably also stood to drink more water throughout the day. You know how they say that you’re probably more thirsty than you are hungry.

And they also say you should not give in to cravings right away. And that you should be mindful about what you put in your mouth.

So today, I mindfully put ALL. OF. THE. FOOD. into my pie hole.

And tomorrow, I will mindfully regret it all.

(And no, I’m not pregnant. But I am probably PMSing. So don’t piss me off by suggesting the former.)

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re just ravenous with seemingly no end in sight? Leave a comment below!