Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pleasing gone awry....

It's true. I h ate to admit it. But, I want to appear practically perfect in every way to every one at all times. Maybe I should bring this up in therapy.

So, a few weeks back, I was in Atlanta with my two sisters. I was driving in the car with my oldest sister when she mentioned the dilemma she was having with her new GPS. It is one of those talking GPS devices that tell you in its best flight attendant voice when to turn and how to get where you are suppose to be going. The problem was that when she disobeyed the GPS to pull off for gas or a bathroom break, it would become very obstinate in a very vocal way. We were laughing about how it would insist she turn around and the guilt she was experiencing by not following its every command. As I recall her exact expression was, "I am trying to please an inanimate object."

So, I found my own pleasing gene coming out this last week. Remember the curb and the tire and the strut and the spindle and the big expense that came with it all. Well, I had a friend ask me last night, "Why didn't you just file an insurance claim?" Um...because I've never filed an insurance claim. In my close to two decades of driving, I have never filed a claim. I have received one ticket, but I went to traffic school so that my insurance record would never see it. In fact, my husband and I are the coveted customers of every car insurance company out there. I am sure there are executives out there right now that have had full meetings on how to get and keep customers of such caliber. And, for some unknown reason, I didn't want to ruin that. I wanted to please some entity. I didn't want to worry about mentioning an incident when I called to price my insurance. I liked telling the phone representatives that we are perfect in every way that matters to them. Don't try to understand it.

So, last night, I did the math and realized they would have to raise our premium by a whole lot for a very long time to justify me not making a claim on this - even with the $500 deductible. So, I called. And I made our very first car insurance claim. And the girl on the other end was very nice and the whole process was extremely easy. And, if all goes well, we should be getting a decent sized check in the mail soon.

Now, if I can just figure out how to use this new found assertiveness towards the pest control salesmen that troll our neighborhood....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Emergency Fund

So, when you're good at math and that sort of thing, family finances come pretty easy. With my vast actuarial experience, I have created spreadsheets galore predicting our financial future under different scenarios and documenting our past. Its kind of a hobby for me, much like cross-stitching or gardening might be if I did either of those things.

I seemed to have run across a problem, though. While the "documenting our past" worksheets are doing a great job and their accuracy is amazing, those predicting the future ones have been failing miserably. Apparently my life, the universe and the stock market are unaware that I even have these spreadsheets.

June has been one of those months when life hasn't quite matched up with the spreadsheets...and we are only half way through. Some of it has been intentional. The PMS-induced painting frenzy earlier this month was probably not a strict necessity. And, I probably should have included the Cub Scout day camp in the original numbers. Still, we might have recovered from these deviations without incident.

But, then the came the storm. I'm not alluding to anything here - it was an actual storm with wind and rain and lightning and flying tree branches, some of which apparently landed on the street. In fact, one in particular landed on the very street that my husband takes home from work. Now, for a little back story:

When my husband was a teenager, he had an incident in his father's T-bird involving a tree branch. At the time, the tree branch had looked innocent enough, but two blown tires later, he had a true understanding of the danger that tree branches on the street really hold.

So, back to the story. As my husband approached the tree branch, his gut screamed, "Don't hit the tree branch. Anything but the tree branch. You will pop your tires. Volvo tires are $300 a piece. Don't do it. Save the car." So, he swerved....and he didn't hit the tree branch. He hit the curb. Hard. And, guess what? Curbs can do bad things to tires too. And struts. And other parts I can't even remember the names of. But I do know one thing. This definitely wasn't in the June spreadsheet. It wasn't even within the realms of the wriggle room I leave in the spreadsheet. No manipulation of numbers was fixing this.

Then it occurred to me. This was an unexpected event requiring immediate attention - the very definition of an emergency. Wait! I have a spreadsheet for that! And, somehow, out of this disaster, I felt a sense of calm and satisfaction. Because, there was a budget for this very thing - the emergency fund. Now, let's just hope that July and August go well. After all, I don't have another emergency of this magnitude in the budget until at least September.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Alliterative Weekend

Last weekend I was in Atlanta visiting with family and my little sister informed me that I had been a major slacker in the blog arena. I had no choice but to agree and to promise future blog posts. So, here is my first attempt in six months at chronicling my fascinating and blog-worthy life.

The kids got out of school on Thursday and, so far, this weekend seems to have taken on a theme. Experiences that would seemly be tied in no other way all have a commonality and, being a math person who is constantly trying to make order of the universe - this was quite calming to my sensibilities.

So, today started the third paleo challenge at my gym. Don't worry, I'm not going to subject you to day after day of menus and caveman-like eating options. In fact, I didn't even officially sign up. I'm just going to try to do my best to follow it in the hopes that the ten pounds that I have gained since the last challenge will find a new home.

Then, on Friday afternoon, I decided that I had a great idea for a project. I was going to paint the kitchen. But, if you've seen my house, that pretty much means painting the entire downstairs. We have one of those "open" floor plans. Yes, the house is only 5 years old, but the builder put flat paint in my kitchen and I have three boys and a husband that likes to cook - need I say more. So, I headed to the Benjamin Moore store with a quest - eggshell paint of such quality that it would only take an amateur to apply it, but would have the stamina to withstand the rigors of 6 sticky hands for decades to come. After two trips and some blind faith in a twenty-something paint store employee to match my color, I came home with three completely overpriced gallons of the "Aura" line of paint and the promise that it will take my walls to a new level of snobbery.

This all would have been fine and well, except last night I started to feel a little pain in my general abdominal region. At first I thought a short trip to the powder room would remedy the situation, but then I realized that whatever was ailing me was not going to take the proper path. So, I vomited - several times. Nobody else in the family got sick and I seem to feel fine this morning - so I am wondering if I just got some mild food poisoning. This has delayed the painting some. Also....did anyone else realize how absolutely crazy it is to try and tape a kitchen to be painted. I'm only hoping that the actual painting of the kitchen is easier.

So, in short, this has been a paleo, painting, painful, possibly poisoned weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Paleo Challenge: The Last Week

So, the Paleo Challenge ended today. I didn't slip up even once during the four week trial, though my blogging efforts were not as diligent towards the end.

So, here are my thoughts on the Paleo diet. It was more expensive. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables (or even frozen for that matter) and meat and nuts is much more costly than eating macaroni and cheese or pb&j. It just is. I used to brag that Brig and I could live on $100 a month for food when we were first married. Not only was that a million years ago and food prices (and the size of our family) have gone up, but we eat better food now. So, if we continue with this diet, which we plan to do (with a few cheats each week), we will just need to increase the grocery portion of our budget accordingly.

Secondly, I have had more energy. I haven't had the dramatic bursts of energy that one has after a ice cream shake, but I have had more consistent energy. I do appreciate not having to deal with the lows that come after a carbohydrate induced high.

Thirdly, I did lose a little weight. Unlike my husband who lost a lot of weight and doesn't need to lose any at all, I only dropped a few pounds. Technically, I was at a completely normal weight to start with, so that wasn't the real goal of this, but, as a self-conscious female, I didn't mind this as a side-effect.

Fourthly, my gym performance did improve. I have never been an athlete and I will probably never be one no matter how many life adjustments I make, but I feel like I am doing the best that I can with what I have to work with.

Some other notes:

1. I really, really like sweet stuff and I don't think I could continue this diet indefinitely without cheats built in. Life is just too short.

2. The Chipotle we had today as an "it's over" celebration was absolutely heavenly. Unfortunately, my stomach was not used to being filled in such a matter and there was a little gastrointestinal rebellion to deal with later.

3. My boys are not that hip on the idea of mom and dad continuing the Paleo diet.

Anyway, that's it about the Paleo for now, though I may mention it in other blog posts further down the road. I now return you to your regular programming of boy stories and math follies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Paleo Challenge: Days #20 & #21

Well the challenge ends on Saturday. So, this was really the last full weekend that I had to make it through. On Saturday morning, I had an apple and some nuts and headed out the door to the gym. The WOD was:

With a Team of 4

As Many Reps As Possible in 20 Minutes:

Deadlift, for reps

Burpees, for reps


1. Only 2 persons working at one time

2. Score = combined total of reps for DL/Burpees

Our team managed a respectable 570 reps in 20 minutes. I wasn't as helpful as I would have liked to have been on the Burpees, but I did a respectable number of deadlifts at 95 lbs.

I went straight to the grocery store after that and found what are becoming the usual foods at our house. Lots of fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, and nuts. Then I headed home and had a peach, some carrots, and some turkey for lunch.

About 3:00, I had a banana and some pecans and then Brig and I went out for dinner last night. We decided that the safest option was a steakhouse. I had an 8 oz. Filet Mignon with steamed broccoli and a side salad, though I had to pick off the croutons. We spent the remainder of the night in my most favorite of places - a book store. And now, I have all new reading material to distract me through this last week of deprivation.

Sunday morning was busy as usual. I grabbed a banana and some pecans before heading off to church. Lunch was a little turkey, two peaches, some nuts and some fresh veges. Dinner was steak (again - don't tell), spaghetti squash and grilled sweet red onions. I also had a little apple cider with which I figure is okay since the only ingredient on the label was apples.

My evening snack was a pear and some pecans.

The kids have school off tomorrow which will make the day a little harder, but I am amazingly busy the rest of the week and I hope it flies by. I am really craving a Chipotle burrito with that lime-cilantro rice in it about now.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paleo Challenge: Days #18 & 19

Yesterday night I taught an evening class, which also meant that I took a day off from the gym. I had some roast beef and a banana for breakfast. Lunch was a salad with turkey, the last of the pecans, mushrooms, green pepper and a few tomatoes. I ate an apple at about two and then made a quick dinner of poached eggs and carrots before running off to teach. When I came home last night, I was ravenous. I ate two more poached eggs, an apple, some grapes, some almonds and a little more turkey. I'll let you decide what was a meal and what was a snack in there.

Today has been a little more calm, but unfortunately we are running low on food. I managed to grab an apple and some almonds before heading out the door to the gym. The WOD today was:

21-15-9 reps for time:



Ring Dips

I did every single pull-up without any assistance. This is huge for me as I usually resort to some sort of rubber band. I was also the only girl in the gym at the time that was doing the pull-ups without assistance, so that felt pretty good. Of course, the rest of the workout made up for it. We were suppose to use 65 lbs on our thrusters. I started with 65 lbs and about 3 thrusters in, I realized that was not going to happen - especially since the first round had 21 reps. I took off the ten pound weights on each end and just ended up on using the 45 # bar. I also had to use a rubber band (albeit a small one) to get through all of my ring dips. I think that I made the workout hard enough for me though, because I came home exhausted. It also took me 22 minutes to do which was one of the slower times posted today.

I came home and by the time I showered and went through Speech Therapy with Mike, it was time for lunch. His peanut butter and honey sandwich looked so good, especially since I had no idea what I was going to eat. I finally found a bag of vegetables in the freezer that I could steam in the microwave and a frozen chicken breast. I ate all 4 servings of the carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower while I waited for my chicken to cook. I have been so ravenous lately that serving size no longer applies as far as I'm concerned.

My afternoon snack was a few almonds on the way out the door to a primary function. Dinner was strawberries, almonds, and two poached eggs. My evening snack was some carrots.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Paleo Challenge: Day #17

Once again, I am running a day behind on blogging about my Paleo Challenge efforts. Yesterday morning was a rough morning in class and I think it wore me out for the whole day. I got up early and made a wonderful breakfast of poached eggs, carrots and an apple. I know it sounds like an interesting combination, but really, it was quite tasty.

Lunch was a salad with baby greens, mushrooms, carrots, and turkey. I also had about a fourth of a cup of almonds and some grapes on the side. I had a few more almonds and a banana as a snack before I headed out the door to the gym. The WOD for yesterday was:


500m Row

15 Pull-ups (work on kip)

Press PVC Skill work



1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1, find 1RM

*1 RM = 1 Rep Max

I was only able to get to 65 pounds before maxing out on my press. It is amazing to me how much more weight I can press when I am allowed the small dip before which constitutes a push-press. During the warm-up, I was able to do my pull-ups unassisted (no bands) in sets of 3.

I actually ate my second snack of almonds and some carrots right after the gym so that I could shower and take my son to a scout night at a bookstore. Then I came home to a late dinner of stuffed green peppers. My husband had put everything from mushrooms to eggs to carrots in with the ground beef, but no rice or breadcrumbs. They were very delicious. He did a great job.

I've only got just over a week more of this challenge. I will post all of my thoughts about how it went at the end, but as a quick interlude, I wanted to note that while I don't love the deprivation, I have loved the fact that my blood sugar isn't all over the place.