My Weight Loss Support System

Posted by Kathy on December 30th, 2013

chocolate santaMany of you know I’m on a weight loss journey and anyone else who’s been there knows that it helps to have a good support system.

My husband Dave sees how hard I’ve been working, watching calories and doing cardio every single day at 5AM.

Once in a while I have a craving for something sweet, sickening sweet.

But my support system of a husband was having none of it.

Tonight when he went to the store, I asked for “a Santa, a solid chocolate Santa, just one. They probably have leftover discounted stuff.”

He came home Santa-less.

He said “They didn’t have any Santas. Just Valentine candy and you didn’t say Valentine candy.”

I wanted to both hug him and punch him in the face.

It’s Like Winning a Nobel Prize, an Academy Award and the Lottery

Posted by Kathy on December 7th, 2013

sexy jeansThat first ten pounds.

I recently began a mission, a serious one this time, to lose 25% of my current weight and I’m on track to do it by spring.

How am I doing it? Simple. Somewhere between 1,200-1,400 calories of “clean” food a day, cardio 30 minutes daily and walking 10 miles a week.

I’ve lost 10 lbs so far in five weeks. Slow and steady, good momentum, highly motivated, feeling happy. I’ll get there.

Today was a very good day, since I was able to drop one size in my jeans. Any woman will tell you this is an exciting milestone moment. Like finding a bathing suit that doesn’t make you look like a sausage squeezed into its casing.

I jumped for joy, showered and headed out to do a bit of Christmas shopping.

At my first stop in my “new” jeans, everyone at the store held doors for me, offered me hugs and told me to have a good day.

Boy, this feels really wonderful!

At the next store, strangers stopped to tell me how fierce I looked in my jeans and asked how they too could look this fabulous.

I didn’t have time to explain, but thanked them anyway and darted to the checkout counter.

The cashier brushed aside customers that were ahead of me in line and said “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to let this lady with the smaller jeans ahead of you because she’s really feeling it today and it would just be better if you let Her Specialness through.”

And so they all stepped out of line and motioned me forward. They applauded and smiled and a couple people high fived me.

Then the cashier told me to just skip paying for my items – You should have all this for free, because you really look good in those jeans. I wish I could look so good in mine.

I thanked her and left to go to the last store, strutting down the sidewalk to the cheers of onlookers.

Great jeans, lady!

Way to rock the look, woman!

I didn’t know they made jeans that small!

When I got to the store, a band was waiting for me and they played a fine rendition of I’m Too Sexy and then they presented me with a congratulatory cake with candles on it that spelled out YOU ROCK! But I declined because cake is not how you get into these jeans, just sayin’.

I bought my last gifts and skipped out of the store to find a limousine waiting for me to take me home because people who can fit into smaller sized jeans shouldn’t have to be bothered with driving.

So you see, fitting into smaller jeans has its benefits. I’m just not telling you which of these benefits, if any, is true.

Well, the ten pounds is true.

When You Don’t Know What to Do With Great Customer Service When You Get It

Posted by Kathy on August 15th, 2013

customer serviceI think I was just in the Twilight Zone. But I made it back home OK. I’m fine. Not a scratch on me.

I went to my local grocery store and picked up about a dozen things. Put ‘em in a hand-held basket, a big heaping mountain.

I lumbered past the courtesy counter on my way to self-checkout.

A woman at the counter called out “Is that all you have?”

“Who, me?”

“Yes, you.”

“You can’t mean me. This is too much stuff.”

“No, it’s not. Come over here. I’ll ring you up.”

“But you only take a few things here.”

“But if I can keep you from using the new stupid self-checkouts, all the better.”

“You must hate those. Customers must bug you all the time about them.”

“I hate them because it frustrates customers. I don’t mind helping. You shouldn’t have to deal with things that don’t work well. We want you to be happy.”

“Are you for real?”

“Yes, I am for real.”

“Well, you just made my whole day.”

“It’s what I do. Here’s your receipt. Now you have a good night, OK?”

This is not how things normally work in my world. Most of the time I’m the one solving problems, fighting to get people to help or just do their jobs. It’s maddening and exhausting.

I want more of the Twilight Zone, where people go out of their way to assist and tell you it’s not a bother. It’s delightful and refreshing.

Do you have a great customer service story to share? Let’s hear it. I’m so jaded about customer service, I need to know that it lives and breathes in places outside the Twilight Zone.

What This Curly Top Girl Learned by Having Straight Hair for 36 Hours

Posted by Kathy on May 18th, 2012

Kathy straight hairThose of you following me on Facebook learned this week that I had my very curly hair straightened at a salon, just for the fun of it.

Thought I’d post about it on the blog in case you’re not following me there. Why aren’t you following me there? Really, why not? Geesh! Go follow me on Facebook!

OK, let’s continue.

So. I’m back to curly now, but for just one day, I got to have the hair I’ve wanted all my life.

What I learned:

1. I got to be Clark Kent for a day. It was as though I was a totally different person, just by the length and style of my hair. I added probably 4-5 inches just by having it straightened.

I fooled a client of mine, who walked into my office and didn’t know it was me until he saw my whole non-curly self. When it registered, he had that cartoon reaction where he whipped his head back and forth and his eyes popped out.

2. You know that thing celebrity women with long straight hair do? They take each index finger and smooth hair strands away from their faces? Over and over. It annoys me when they do that because they appear rather full of themselves, with their shiny and luxurious hair. Like they know they have it all.

I did it all day. Couldn’t stop. And I loved it.

3. My straight hair became smooth as silk. This was perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of my new hair. Curls can sometimes feel silky, but not tight corkscrew like mine. I have kink and when it’s humid, game over.

Even on that foggy day, my hair behaved (with the right salon products) and I continued to run my hands over it when no one was looking. Only lunatics pet their own heads in public. Just sayin’.

4. Bed head after having the hair straightened actually turned out really good. I slept without pulling it back or covering it. When I woke up, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how stunning it still appeared. Atheists have it all wrong. There is a God.

5. A cable knit beanie hat makes a fine stand-in for a shower cap. It’s bizarre to step into a shower wearing nothing but winter gear on your head, but you know. Gotta save the hair. And I did.

6. Women with curly hair want straight. Women with straight hair want curly. Very few women have what they want, but the right products and time investment make all the difference. It took the perfect gels, shampoo and conditioner, thirty minutes and no less than six different implements for my stylist to create the look.

Could I do it myself? Not on your life. But I’ll go back to my stylist when I want this look again for a special occasion.

7. I loved my new hair so much that I didn’t mind posting pictures of myself, despite the fact that I’ve gained back nearly all of the weight I lost last year. Most days I feel like a lumbering walrus. But on that day, I felt pretty.

For I had good hair.

And all was right in the world.

If anyone lives in my area and is looking for a professional stylist, who’ll give you expert advice and treatment for your hair, ring up Karen Johnson at The Artisan on Broad Street in Bethlehem, 610-867-2454.

Tell her I sent you and couldn’t shut up about the fabulous hair she gave me for one glorious day.

We’re Quitting Our Jobs

Posted by Kathy on March 28th, 2012

solitaire blitzIt’s official. My husband and I are quitting our day jobs.

Why?

Because we need more time in the day to play Facebook games.

It’s extremely hard work trying to squeeze in three hours of game play every day when you have to work eight hours at something else.

We’re addicted – like morphine addicted – and need to find a way to play for 20 hours a day.

Because we still have a house to pay off, we’ve decided to look for sponsorships to keep us financially afloat.

We’re thinking of tattooing Pop Cap Games on our foreheads and then streaming our game play live over the Internet.

We might play naked. You need a hook to keep people viewing.

As for the cats, we sat them down for a family meeting and explained to them that they’ll be seeing more of us now.

BUT.

They cannot expect us to spend an inordinate amount of time petting them, playing with them, or checking to make sure their food trough is full.

We might need to get a live-in assistant.

We have game play to deal with. We’re professionals, you know. You can’t rack up points and coins just lookin’ at the screen.

You have to forego all of your daily chores like cleaning, laundry and why do we have to shower every day?

All of it takes away from game play.

This blog? Jury’s still out on that. While writing this post, I played six games of Solitaire Blitz.

It’s my morphine drip and I pressed the button.

The button ……

The button ……

The button ……

Here’s Where I Get All Verklempt

Posted by Kathy on December 14th, 2011

Second Harvest donation A week ago I wrote and asked you to please donate to a food bank in my area so I could win a Christmas lights tour arranged by a columnist at my local newspaper (pictured left).

I challenged you to raise enough funds so I could win the trip and we could all help hungry people in my area go a little less hungry.

I offered to do one of three crazy tasks if you hit my target.

You did not disappoint.

Oh, no you didn’t.

I’m almost in tears here as I write that not only did you raise enough to reach my goal of $750, but you dug deep enough to raise $865. With my family’s own contribution, that makes $1,115 in a single week!

What this means is that the Second Harvest Food Bank can distribute 10,035 pounds of food to the needy.

That’s five tons of food.

Tons. of. food. Do you hear me???

I am so overwhelmed by your generosity that I decided to do not just one of the three tasks I said I’d do, but all three.

So I’m going to eat my first ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich, dress as a clown for a whole day of work, and get my ass on a horse for the first time in my life.

I plan to do these things after the new year and post video of everything on the blog.

I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you wanted to help and that, even in this tough economy, you sent in a mountain of donations to help those you will never meet.

I kind of hate Christmas. The commercialization of it has soured me. It makes me dread the season. I don’t have a lick of Christmas in my house.

But I have it in my heart, where it means the most, because of you.

Thank you for showing the power of giving and fellowship. My family and I are truly grateful that you gave so willingly, so much and so quickly.

I am blessed to know you.

Coffee and Make It Light

Posted by Kathy on October 4th, 2011

parking lot at night For the last couple weeks since my father passed away, I’ve been visiting my mom in the mornings before work.

This arrangement works great for both of us, as we’re the early risers in the family.

I leave the house at 6AM, stop off at McDonald’s to grab us both coffee and we share some good chat time before I head to the office.

But here’s the problem.

The shopping center where the McD’s is located doesn’t have any lights on in the parking lot at 6AM when it’s still pitch black out.

This means every time I pull into the lot, it’s like an amusement park ride for me. I barely find the entrance, I have to dodge those cement divider thingies with plants in them, and I have to loop back in the dark to get to the McD’s drive-thru.

It’s an exhilarating joy ride where I hope I don’t run someone over or take out my muffler.

So I decided to write the faceless management company who runs the shopping center to ask if they could leave the lights on longer.

Ha! Fat chance, right?

Here’s what I wrote to them, along with what I expected they’d be thinking as they read my impossibly gutsy request (in boldface):

Greetings. I’m writing to inquire about the possibility of having
parking lot lights illuminated in the pre-dawn hours at the Easton, PA
25 St. Shopping Center that your firm rents out. We just take rent checks. We don’t care about lights.

Because one of your tenants, McDonald’s, has a 24/7 drive-thru, there is a fair amount of traffic going in and out of the parking lot without benefit of lighting greater than what McD’s casts off from its building. It’s not enough light. So go ask McDonald’s to turn on more lights.

It’s nearly impossible to find the shopping center entrance on the
McDonald’s side of the parking lot. Are you blind?

As well, there are two cement dividers one needs to drive around in order to access the McDonald’s drive-thru. Can’t you remember where they are every day? It’s not like they move.

From a safety standpoint, more light would be most beneficial. I was nearly hit this morning by a driver who could not see me, even though I had my headlights on. There are bad drivers everywhere. Not. Our. Fault.

Thank you for anything you can do to address my concern. Go to hell.

A mere seven minutes after I emailed them, here’s the response I got:

Kathleen, I will have our maintenance person change the timer for the lights. Please forward any maintenance issues to me.

Um. Wha? I’m speechless. I don’t know what to do here. This never happens.

They listened. They solved. They ROCK!

I’ll toast my next cup ‘o coffee to you, not-so-faceless corporation with a heart!

The Best and Worst Clothes Shopping Trip

Posted by Kathy on May 24th, 2011

shopping I just experienced both the best and worst clothes shopping trip in the span of two hours.

The best experience was jeans shopping. You read that right. It is possible to shop for jeans and not cry the whole time.

I was delighted to find that because of my weight loss, I can now move down another size in my jeans. I know exactly the style to buy that fits my freak body. Lee “Relaxed Straight Leg – At the Waist” medium length jeans are made for me.

Ladies, if you carry more weight on your bottom than on the top, try those. And don’t let the “straight leg” worry you. In reality, they’re more a boot cut, which is a better style for women shaped like us. You won’t get the dreaded peg leg look.

So I’m sifting through the wall of Lee jeans looking for my size and I can’t find them. Why? Because every other woman where I live is my size, apparently.

I take the style I want in a different size to the counter and ask the saleswoman to order my size in that exact cut, length and wash.

She enters the information in the register and determines that she can’t order the wash I want, dark stone, because it’s not available.

Poo.

She tells me she’ll try several different search methods to find them, but I’m sensing I’ll be out of luck the longer this process continues.

But then. Then! She says “Wait right here. I have one last place to check.” She returns a couple minutes later with my exact size, cut, and wash that I want, telling me there was a single pair in the back room.

Thank you, JCPenney’s Clarissa! You made my day.

High from my successful jeans shopping excursion, I went on the hunt for some summer tops. And then my world crumbled around me.

I hate shopping for tops because I dislike my arms and need something to accentuate my smallish waist, so I tend to stick with one style that is structured enough to lay well on the hip, give me shape and form and cover most of my beastly arms.

I found one such top after looking through hundreds. Hundreds, I tell you.

I try it on and love it immediately. But I notice it’s had its price tag ripped off. Why? Why, God, must you let me find the one top I love that will give me trouble at the register?

And trouble I got.

The saleswoman sees it’s missing its price tag and she looks at the manufacturer’s label, thinking she can look it up at the register.

She cannot.

Why?

Because, she says, “This isn’t ours.”

“What?”

This isn’t our merchandise. We don’t sell this brand.”

But I found it on a rack in the store.”

But it’s not ours. Where did you get it?”

You mean out of the hundreds of tops I looked at? Uh. How ‘bout over there in Kansas. I have no idea where I got it.”

She checks with another saleswoman, who agrees they cannot sell it to me because it’s not theirs.

BUT I FOUND IT IN YOUR STORE!!!

I am flabbergasted. It takes me months to find clothing that I like and that flatters me and I’m standing there holding the perfect garment and yet I cannot buy it.

I consider for a moment asking if the three of us can make up a reasonable price and just call it a day.

But they are not budging. They will not sell me the top.

I was so tired and disgusted by then, all I could ask was “How do I get out of here?”

They pointed the way out of the store that sells clothes you can’t buy and left in a huff.

Without the pretty turquoise, structured top with the lovely neck line.

Tell me, Boscovs salesladies. What are you going to do with that? Throw it out? Because you probably could have charged me a made-up price of eighty bucks, pocketed it between yourselves and I wouldn’t have said a word.

For now, I’ll have to keep wearing the crappy clothes I hate and think about the top that could have been.

Honestly. Have you ever heard of something so stupid?

At least I won the jeans war. And I didn’t cry once.

How to Change the Color of a Whirlpool Dishwasher

Posted by Kathy on April 2nd, 2011

I’m so awesome, I can’t stand it.

Today I saw a home improvement show where the home owner changed a white dishwasher into a black one (without paint) to match the rest of the appliances in her kitchen. I never knew that was possible.

I set out to do the same, since we have a black stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and toaster.

Here’s the before:

Dishwasher white 

Here’s how I did it:

Note: You may want to disconnect power first. I did not, but I was also careful not to touch any wires (You won’t have to for the procedure.)

1. Remove any screws that secure the access panel below the dishwasher door.

2. Release the access panel and remove the retainer strip (if you have one) that holds the door panel on.

Dishwasher panel

3. Slip out the flexible white panel and peek behind it to see if the reverse side is black.

4. Mine was (!!!), so I pulled out the panel (it’ll bow), flip it over and slide it up back in place. Smooth out any puckers.

5. Slide the retainer strip back on to secure the panel.

6. Put the screws back in the access panel. This was the only hiccup I had. One of the screw holes was located in a tight space above and behind the access panel.

We don’t have one of those magnetic screwdrivers that holds screws in place until you get it in the hole.

What did I use to hold the screw on the end of the screwdriver?

Chewed gum.

Again. Awesome. Me.

Now not only does our dishwasher match our appliances, but our cat Shadow thinks the “new” dishwasher goes so much better with her fur.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Dishwasher black

40 More To Go

Posted by Kathy on March 26th, 2011

bathroom scale Hey, peeps! Been a while since I posted. Sorry, bit of writer’s block. Hate that.

Until I get my act together, I thought I’d give you an update on my weight loss progress.

In the seven weeks since I started working out at a gym and eating better, I’ve lost 10.5 lbs (4.8 kg).

It’s not as much as I’d hoped for by now, but I’ll take it. Besides, all the trainers at the gym tell me that losing 1.0 – 1.5 lbs. a week is perfect and helps ensure I can keep it off for the long term.

I won’t bore you with all the different exercises I’ve been doing, but it’s far more than I ever did in the few years prior.

What I will tell you is that on the day I joined the gym, I took an elevator to the third floor, where the gym is located.

An elevator.

Now I dart up the stairs at 5:30AM every day, excited and eager. I tackle the machines and leave sweaty and triumphant.

My mother always says “Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.” I look differently at food now. It’s fuel, not the “go to” when I’m stressed, tired or bored. Is it difficult sometimes? Hell, yeah.

But then I ask myself do I want to ruin the morning’s workout for junk food? Hell, no.

At the store today, I eyed up some of the things I used to overindulge in. I left with two one-ounce chocolate Easter bunnies. And you know what? That really is enough. Didn’t need the cookies or the ice cream or the potato chips or the Nutella. Self-control tastes better than all of that.

I’m down a size in my jeans.

I’m up a notch in my happiness.

I’m doing it. And anyone who thinks they’re too busy, too old or too out of shape to even care anymore, please, please think again.

I’m proof that a person who spent more time eating than moving can silence the excuses and bring change to her life.

Thanks go to the friends, family and co-workers who tolerate all my excitement when I have even the smallest successes. Your encouragement, tips and feedback mean the world to me.

The trainers at the gym chat with me daily to make sure I’m on track and challenging myself enough. I’m lucky to have such an amazing support system.

OK, enough Dr. Phil. Hope to be back to a more frequent posting schedule soon. Have a great weekend!

My New Favorite Thing

Posted by Kathy on December 7th, 2010

I have a new love in my life. Don’t worry. There will always be bacon.

My new love and I met while I worked on a colleague’s computer. She noticed I was admiring something on her desk, which I used while I worked.

The attraction was instant and I fell hard. Be still, my heart.

When I finished my work, she gifted me with one.

So what is my new love?

A pencil.


But not just any pencil.

It’s a Pentel OE519 automatic grippy pencil with a twist eraser and deliciously bold 0.9 lead thickness. Oh, yeah, baby.

Hello? Are you still with me?

You fainted, right? I know! I did too!

And I almost had a meltdown yesterday when I couldn’t find it in my desk. I thought someone stole it. I wouldn’t blame them. I mean, it writes like a dream, very sturdy and forgiving — you can press really hard and not break the tip.

It’s smooth like a pen. A pen. But it’s not!

Don’t hate me because I have a groovy new pencil.

Hate me because I won’t let you use it.

Seriously. Try it and I’ll cut you.

Have a nice day.

My Wall Street Journal Interview

Posted by Kathy on July 30th, 2010

wsj So remember when I was interviewed about Windy on NPR’s All Things Considered program? Yeah, good times baby!

Well, what you don’t know is the day the Windy interview aired, I was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for an entirely different story. I was pinching myself all over because I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

That morning I received an email from a marketing reporter, asking if she could interview me about the YouTube video I made about the very loud Sun Chips bag, a bag that’s so loud husbands can’t eat out of it near a sleeping baby or their wives will kill them dead.

The reporter found my video online and was putting together a story about the bags and all the people who can’t stand them.

She took some vitals from me, my name, town and blog information and then asked me some questions.

When did you realize the bag was so loud?

As soon as I got it home and opened it. My husband and I irritated each other for a week. You can hear it on different floors of the house.

How do you feel about Frito-Lay’s efforts to improve the environment by making 100% compostable bags?

Great, except I’ll never buy them again. I thought of writing the Frito-Lay people and telling them that they’re losing sales because the bag’s so loud.

[This turned out to be untrue, because I recently purchased a bag, but only to give to a colleague so he could hear for himself how loud they were. When I drove to work with it and went over some bumps, the bag made a noise. Just sitting there, it made a noise. God.]

Do you write companies about products you dislike?

Oh, yes. In fact, I just wrote the Glad Wrap people to tell them they need to help consumers find the end of a new roll. The thin plastic is clear and sometimes you can’t see or feel where the end of it is. They can fix the problem by tinting the end of the roll in some color or attaching a little pull tab.

I went on to say that companies should hire me as a product tester to let them know what will work and what won’t. I would make an excellent focus group participant and they should want me full-time because I would never shut up.

Do you hate a lot of things?

Oh, no! I’m in love with my Dyson vacuum cleaner. In a really unhealthy way. I told her that vacuuming was a joy now, and despite the high cost, it’s worth every penny and she should go buy one. Like right now.

We touched on a couple other things and then the interview was over. She thanked me for my time and said the article would appear soon, but it’s been six weeks and still no story. I think I scared her.

What a loss. Just think of all the people who won’t get the chance to leave comments on the WSJ site, saying how certifiably mental I am.

So that leaves just you guys to tell me so on the blog. But I’m a lovable certifiable, right?

I Heart My Dyson

Posted by Kathy on April 17th, 2010

Listen to me now and listen to me good.

No one — I mean NO ONE — should be found singing and dancing while vacuuming. But that was me while using my eagerly-awaited Dyson D25 All Floors vacu-suck for the first time.

It arrived with great fanfare on Thursday.

Easy to assemble, easier to use.

It picked up everything that wasn’t nailed down.

Cat hair, my hair, kitty litter, hairballs from three cats, crumbs, fuzzies and apparently all the dirt my carpets have held prisoner since 1997.

I’ve finished vacuuming my house. Want me to come over and do yours?

Behold, my beloved Dyson in action:

 

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Remote

Posted by Kathy on December 2nd, 2009

stockvault_673_20070301Remember when your TV had twelve channels, 2-13, and that was enough on the dial?

Yeah.

And then we thought it was all cool and progressive to have channels that went up to a hundred or so?

Uh-hmmm.

My cable service just sent some hocus pocus through our receiver and suddenly my favorite channel is 1,129.

Discuss.

And It’s Not Even My Birthday

Posted by Kathy on June 12th, 2009

heart_cup The effects of a grueling work week washed away in an instant following this exchange with my husband as I loaded the dishwasher tonight.

I called out to him in another room:

Are there any dishes out there?

No. Just you, Kathy.

He may need his eyes checked, but if he sees a dish then so be it. God bless that man.

Monday Mishmash

Posted by Kathy on November 3rd, 2008

scribbles What’s on Kathy’s mind today?

To my best good friend, Tracey, who threw her back out lifting an object she could have thrown over her head twenty years ago, I’m sorry for your injury, but you’re old now. Welcome to the club.

To the guy who called me today and left his phone number at lightning speed, I didn’t get it. I had to listen to your message three times because you sounded like you had a mouth full of marbles. If you’re leaving me your number, it’s because you know I don’t have it. Slow the hell down.

To my colleague, Heather. Thank you for making a pot of coffee every day before I come into the office. You don’t even drink coffee. You’re good people.

To my cat, Lucky, who insists on burrowing under a blanket on the couch for whatever reason. I do not know you are there. Learn how to make a warning noise or you shall require a visit to the vet to get unflattened. And I’m not so sure they have a procedure for that.

To my other cat, Stinky, who just walked across my laptop keyboard, you know that screws me up, right?

To daylight savings time, you suck. I feel like changing into my pajamas before I even leave work.

To whoever thought of putting bread in a thin bag and then thought to put it in another bag, that’s just stupid. Trust us. It goes stale as fast in two bags as it does in one. One is less annoying.

To that guy who darted unsafely in and out of my lane this morning, it gave me great pleasure to time my speed such that you never got back into the lane and then missed the exit you wanted so bad. Me, 1. Jerks, 0.

And there you have it. Anything on your mind today? The more random, the better.

God Bless the Trash Haulers

Posted by Kathy on July 21st, 2008

garbage_can WARNING: This post is disgusting. Come back later if you are repulsed by vomiting. I’m sure those in the medical profession (or the parents among you) have seen it all, so you’re probably safe.

Yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. I threw up from smelling garbage. Yeah, fun.

I took a full kitchen trash bag to the garage and when I lifted the lid to the big can, I gagged. I thought “Oh, it’s just a dry heave. No problem.”

Then the beast grabbed me by the throat and screamed “There’s steaming cat poo in this here can! Run! Run!”

I had to cover my mouth as I ran to the kitchen sink, where I let loose. Thrice. My husband thought maybe it was one of the cats coughing up a hair ball. No, dear, that was me.

I’m guessing we had a couple bags of garbage stewing in our hundred degree garage for a few days and it hadn’t escaped until just then.

All I can say is God bless the trash haulers of the world. Let us all thank them for the foul and disgusting job they do. Imagine if no one took our garbage away and it was left to rot in the baking sun. Seriously, think about it.

In recognition of the guys who pick up my trash, I have a little prayer for you.

Dear God,

Please bless and keep the trash haulers.

They do work no sane person would do.

They lug and throw and smell the funk

Whether it’s food or diapers with poo.

They ride on the truck in the wake of the smell.

They can’t get away for a minute.

If not for them taking the crap that I lay

We’d be up to our eye sockets in it.

Amen

The Subway/Wawa Smackdown

Posted by Kathy on July 17th, 2008

BLT You’re all aware of my love affair with bacon, so it stands to reason that I eat my fair share of BLT sandwiches.

There are two places I get my fix. Subway and Wawa. Today we shall have a smackdown between the two sandwich giants.

There is one clear winner and it all boils down to the ordering process because the faster and easier I can get my grubby little hands on my BLT, the happier Kathy is and the less punishment the general public has to suffer for me being hungry and annoyed.

How to order at Subway:

Enter establishment and queue up to the start of the assembly line. Tell the sandwich prepper what sandwich you want, on what bread and with what condiments.

The prepper grabs your selected bread and EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST SAID WHAT YOU WANTED, proceeds to ask you at each condiment container what you want on the sandwich.

What kills me is the part where, even though I just said I want a BLT, the prepper asks me if I want LETTUCE and TOMATO on my Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. It makes me want to cry. They do this every single time, without fail.

Yes, I would like lettuce and tomato on my Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich and if you ask me if I want bacon on that, I’ll have to give up on you and leave without my sandwich and that’s not good for the general public, remember?

Pickles? No. Cheese? No. Onions? No. Peppers? No. Olives? What? No! GROSS.

After finally making it to the end of the condiment station, my sandwich is ready and I wish I had gone to Wawa. Although Subway has the best bread, Wawa has the ordering process down to a science.

How to order at Wawa:

Enter establishment and walk up to a gloriously easy-to-use kiosk that beckons me to buy any number of happy-looking hoagies, sandwiches, wraps and subs.

I touch the screen to begin.

Welcome!

Oh, why thank you!

What kind of sandwich would you like?

I shall have a BLT.

On what kind of roll?

Hoagie, please.

Would you like that toasted?

Oh, yes, toast me, baby.

What size do you want? Shorti? 6″? 10″? Giant?

Let’s say 6″. By the way, I love you, pleasant-sounding beeping machine.

What condiments would you like on that? My selections are never-ending. Among them is mayonnaise and not just one button for mayonnaise.

There is a special button called “Extra Mayo” that should have a halo around it because it is a button made in heaven and blessed by God.cooltext94175271MouseOver

Why, yes. Yes, I would like extra mayo.

Almost finished. More bacon ($1.09 extra)?

  cooltext94174875MouseOver

Oh, sweet Jesus. Could it be? A button you press to get more bacon? What happens if I press it twice? Three times? Do I get a whole pig? Bring on the more!

Beep-boop-beep-boop-beep. My order is finished and out pops a receipt. And by the time I’ve paid for my delicious, bacon-packed BLT swimming in mayonnaise, the server hands it to me and I’m on my way.

The only possible improvement that Wawa could make to this process is if they incorporate the sandwich-ordering technology into the gas pumps outside. Yes, Wawa is also a gas station. Don’t knock it til you try it.

Everyone knows I’m an awesome product tester and so it makes sense that I know what I’m talking about in the sandwich-ordering, gas-pumping, time-saving department. What do you say, Wawa? Care to make a great system even better?

Also, could you install a debit card swiper so I can pay for my sandwich right at the deli to avoid annoying children standing at the register, screaming at their mothers that they want Bazooka bubble gum for dinner? Yeah, that’d be swell.

I’d like a BLT with a side of humor blog.

Bloggy Things

Posted by Kathy on June 7th, 2008

Today’s post covers a series of topics that don’t qualify for posts of their own. Kind of a mish-mash of things that don’t have anywhere else to go. You know, like stuff you throw in a junk drawer. Fitting, eh?

HUMOR-BLOGS.COM ROCKS

humor_blogs_large I’ve been a member of Humor-Blogs.com since I started this blog and have been ranked in the Top 20 blogs (out of 940 blogs) for the last six months or so. If you’re a humor blogger, I highly recommend joining up. Not only will you see increased traffic, you’ll find other great humor blogs to get to know and love.

I’d like to publicly thank Diesel, who started the Humor-Blogs site, for giving me a place to showcase The Junk Drawer. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

And for a bit of shameless self-promotion, you may not know that clicking the green Humor-Blogs button in my sidebar earns me referral credits that keep me in the Top 20.

If you want to check out other humor sites, click through to Humor-Blogs that way, and you’ll be doing your part to help me achieve fame and fortune. Well, not the fortune part. I haven’t quite figured that out yet.

WHAT’S THIS ENTRECARD THING?

ec You might have noticed the “Today’s Featured Blog” widget in my sidebar. These sites come from Entrecard, a service that gives bloggers a way to promote themselves by “dropping” their cards on sites as they browse other blogs.

You earn credits for dropping your card and having cards dropped on yours, as well as through other bloggers advertising on your site. Then you use your own credits to buy spots on other blogs.

In the month since I joined, I’ve seen a twofold increase in my daily visitors. Some people pooh-pooh Entrecard because it takes time to drop cards while visiting other sites. But I’ve found it to be a worthwhile effort so far. My stats program tells me that about 10% of droppers stay longer than five minutes on my site, and some also subscribe to my feed.

If you use Entrecard, try not to “drop and run.” Spend time on the blogs you visit, and most importantly, comment on the blogs you really like. In my opinion, commenting on other people’s blogs is the best way to gain traffic in the long run. If you use Entrecard, drop a comment in the drawer and share your experience with it.

YES, THE BAG IS STILL IN THE TREE

Bag_May082008 Just a quick update: The plastic bag is still stuck in the tree outside my building at work. You may have noticed the Plastic Bag Tracker displayed in my sidebar, updated daily. There it will sit until the bag falls out of the tree, or Jeff comes to take it out his damn self (I know it’s driving him insane that it’s still there).

 

I’LL HATE MYSELF IN THE MORNING

top spots It kills me to beg, but I’m doing it anyway. I’m currently running a Top Spots widget in my sidebar, where bloggers can buy a spot in the list for $3 to showcase a link to their sites. Consider it my tip jar.

Right now, the list is full, but I would appreciate if a few more bloggers would buy a spot — and here’s the begging part — so that I can reach the payment threshold. Because Top Spots won’t pay out until $25 is reached, and I’m stuck at the $23 mark, I haven’t seen one red cent from running the widget.

To encourage new Top Spotters, I’ll drop the cost down to $2. A link to your site will appear on the list for one month, after which I’ll remove the widget and collect my 25 bucks. Thanks to those who’ve bought a spot and to those who will consider buying one now. I’m not sure how much traffic the people currently in the list have seen, but I hope it’s been enough to consider your $3 investment worthwhile!

That’s it for today’s mish-mash post. Have a great weekend everybody!

Junk Drawer Milestone

Posted by Kathy on April 26th, 2008

soleil There are two numbers I’m obsessed with: One, my weight, which never makes me happy. And, two, the amount of readers who’ve subscribed to my blog’s feed. Smiles all around. I’ve finally cracked the 100 mark!

Actually, I have three separate feed counts that total almost 150, but I don’t count the older feeds because I’m not sure there are active readers behind those numbers. I’m only eying the current feed, which sits nicely at 103.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who subscribes to the Junk Drawer, or who comes in from a bookmark. Thanks also go to those who added me to their blogrolls. I appreciate the links that lead people here.

I’ve said on more than one occasion that it’s really my readers who make my blog what it is today. Yes, I write this thing, but something amazing happens when I click the Publish button. A party breaks out in the comments section.

People have asked me how I achieve such a high number of comments each post. Honestly, I don’t know the formula, but I know dumb luck is a big part of it. Somehow I’ve attracted the right mix of people who leave the funniest comments after every visit.

During a birthday party last weekend, my family was sitting around talking about things that go on in The Drawer. We remembered some funny stuff left in the comments and someone said “Huh? What are you talking about?” and another said “Oh my God! You’re not reading the comments? You have to read the comments! It’s a goldmine in there!”

Bottom line, if you’re reading The Junk Drawer, hugs and kisses. If you’re not reading the comments, you must change your ways because you’re missing out on a key element of the blog. You might chuckle at something I’ve written, but you’re going to snort something out your nose if you dig further and read what people dropped in the drawer.

Thanks again, everyone! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Blogging has been some of the most fun I’ve had in my life, and you’re responsible for that. Toast yourselves and have a great weekend!

Throwing Money at the Problem

Posted by Kathy on February 22nd, 2008

chain gang All too often I’m complaining about something. If you heard that’s what happens here, sorry to disappoint you for today.

The thing is it snowed last night. Not a blizzard, but enough snow to make the prospect of shoveling it unappealing to my husband Dave and me. We’re off work today and really wanted to kick back and relax. The more it snowed, the more our backs instinctively started hurting.

The plan was to watch the forecast and estimate the best time to go out, between when the snow was expected to stop and when the sleet was expected to start.  We had another hour to complain about work neither of us wanted to do.

Just then Dave heard some kids walking up towards the house. Kids with shovels. Five of them. In the ten years we’ve lived in this house, we never had kids come by to offer to shovel for us. I figured that was an activity today’s youth wanted no part of, or their parents were afraid to send them out the door to strangers’ homes. I thought what a sad sign of the times. As kids, Dave and I shoveled for money. All our friends shoveled for money. Doesn’t anyone want to shovel for money anymore?

Before the kids even rang our doorbell, Dave handed me 25 bucks. “Here, this should be enough for the driveway.”  I opened the door and before the kid could even say anything, I thrust the money at him and said “Is this enough for the driveway?” The look on his face was priceless. Red-cheeked from the cold and eyes wide open, he said “Yeah!! Thanks!!”

When he turned around, he waved the cash at his buddies and their faces lit up. They got crackin’ immediately.

Before they got halfway done, Dave asked me “Do we have any more cash laying around? We should ask them to do the back sidewalk.”

I frowned. I only had about three bucks in my purse and he only had eight more singles. I cursed the fact that I almost never have cash on me, since I prefer to use my debit card at stores. I considered writing a check. Dave and I discussed how stupid it would be to write a check to a child. I suggested we write it to one of the kids’ mothers, but then that seemed too weird. Dammit!!! We need more cash! And, hurry! They’re almost done with the driveway!

After nixing the check idea, we did the only thing we could do. We raided the change jar for quarters. There we stood, counting out enough quarters to round out to 20+ more bucks. As dumb as it felt to give them a pound of change and some bills, money is money. I hardly think they would care. They didn’t.

I opened the door and yelled “Hey guys? Is twenty good for the sidewalk?”

They shouted back, “Yeah! Cool!” And off they went. We had ourselves our own little snow-shoveling chain gang and now we didn’t have to get bundled up, get wet and cold or break our backs on what looked like very heavy snow.

When they were done, the leader of the group returned to tell me they were finished and to thank me for the money. No, thank you!

God bless you, Chain Gang. Your parents should be proud that you’re not afraid to sweat for a few bucks. I didn’t think I’d ever see that sight for the rest of my life. I hope I see them again next year. I’m pretty sure after making almost 50 bucks for a half hour’s work, those kids will remember our address.

“Y’all come back now, ya hear!”

So do any of you see kids shoveling for money (or maybe for nothing) in your neighborhoods? Or do I just live in a really lazy section of town?

My Top 10 Best Workout Tunes

Posted by Kathy on October 13th, 2007

I just got a copy of the pictures taken of me at Dorney Park last weekend. It’s glaringly evident that the time has come for me to get serious about losing some weight. So here I am again, trying to get mentally prepared to do a workout several times a week. I figure if I write about trying to exercise, I’ll be held accountable somehow. I’m taking all forms of encouragement, guys. And to those who work with me, throw bricks at my head if you see me at the candy dish. Aim high and don’t miss.

One of the few things that keeps me pumped up while working out is listening to music and only one kind will do — late 80s and early 90s funk and dance. Contrary to popular belief, a 40-something woman can get down and get funky. You may not want to see it, but it does happen and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Look away if you must.

Here’s my Top 10 List of Best Workout Music:

1. It Takes Two — Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock
2.
The Power — Snap!
3.
Word Up – -Cameo
4.
Get on the Good Foot — James Brown
5.
The Glamorous Life — Sheila E
6.
You Dropped a Bomb on Me — The Gap Band
7.
Gonna Make You Sweat — C & C Music Factory
8.
Bust a Move — Young MC
9.
Everybody Everybody — Black Box
10.
Push it –Salt ‘n Pepa

I’m off to do a workout. Funk out.

The most wonderful time of the year

Posted by Kathy on October 4th, 2007

I love autumn. Love it so much, I got married in November when the leaves were just falling and the air was crisp and cool. There is no better time of the year.

Here are my Top 5 reasons why I love the fall:

1. Halloween is coming. What other time do you get an excuse to dress up like someone you’re not and get away with it? It’s fun driving somewhere in full clown gear just to see the look on other people’s faces when you whiz by. Hey, clown! Get off the road! And don’t forget…. If you’re looking for a treat to make for a Halloween party or just because, check out my Butterfinger Eyeballs.

2. The air is cool, dry and I can stop sweating. I’m not a fan of the heat and humidity, considering what it does to my curly hair and my general well-being. I get puffy and perturbed, plain and simple. Don’t know why I keep living in the northeast.

3. I exercise more. Winter is too cold, spring is too rainy and summer is too brutal. But autumn is just right for getting out for a good, comfortable walk.

4. The weekends are mine. With few holidays and no major events to attend, I can kick back and relax on most weekends. Christmas ruins all that. There’s just too much to do in too little time. Autumn is the calm before the storm.

5. I can stop sweating. Oh. Did I say that already? I’m just not good in the heat. My hands swell into what my sisters and I like to call "meaty paws" and my feet blow up. That happens all year round, but it’s infinitely worse in the summer. I’m crankier than ever when it’s very hot and I imagine if I was ever pregnant, I would look just like Violet Beauregarde, the bratty girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory who chewed the forbidden gum. She blew up into a giant blueberry and the Oompa Loompas had to roll her out to the dejuicing factory. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Until the summer comes again, I’ll be enjoying this great fall weather and hoping my readers are doing the same, wherever you are!

My boob tube can beat up your boob tube

Posted by Kathy on September 19th, 2007

Before the Great Furniture Hunt, there was the Great HDTV Television Acquisition. I hadn’t really thought much about our new TV until word got out that we had it. I know it’s an awesome set, but I didn’t know how awesome until I mentioned to a few people what we bought.

People — OK, men mostly — would start salivating and pepper me with questions, as though I’d just told them I rode on the Space Shuttle. "Tell us more! Is it just like they say? Is it like you’ve seen God? Two of my colleagues invited themselves over to watch football, and I’m afraid my Dad’s going to want one for Christmas.

For the record, it’s a 46" Sony Bravia Full HD 1080, WCG-CCFL, 7000:1, HDTV with HDMI. I have absolutely no idea what all that means except that the picture is simply gorgeous, especially when viewing HD channels. And that’s all I need to know. The above picture is a shot I took on the actual set. Soak it in, baby. Soak it in.

Buying this TV was very easy. For me, at least. Dave did all the heavy lifting, researching the differences between multiple brands of HD sets, the features offered on all of them, and what add-on purchases you should make for the best possible viewing experience.

When it was time to make the purchase, we went to Tweeter in Whitehall, PA on good authority that they know what they’re talking about and don’t strong-arm you into making a buy. We were pleasantly surprised at how true this turned out to be. I’d give a shout-out to the guy who helped us, but I just can’t remember his name. Sorry, Tweeter Guy.

Here’s how it all started. It could have gone a lot faster, if I wasn’t so annoyed by the stupidest things. The list is long and I sometimes wonder how Dave puts up with me. But that’s a post for another day.

"Kath, now this is the one we should get. It’s the Sony Bravia XBR3. The best."

"I don’t like it."

"Why?"

"It has a shiny frame."

"Huh?"

"See. It has this stupid shiny frame around it and it’s going to annoy me."

"Why?"

"Because I’ll see all the light reflected in it. It’s distracting."

"Oh, for God’s sake. You hate everything, don’t you?"

"And how long have we been married and you don’t know this already? Where’ve you been?"

Now we’re in big trouble because I’m not going to let Dave buy the set he really wanted and we start looking around at all the other models. The ones that don’t have the distracting shiny frame.

Tweeter Guy is just the most patient salesman in the world. He graciously shows us around and explains all the features of the other sets, trying to get us as close as possible to the desired one. But first I make him change to a different movie that’s running on nearly all of them because there happens to be a big bug crawling around in one scene. I can’t look at bugs, real or otherwise. I can’t even look at them in print. Freaks me all out. Dave rolls his eyes. Tweeter Guy is right on it. He can smell a sale and he’ll do whatever it takes.

Once we have the sets showing non-bug-infested movies, I now insist that he show us other channels. The stores will always demonstrate HDTVs in high definition mode for obvious reasons. It just looks so much better. But I need to see how a non-HD channel will look. He puts on the Food Network and now we have a face full of Emeril "BAM!" Lagasse. Ugh. Switch it back to HD, please.

After about an hour of looking at all the sets in the store, and Dave and Tweeter Guy discussing the finer points between them, we finally settle on the Bravia 1080, which has an un-shiny frame. We plunk down a rather large amount of money and off we go.

When the set arrived, Dave gave the delivery guy 25 bucks to set it up and configure the internal settings just right to get the best picture. And what a picture it is.

There is one fact that I’m sure all the actors and actresses in Hollyweird are lamenting with the advent of HDTVs and that’s that their faces look incredibly bad. I urge you, if you buy an HDTV, prepare yourselves for some of your favorite stars looking really awful in high-def. You can see all their flaws and all the makeup they use trying to hide their flaws. HD is brutally unforgiving. I never want to see Larry King in high-def. EVER.

What looks best, of course, are all the HD channels. With our cable provider we get about 20 of them. Regular channels still look better than they did on our old set, so there are improvements there, too. To give you an idea how mesmerizing it is to watch TV in HD, I’ve become a fan of the Discovery HD Theater channel. It features a program called Sunrise Earth which runs a full hour with a camera trained on a single scene in nature.

Yesterday I watched a sequoia tree for fifteen minutes. A tree. For fifteen minutes. Next week they’re airing an episode called Milk Cows in the Morning and next month is Bison before Breakfast. Swear to God. And I’m going to watch it and love it. Think I’m crazy? You go and buy yourself an HDTV and see if you don’t find yourself staring at cows and bison and trees and come back and tell me if it isn’t the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in the televised world.

I gotta go. Wildflower Elk just came on.

Kicking the bottled water habit

Posted by Kathy on August 5th, 2007

Dave and I finally kicked a bad habit. I’ve been trying for months to scale back the amount of bottled water we bring into the house (or at least pay less for it by buying jugs), but Dave was still buying six-pack bottles. I just couldn’t get him to let go. But just last week he announced “That’s it. We’re done with the bottled water!” It’s not because my ranting and raving had any effect. It’s because he heard a report that Pepsi admitted its popular Aquafina brand comes from tap water. Apparently this was the deal-breaker for him.

His motivation to stop was the principle of the thing. Mine was a little more complicated:

1. The money we wasted was staggering. We estimate at three bottles per day each, we were spending between $75 – 105 per month. We at least tried to buy it only when it was on sale. But still the price was through the roof.

2. I became increasingly bothered about how much plastic we were adding to landfills. By the end of the week, the recycling bin was filled to the brim with mostly water bottles.

3. I got so tired of lugging it around. You have to cart it at the store, lift it on the scanner, throw it in the car, take it out of the car, then refrigerate it. Then we’d take bottles back to the car to take to work every day. My arms and back were getting tired.

The only reason we ever bought bottled water was for the taste, so we invested 25 bucks in a Brita 10-cup Deluxe Water Filter Pitcher, which we’re very pleased with. It’s easy to fill, fits perfectly in the fridge and the water tastes every bit as good as Aquafina. Even with the cost of filters (about $20 for an eight month supply), we’re coming out ahead. We broke the chains of bottled water, and man, does it feel great.

Loving your curly hair

Posted by Kathy on July 29th, 2007

I guess it’s true when you turn 40, you start trying to figure out how you can change the things you hate about yourself and start all over again. For me, it was coming to terms with my curly hair. For my entire life, I’ve spent thousands of hours fighting against the curl in front of a mirror, mostly with various hair dryers and assorted utensils trying to blow dry it straight. It never helped that other women told me how jealous they were that I had such beautiful curls. I wanted thick, straight hair that would actually move when my head did!

But when I hit the big 4-0, I finally decided enough was enough and started to listen to my friends and sisters when they suggested I learn to love my curls. I found a great stylist (Karen at The Artisan, 1222 W. Broad St., Bethlehem), thanks to my sister Marlene’s referral. For all the years of tears and anguish over hating my hair, I wasn’t done yet. There I sat in the chair, crying again. I just couldn’t imagine how she was going to get me to agree to “go curly” and convince me it would look right. But Karen turned out to be my hair’s new best friend. The first thing she told me was to grow it longer. I’d been seeing a different stylist for years, who told me it looked best short. I went like that for a good long while, believing she knew what she was talking about. It surprised me that I could have long hair again, AND it would look good in a curly style.

So my first visit with Karen was more a consultation than anything else. She did trim a little, but told me to come back when it grew another inch or so. When I did, she shaped it up nicely and then taught me how to “finger style it” without using much hot air from a dryer. Curly-haired women, I suppose, do have it good. But only if they know how to style it right. Here’s a site that covers the “must do’s” for your do.

Go forth and love your curls!