Monday, January 31, 2011

It's a disease, and I've passed it on.

So, I've apparently spawned the next generation of infomercial addicts.

And it really is an addiction. It starts out small. Maybe you buy a set of Ginsu knives. They're useful. They're quality products. And then maybe you get a Sham-wow, because who hasn't needed to soak up 5 gallons of bodily fluid from the carpet at one time or another? And the next thing you know you're wearing nothing but a Snuggie, blending margaritas in your Magic Bullet and snorting OxyClean off Billy Mays' corpse with Ron Popeil.

Anyway, Liam and Amelia seem to have fallen prey to the sweet, sweet siren song of infomercials.

Except we don't have cable. The only TV they see is from Netflix and whatever channels we can pick up on digital rabbit ears. One of those channels is Qubo. Normally, I love Qubo. There's not a single show on there that is remotely questionable. However, they don't have regular commercials. They have mini-infomercials.

First, it was Pillow Pets. It got to the point that I had to ban the Pillow Pets song from our house. If I was forced to hear, "It's a pillow! It's a pet! It's a pillow pet!" one more time, someone was going to die. (And I know it's now playing in a never ending loop in your brain. YOU'RE WELCOME.) And don't you dare refer to the closure as velcro around my kids. You'll call it a "hook and loop strap" or they'll cut you.

More recently, however, it has been LifeLock. First of all, I'm not even sure why they need to advertise an identity protection program during The Magic School Bus. I mean, is Miss Frizzle using my debit card for bus gas and wacky shoes? But anyway, that's been the commercial in heavy rotation lately. At first Liam and Amelia were simply concerned. They didn't want me to lose our house! And my good name! You! Must! Get! LifeLock! But they finally got the hint that I wasn't buying it.

Now they play LifeLock.

Last night I overheard them playing, and here's how it went down.

Amelia: Oh no! My identity has been stolen!

Liam (in his Superman costume, of course): Ma'am, that was pretty stupid not to buy LifeLock. Did you know that for every car that gets stolen, eleven people get their identities stolen? You wouldn't leave your car unlocked. Why would you leave your life unlocked?

Amelia: (Pretend sobbing.) Can you help me?

Liam: Yes! LifeLock works 'round the clock to protect you. Other credit monitoring systems don't tell you until weeks after your identity has been compromised, but at LifeLock we can stop it before it happens.

Amelia: But what if someone steals it anyway?

Liam: Well, LifeLock gives you a ONE MILLION DOLLAR guarantee to work to resolve any identity theft that may occur under our watch.

Amelia: Oh thank you, LifeLock, for protecting my good name and my family's future!

So not only are they infomercial-obsessed, they have taken it to a creepy new level.

If they start yelling, "Billy Mays here!" while dumping ink on their white shirts, I may have to stage an intervention.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just say yes to drugs.

(Admittedly not the best picture for this post, since he looks completely stoned.)

So, Tuesday I had to go to an award ceremony for the first grade. Liam was getting a citizenship award and an award for being on the straight A honor roll.

This was a big deal.

For the first nine weeks of school, Liam was suspended regularly. I would get phone calls daily from the principal. His (mis)behavior of choice was to scream as loud as he could, for as long as he could. Long, ear piercing shrieks. He could keep it up for hours. We went through two bars of Ivory during those nine weeks, thinking that if he associated the screaming with a bar of soap in his mouth for a while, maybe he'd stop.

That didn't work out. He still screamed, but with the added bonus of diarrhea.

It all started in Pre-K. He couldn't sit still. He cried. He threw huge temper tantrums. But, the teachers blamed it on immaturity. With a late August birthday, he was the youngest in class. And academically he was doing fine.

In Kindergarten it got worse, but again it was blamed on immaturity and "just being a boy." Because apparently going on regular screaming rampages through the classroom is normal boy behavior.

At this point I suspected it was more than immaturity, but his teacher and school counselors didn't think so. And since I didn't want it to be more than that, I listened to them.

Then we moved and he started first grade, and his episodes were worse than ever. And the suspensions started. When I took him for his school physical in September, about five minutes into the exam the pediatrician asked if I'd ever had him evaluated for ADHD. I hadn't even had a chance to mention his behavior problems at school. Just the fact that he could not seem to be still or quiet for even 30 seconds made the doctor suspect.

So, we scheduled a behavioral evaluation. And everyone involved agreed that Liam had ADHD, and it was severe. And across the board they recommended medication.

I'll admit that before this, I firmly believed that ADHD was way over diagnosed, and way over medicated. And I'll even admit that I thought a lot of the parents who gave their kids ADHD meds did so because they were too lazy to really parent their kids and try behavior modification.

I know, I know.

I still think that it's over diagnosed and over medicated. And I still think there are some parents who drug their kids up beyond what they actually need because it's easier than dealing with the child.

But I also now realize that this is a real disorder. That their brain chemistry is a little haywire. And that sometimes drugs really are the answer.

We started him on medication, but I still struggled with that decision.

And after a few weeks, his teacher wrote that it was like having a new kid in class. That he was still the same sweet Liam he always had been, and still very active and a little crazy, but she could see that he was actually listening now. He could stay focused on his work. He could play with other kids, which was something he simply couldn't do before. Before the medication, his brain couldn't slow down enough to allow him to interact normally with other six year-olds.

But the real turning point that put my mind at ease about the decision was when I asked Liam himself about it. He told us that it "fixed his ears," because now he could hear the teacher. And that it "made his friends like playing with him more" because he could stop talking long enough to actually play, and he could listen to what they wanted to play sometimes, too. And then he said it "took the motor out of his legs." He said that before, there was a motor in his legs that made his body move all the time. He said he couldn't stop it--that his body would move and move until he fell asleep, but since he started taking his pills, the motor was gone. I asked him if he felt better or worse taking the pills, and he said better. He said that before the pills he was always "fighting with his brain." How can I argue with that?

And it's not all perfect. The medication makes it hard for him to sleep and decreases his appetite. So, he has to take a prescription antihistamine at bedtime that helps make him drowsy and also increases his appetite. And afternoons are hard, as are early mornings. He only takes medication at breakfast, and it wears off by around 4:00. So, it takes some work to get him to settle down after school, and getting him to focus enough to get dressed when he wakes up is a struggle. I have to get him up an hour earlier than necessary because it takes him that long to get dressed. But overall, the medication has made life better for everyone involved.

I know there are other parents like me who might be opposed to medicating their child. If you're one of them, and your doctor thinks that medication might be the way to go, I would urge you try it. You don't know what it's like for your child. They may be suffering--or "fighting with their brain"--unnecessarily.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guest Post: She's not an insurgent, but she can probably milk a cow. Or goat. Or something.

Annie from Hard Labor Is Seriously Ruining My Manicure submitted this after she saw my request for guest posts. Sure, it borders on blog-whoring rather than being an actual guest post. However, I
do think she's funny, and I do like her blog, and frankly, I admire the cajones it takes to shamelessly get out there and plug one's own blog. Also, she said lots of nice things about me, and clearly flattery will get you everywhere. So, enjoy!

Dear Douglass Diary followers,

I am not an Al-Qaeda insurgent. Just so you know.

I am, however, a fellow member of The League of Funny Bitches which actually may be more dangerous. Because we might make you laugh to death.

I discovered Brandi through The League and I sort of fell in love with her blog and begged her to let me guest post some day. She put me through a fairly rigorous background check and physical fitness regimen before finally giving me the ok.

I was trying to figure out a way to shamelessly whore out my own blog while seamlessly tying it to Douglass Diaries when it became clear. Not only do Brandi and I both suffer from massive crotch massacres (I’m literally bleeding into an Ultraplus OB right now!) we have both been victims of people hating us while we were simply trying to get in shape.

While Brandi’s infamous incident at the Y pool was certainly more bizarre and misogynist than my own, I too have had my bouts with some nasty folks while working out. You can read about it here in all its ugliness: BITCHES AT THE GYM.

Looking back, I see that I was very angry when I wrote that post and sound sort of mean. I’m not, I just don’t like being ostracized by gym hos. Plus, I’m very sensitive and I don’t like it when people gang up on me.

Ok back to the bleeding. To all you fellow menstruators out there, I’d like to introduce you to the cutest tampons I’ve ever seen: CZECH IT OUT.

They are not super absorbent, nor are they really absorbent at all, but I was in Eastern Europe when I unexpectedly got a visit from the monthly crime scene in my pants and they didn’t have any other tampons for sale at the bodega or whatever they call it in Czech. Those little guys are undeniably cute even if you have to change them every two minutes (although I don’t know if red was the best choice for the flower color).

Well that’s all folks. I hope you can come by and enjoy my blog from time to time. It’s not as awesome as this one, but it’s funny sometimes (I think) and it has a fun fish out of water theme. Who doesn’t love that? Themes rule. Fish rule.

Yours, Citygirl Farmhand

Friday, January 21, 2011

What is this? The Bachelor?

I went into Amelia's room yesterday and discovered this.

Apparently she's chosen to deal with her feelings by making Will the pimp of the Barbie Dream House.

That whore Ariel better watch her step, or she's going to find herself battered and fried with a side of fries.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The best bad day ever.

So now that he's gone, it's O.K. for me to tell you (and the terrorists) that Will left last night. When I heard from him this afternoon he was in Ireland waiting for the plane to be refueled.

I really expected today to suck. I fully intended to stay in my pajamas all day, watch Battlestar Galactica, cry and maybe eat some sugar free brownies.

But when I woke up, it wasn't so bad. I exercised, I showered, I actually got dressed in something other than yoga pants, I didn't cry much, and when I checked my e-mail I had a message from Emily Friedman, who is a reporter for

It turns out that Ms. Friedman saw my post about the Great OB Tampon Shortage of 2011. She herself is writing an article about that very topic and wanted to interview me for it.

Let me repeat: A reporter, from a legitimate and esteemed news organization, wanted to interview me. About my tampons.

Well hell yes, I'll do your interview!

So, she called me. And talked to me about my tampons.

She was very professional, and she did a great job, but it was really hard to answer questions about what emotions I felt when I discovered my beloved OBs were nowhere to be found with a straight face. I suspect that it was just as hard for her to ask them while remaining professional. At one point I believe I said that I felt "panicked", because "I don't want to walk around bleeding all over the place." Yes, internets. I really said that in an interview for an article that will be seen by possibly a million people.

And as she finished up the interview she mentioned that my blog would be named, quoted and linked in the article.

Sweet baby Brangelina in a manger, my blog is going to be posted on ABCNews dot freaking com.

I always wanted to be famous. I never imagined it would be because I couldn't find my tampons.

I'm trying not to let it go to my head, but when I was at the grocery store today a woman cut me off in the parking lot. I really wanted to get all up in her face and ask her, "Do you know who I am?"

So, anyway, today didn't suck.

And the icing on the cake? I logged on to find that someone had sent me this little gem. Not only did it make my day, but it made my kids' day as well.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Maybe this year won't be so bad after all.

Dammit. I got cut!! I didn't make it into the article. I take it all back. Today sucks. Click HERE for the article. Ms. Friedman, don't screw with me like that!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just in case they really DO read my blog.

(So, internets, Will is leaving really soon. I can't say exactly when because as we all know, the terrorists read my blog and they might use the information against us. Lets just say we're down to counting hours. Anyway, I don't know if you've ever felt like you were suppressing a complete and total emotional breakdown 24/7, but that's kind of what it's like here right now. So, I probably won't be posting for a bit.
As always, if any of you would like to guest post, send it to me at the address over there--->.)

Dear Al-Qaeda Insurgents,

First, thanks for stopping by the blog! Welcome! Take a few minutes to look around and read some old posts. Just maybe avoid that one about the YMCA pool. It might upset you and I don't need my minivan blown up in parking lot of Wal-Mart.

Anyway, the main reason I'm writing is because pretty soon my husband will be visiting your lovely country, and I was wondering if maybe you could not kill him? I know that technically he's going there to help people obliterate you from the face of the Earth, but it's nothing personal. Honestly. We just needed the health care coverage. He's just the guy keeping the communication systems working. You know, "don't kill the messenger" and all that.

As an added incentive, upon his safe return in one year I will send you a basket of homemade mini muffins. I mean, who can resist a muffin basket? They're really good. Lemon-poppy seed is my specialty. Poppy seeds are a big thing in your country! See? I totally embrace your culture. Well, minus the whole wiping your butt with your hand thing. I'm not down with that. But you know, baby steps.

So, anyway, if you could maybe lay off the rockets, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers for the next year, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks a bunch!


Friday, January 14, 2011

730 days ago

This was me.

Over the course of two years I've lost 155 pounds, had pounds and pounds of hanging skin removed from my abdomen, and then gained 17 pounds back.

I've gone from needing cholesterol medication, two blood pressure medications and an obscene amount of insulin daily to needing nothing. Nothing. Just my vitamins.

I've gone from being a professional couch potato to someone who genuinely enjoys exercise.

I used to be The Dorito Queen. Now, I haven't eaten them in years. (But we're not going to discuss jalapeno chips, O.K.?)

But most importantly, I kind of like my body now. It's far from perfect. I'll never wear a bikini. I'll be saggy and I'll have scars for the rest of my life. But I'm O.K. with that now. And I think that that's the biggest success of these two years.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

If my uterus had a face, it would be a frowny face.

Warning: I am about to talk about my period. And tampons. And other things used to deal with the flow of menstrual blood. And I possibly might even mention vaginas. And conspiracy theories about tampons and/or vaginas and/or Johnson & Johnson. If you don't want to read about these things, or if reading the phrase "menstrual blood" has alrea
dy made you uncomfortable, you should probably leave now.

So, I have mentioned before that I have horrible, horrible periods (I believe I've described them as "crotch massacres"). My whole reproductive tract is like a carnival freak show. Years of infertility, eight pound, bowling ball sized ovarian cysts, endometriosis all over the place, three incidences of biopsies because they thought I had cancer...It's just a mess up in there.

But really, the worst are my periods. Two days a month I can't even leave the house. I'm not exaggerating, I'm not being melodramatic. The bleeding is so heavy I cannot go anywhere or do anything other than sit as still as possible so as not to bleed all over everything. And then for five to seven days after that, it's still pretty bad, but at least I can function.

So I, and people like me, try to find ways to deal with it. And I had finally found something that worked. About eight years ago, OB started making Ultraplus absorbency tampons. These suckers were the highest absorbency tampon you could buy. They claimed to hold, like, a gallon of blood before they started leaking. And for the most part they did. Between those and enormous, overnight length incontinence pads, I was able to get through the two worst days a month with minimal spillage from my hemorrhaging lady bits.

But then they started to get hard to find. And in November when we were vacationing in Hillbilly Country and my uterus decided to ruin the trip, I searched numerous stores and pharmacies and couldn't find them anywhere. I couldn't find them when we got home, either.

Turns out that they discontinued that absorbency level. Forever. For a while there if you went to OB's website and clicked on the Ultraplus tampons, you got taken to a page that tells you to see a doctor because you probably have cancer and need a hysterectomy. Terrific.

And then last month I couldn't find any OB tampons of any absorbency level. Anywhere. I finally found some Superplus absorbency ones and bought several boxes.

I didn't think anything of it until last night. Tex mentioned on her blog that she couldn't find OB anywhere either, and she's several states away.

And that's when we both did a little Googling and discovered the Johnson & Johnson conspiracy. You see, apparently Johnson & Johnson, the maker of OB Tampons, hates vaginas. Babies? They love them. Vaginas? Not so much. That's the only reason I can come up with to explain the "supply interruption" they are blaming for the shortage. I mean really, they're cotton and string. Are we now out of cotton and string?

I know right about now some of you are wondering why I don't just buy a different brand and quit whining. I'll tell you why, and you'll probably be sorry you asked when I'm done.

The unique thing about OB is that they have no applicator. (If you don't know what a tampon applicator is you are probably either male or too young to be reading my blog). I have tried tampons with applicators and I cannot use them. They don't go where they're supposed to go. They fall out. I'm sure it's just another facet to my reproductive side show, but whatever the reason, I just can't use them.

Anyway, I posted my discovery of The Great OB Tampon Shortage of 2011 on Facebook this morning, which has resulted in an impromptu OB black market covering 2 continents and multiple states. Tex just spent her kids' college funds buying what her Rite-Aid had left in stock. So, if you need OBs, I have connections. Let me know. But it will cost you. (You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Two boxes of the discontinued Ultraplus variety are going for $100 on Ebay, and that's just the starting bid. And someone will buy them. I watched two boxes go for $142.00 last night. Vaginas are serious business.)

Funnily, just recently I had three different friends e-mail me about Diva Menstrual Cups (as one told me, I'm the only one who talks about periods so maybe I could spread the word). I have avoided them because taking them out seems so...incredibly messy. But maybe Johnson & Johnson's hatred of our bleeding uteri is going to force me to give them a try.

(And for the record it's not just me who is in a panic over the lack of OB tampons. Read this.)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Send help.

The Army threw up all over my living room.

And all over my husband.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm a planner.

It's no secret that I need order and rigid structure to function. Disorder makes me crazy. Literally.

An extension of that is my need to have a plan. I get very anxious when I don't have a plan. Having a plan for everything makes me feel like there is order in my life.

That's not to say that I don't welcome some spontaneity. If we go on vacation, I don't have every minute of every day mapped out and scheduled. I'm O.K. with doing whatever we feel like doing when we wake up that day. But you can bet that I'd planned out exactly where we would stay and how we would get there and what we would do while we were there--just not specifically what day we'd do them.

As soon as we find out that the Army is moving us yet again, I immediately start looking at houses, schools, neighborhoods, etc... in the new area.

I like to be in control, and having a plan in place makes me feel like I have some shred of control over the situation. I may not get to choose where the Army sends us, or when they send us, but I get some comfort out of having a plan in place for when we get there.

As anyone in the military knows, plans are often thwarted. "What's that? You've made full preparations to move to Tacoma? Too bad. You're going to rural Georgia instead." And then I start the planning phase all over again.

Deep down, I know my planning is futile. More often than not, something changes that makes my plans obsolete. But making the plan helps, so I keep doing it.

Will leaves for a year in Afghanistan soon. It's stressful and scary. We've done it before. I know that I'll be fine. I already have many, many plans in place to get through the year.

But the scariest and most stressful part of the deployment for me is that slightly increased chance that he could be killed. Logically I know that he could die on the way home from work today, or have an aneurysm in his sleep. There's a chance for death for all of us every single minute of every single day. I get that. But when your husband heads off to a place rife with insurgents, a place that 104 soldiers from this very Army post have already died this year, a place where military analysts predict a Spring that will be far deadlier than the past several months have already been, you can't help but worry.

And so I plan.

I can't control what happens there. I can't keep him from dying there. So all I can do is plan for the worst case scenario. I can control what happens after.

(Umm, hi sweetie! You know how you think I spend all day playing on the internet and spending all the money? Yeah, actually I spend it planning out my life in the event of your untimely death. Love you!)

It's not fun. I like browsing houses for sale, but not when part of me is wondering if we'll need less square footage with one less person in the house.

But I have my plan in place. I'm pretty sure I know where I would go and what I would do if the worst were to happen. I hope it's a plan I never have to use, but I get a tiny bit of comfort knowing that it's there.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Skiing is for people with a death wish.

So, did you guys read the story last week about the ski lift in Maine that came off the track and a bunch of people fell twenty-five feet to the ground (which, luckily, was covered in 2 feet of new snow that softened the landing)?

You know what was most shocking to me about this story? That I wasn't on the lift when it happened. Because I'm pretty much convinced that if I get on a ski lift (or anything remotely like it) that it will break, or I will slip off, and I will plummet to my death. And if somehow I manage to make it to the top of the mountain, I will surely die while skiing down it.

My first time skiing was in 6th grade. We had a class ski trip. I took the free lesson and reluctantly got on the lift with my friend. I white knuckled it all the way to the top, convinced I was going to die. Then, when it reached the top, I had no idea how to get off. I proceeded to fall on my face and get knocked in the head by the seat as it passed over me. They had to stop the lift while they helped me up.

And then? Then I was too chicken to actually ski down the hill. I took off my skis and walked down the mountain.

I decided I'd be better off sticking to the bunny hill. I did just fine for about 10 minutes, but then I fell. And I could not get up. And I couldn't get the skis to release so I could take them off. So, there I was--an eleven year old fat kid stuck on the ground begging the people who walked by to help me up. No one would, the bastards. I was stuck on the ground for close to an hour. An hour! I finally managed to get one of the skis off and got up. I spent the rest of the day in the lodge.

My second experience with skiing was many years later when I was a nanny during college in Utah. The woman I worked for invited me to join the family at a night-skiing event hosted by her employer. For some reason, I accepted. Because, you know, skiing in the dark is so much safer than in broad daylight.

This time I opted for a much more in-depth lesson, and I told the instructor that I was pretty sure that I was going to die. He was really nice, and he rode up on the lift with me and helped me get off it without causing them to stop the lift or giving myself a concussion.

But then I had a panic attack when he suggested I ski down the hill. What? Look, getting me up here was a major feat, buddy, and now you want me to ski down? No thanks.

But he was persistent and got me to try. And this is how it went down: I screamed and cried and hyperventilated. He ended up going down the entire mountain backwards while holding on to me, all while moving maybe a foot per minute.

Right now some of you might be thinking, "Brandi! You should totally try cross country skiing! No mountains!"

Yeah, I tried that too. Admittedly it wasn't bad. I may have even enjoyed it a little. However, 15 minutes into it, we started seeing blood on the trail. And the further we went, the more blood there was. By the time we reached the end of the trail, someone had clearly lost enough blood that it's doubtful they walked out on their own two feet. So, obviously even cross country skiing can be deadly.

So, in conclusion, skiing is evil. It killed Sonny Bono and Natasha Richardon, and it's been gunning for me since 1986.

Just say no.