Dellabee and Me

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Archive for the month “August, 2011”


I was reading blogs today (my daily hobby) and came across photos of one blogger’s trip with her family to Hawaii. And then I felt it: envy, strong as thirst in the desert.

I am not so pure of heart that I will claim to never feeling this way. I am used to wanting what other people have. Beauty, thinness, great hair – all things I covet in others. And of course the tangibles, things like cars and clothes, I have wanted those too.

But this thing about the vacation pictures, well, it is a little bit different. It is not that I want the trip to Hawaii. I have been before, it was hot nice and expensive  fancy. It’s not even the idea of taking a vacation.

It’s the life.

I really look forward to the day when I can turn to my husband and announce that it would be nice to plan a vacation. And then actually do it. I look forward to planning a trip that does not revolve around the fleeting interests of my young children. I anticipate the day I can decide that we will plan something in the future and then put that plan into action. And how great would it be to go someplace without finances impacting every. single. decision.

Two years ago, we walked away from the life we were muddling through on the west coast. The economic crash wreaked havoc. We left two homes, one job, one foster child, several friends, and whole bunch of debt. We filed bankruptcy, and then struggled paycheck to paycheck for the next year until I went back to work.

We learned a painful lesson: we don’t know anything about money.

Now, I don’t buy anything on credit. Well, that’s not true – we had to re-establish our credit which meant we had to open a few high-interest accounts. Right now the only balance I carry is on my interest-free account with Dell. We had to buy a second vehicle after turning the minivan back in to the bank, and bought a used Honda with an obscenely high interest loan. After a year, we were able to refinance it at a pretty low rate. We comparison-shopped health insurance. I use coupons and cook more.

Although I feel like we are heading in the right direction – we will probably buy a home in the next year – I still often feel like I am moving through quicksand. We are able to “get-by”, even with my sudden, unexpected job loss. But we are not able to really “live.” Although I can pay all the bills and get the groceries we need (and a few items we want), we can’t do the typical family things like take trips or even enroll the kids in regular activities because of the cost.

I know this is temporary. We are rebuilding. We will be okay. We will plan vacations. We will have our own home again.

The envy isn’t about the money. It’s about being in that stage of life, the settled contentment that comes with believing you have things figured out and a clear plan that you are following.

I just wish I could fast-forward for a little bit, and get us to the point where we can relax a little bit and enjoy life.

Until then, I guess I’ll keep dreaming.




The Dentist

I do not like going to the dentist.

Apparently, my earliest visits to the dentist ended with my screaming/shrieking/thrashing about so much so they prescribed some sort of tranquilizer for me to take pre-visit. Only the prescription needed to be crushed up because I didn’t take pills. And once crushed it tasted horrible, so my mother had to try to hide it in different foods.

It didn’t take me long to figure out if my mother was randomly offering me small bowls of applesauce, there was something in it and I didn’t want it.

It seems that most of my childhood dentists were Indian. Being a dentist or a doctor is a normal expectation for Indian kids. Unfortunately, I became a bit biased against Indian dentists. My early dentist, Dr. Desai, had a thick accent and very fat fingers. I clearly recall him asking me a question, while his fingers were in my mouth, and when I tried to answer him he told me to stop talking. Umm…

Back then, his staff spent a great deal of time trying to convince me that what I thought of as “pain” was actually “pressure.” I had teeth pulled, dry sockets, infected teeth, fillings, caps, crowns. I was given nitrous all.the.time. The work done on my mouth probably paid for all of Dr. Desai’s kids to go to medical school. Hint: I have bad teeth.

Only in my adulthood, after researching and finding the kindest, most awesome dentist ever, did I discover that I had difficulty getting numb because the nerves in my jaw are about an inch and a half deeper than normal. Turns out that all those years of me insisting I could feel them drilling my face off, I really could! Ha ha, Dr. Desai, you fat-fingered douche.

Because of my dental “issues”, I confess that I dragged my feet when it came to bringing my kids to the dentist. I was scared for them, but I was mostly scared that I’d freak out while they were in the chair and it would scar them forever. I have nearly passed out every time my kids have had surgery or been at the hospital. I didn’t think they needed my sympathy craziness.

When D was 4, I located a pediatric dentist in the mountain town in which we lived. Let me just say, pediatric dentistry has come a LOOONNNNGGGG way. Video games in the waiting room. Televisions in the ceiling. Toys and games every where, kid-friendly dental assistants. I wanted to go to this dentist. D had some minor work done – he had “pits” in a few back teeth that were sealed, and a few small cavities filled. He had one larger cavity that needed to be taken care of but we moved cross-country before we could get it addressed. Sadly, I waited 2 years to find a pediatric dentist in my new city.

I brought the kids to the dentist for the first time here last week. Nothing puts your parenting on trial quite like that first trip to the dentist. “Do they floss?” they asked me innocently, and I nearly snorted. Floss? E can’t sit still long enough for me to trim her bangs evenly. Of course they don’t floss. And I don’t floss them. Yes, they brush their teeth twice a day (most of the time…). No, I don’t brush their teeth, but sometimes I will go over them after they’ve done it.

The kids appointment was completely different from what any of mine had been like as a child. For example, nobody restrained them. That was a nice change. The hygienist gave D a fluoride treatment, which when I last had one of those it was similar to medieval torture – left alone in the dental chair with trays filled with fluoride covering both the top and bottom teeth, with the only instructions being “DON”T SWALLOW IT!” so instead I drooled all down the front of me – only when D had his the hygienist sat next to him and SUCTIONED his mouth out so he didn’t swallow or drool. I was impressed.

Turns out, the kids have cavities. Apparently I should have been flossing them. So now every night they brush their teeth, then one of us will re-brush for them, then floss them, then they rinse with ACT. FYI – flossing your children’s teeth is gross. Not as gross as flossing my own, but still pretty gross.

But it has inspired me to be more invested in my own teeth. I am flossing more regularly now. Because really, I’d like to not have to fork over a billion dollars at every dental visit.

I have my own kids to put through college, Mr. Dentist. Be gentle.


In Which I Work Out

It has taken me many years to come to grips with my phobia of the gym.

Much like the first time I took my newborn out in public and I couldn’t steer the stroller and I felt all shaky and weird, like everyone knew I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I feel like this when I enter the gym.

Years ago I joined a gym near my work and in the process I signed up for their “New Year New You” weight loss program called Apex. I was about 25 pounds overweight. The program was a “customized” diet and weekly work-outs with a “certified personal trainer.” And by the way, you also need to buy these expensive supplements, bars, and powdered drink mix.

My trainer was a former high school fat girl who lost weight in her late teens due to bulimia. She had bleached hair that matched her boyfriend’s – he was also a trainer at the gym and had the same shoulder-length, bleach blonde hair. Someone referred to them as the Olsen twins once while I was there. I would describe my trainer as mentally unstable, moody, huge, and she wore too much eyeliner. The day we met to begin my plan, she measured my body fat with the door to her little office OPEN. I kind of hated her.

She created my diet based off my preferences and a certain ratio of carbs-to-protein-to-fat. Then she created my workout. You must understand what it was like to go into this gym, terrified that she’d be working, because I never knew if she would acknowledge me or not. Sometimes she’d say “hey!” all friendly like, other times she’d be sullen and eyeing her fingernails, or complaining to other employees.

This might have set the tone for my gym fear. Yes, I did feel like everyone was watching me and knew I was out of shape and therefore gross. But I also felt like I was on eggshells the entire time I was there because I was either worrying that she’d show up, or worrying about how she had responded to me when I arrived.

Imagine my shock when she met with me after my program was over and asked me if I wanted to continue training with her. She said to me, without eye contact, “I mean, I like working with you and I hope you like working with me.” Um, wtf? She was trying to sell me more training time. She liked working with me? I was shocked when lightning did not, in fact, strike her dead.

So now I go to the gym with a certain level of anxiety. If I am using equipment, I worry that I will appear ignorant. Monday I had to adjust a weight bench and honestly I felt like someone asked me to work a hologram machine. Huh? Turns out I only needed to lift the seat up. If I am taking a class, oh dear god, I am a wreck. I have done most of the classes before thanks to a friend who used to go to the gym all the time until she just moved away. 😦 At least I have the template of what I am supposed to do already laid out for me.

But, I must confess to dueling realities: I LOVE to dance, but I can’t actually dance. I LOVE zumba, but what I end up doing with my body does not resemble zumba. The gym offers a class called “dance cardio” which I took the other day, and I seriously do not understand what is wrong with me that I can’t pick up basic dance steps. The instructor demonstrates the move, it is all around me in mirrors, but I have no idea what I am doing.

I can not do the class with anyone I know in attendance, because it will up my anxiety level. I prefer to muddle along anonymously screwing up every single move until the class ends.

I’m working on getting to the place where I don’t care. I have figured out that this is easier for me if I can NOT see myself in the mirror. As long as I am buried somewhere in the middle of the pack, I am ok.

But, today I chose to avoid the gym and just ran around my neighborhood. I’m sure I’ll be back tomorrow.

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