Thursday, November 29, 2012

Instead Softcup Review

Remember in the 4th grade, when all the girls were brought to the cafeteria to see "the film" and then sent home with the book "Growing Up and Liking It?" All the boys were in the dark and wanted to know the big secret? Well, this is going to be one of those girlie discussions, so I'm just warning you, there might be some over-sharing here, but it's for good reason...

My four sisters and I have sat around my parents' kitchen table for years wondering why there hasn't been a plug or something invented to stop that annoying menstrual flow, especially since I've had my tubes tied and see no need for my period anymore (I know there's a biological reason, it just annoys me).

*CUE CHOIR OF ANGELS SINGING*


And there it was. The opportunity to try something that seems too simple to not have been around FOREVER fell into my lap. Tina over at For The Love Of The Run shared with her readers the chance to try the Instead Softcup. Instead sends you a one month supply (a 14 count box) of Softcups to try, and the company wants you to share your thoughts and feelings about how they worked for you. For writing your review on your blog, Instead will in return pay for one of your race registrations (up to $125!!)! The company wants to know how their product performs during your cycle, no matter what activity you my be involved in, like running!

Today is the second day of the second cycle I've used the Softcup. This month I think I really got the hang of it. There's definitely a learning curve to this thing, but not unlike when you were figuring out a tampon or the proper placement of a pad to ensure perfect coverage. I'll just tell you right now, the Softcup is A LOT nicer to figure out than experiencing the insane "sensation" of pinching your unbelievably sensitive skin of your nether region between those two plastic cylinders.

The website suggests you try out the Softcup on one of your lighter flow days. Since it can be a bit messy when removing it, you're best not to have a full cup to contend with while you become comfortable with it. I'm fortunate in that my downstairs bathroom is about 4'x4', so the toilet is right next to the sink and clean up is a breeze. Today I did my usual household chores, going up and down flights of stairs, doing laundry, putting it away... and then in the afternoon, I went to the gym. I put in my 15 minutes (3,200 meters!) on the rowing machine and didn't feel a thing. After that, I hit the treadmill to run my mile and continue my running streak. Got 'er done in 9:10! I ran fast, still didn't feel the cup, and when I went to the bathroom after my workout there was no leakage. I still wear a pad, just in case. I'm a creature of habit and also studied at the school of "better safe than sorry."

The only negative thing I could think about the Softcup is that it is messy. Maybe I haven't perfected my "technique" yet and it'll get better, but I don't want to find out what I'd have to do if I wasn't in my own cubby of a bathroom and I had to dump and toss it. It might involve an entire roll of toilet paper.

All of the product information is on the Softcup website at www.softcup.com. You can see instructions how to insert the cup with illustrations, as well as a list of comparisons between the Softcup, tampons and pads. The differences that stood out for me was that the Softcup is not linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome because it is non-absorbent, so it does not change the bacteria in the vagina like a tampon. Because of this and the fact that it is made of hypoallergenic, non-toxic, latex-free plastic, the Softcup can be worn for up to 12 hours and overnight. Instead claims that the cup can be worn during sex. I'll have to take their word for it because I just can't imagine having sex with ANYTHING up there, not to mention I'm just usually not that into it at that time of the month. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

After reviewing Tina's post about the Softcup, I was shocked to read that she has been using it for six years and it has been around for 10! How is it that myself, nor my four sisters have heard of it? Hopefully this Softcup Challenge will help spread the word about a great alternative to tampons and pads.

This review of the Softcup was my own opinion. I received the Softcup free to try. If you would like to put your two cents in and you're a blogger, then fill out the contact sheet on www.fortheloveoftherun.com and see if there's still a chance for you to accept the Softcup Challenge.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Horror Stories

After yesterday's post, I got to the gym and ran 5 miles in 51:45. I was going to take it really easy and just lock the treadmill in at 5.8 mph, but I got bored and played with my speed. Thankfully I had Kathy Lee and Hoda to keep me somewhat distracted. When I was at the gym, one of the guys was working out with this funky mask on, think Fava beans and Chianti. I know he's looking to join the service in January, so I thought he was training with a sort of gas mask on, getting acclimated to wearing one. Turns out it's an elevation training mask.


This thing restricts air flow to your mouth and nose, mimicking high altitude training, which helps increase lung capacity and stamina. Interesting, but I'm pretty sure I won't be running the streets of my neighborhood in that contraption, although I wonder if it would at least warm the air you breathe, making winter running a little easier? It's $80, in case you were wondering, so a scarf will do.

After the gym, I made myself lunch- grilled mozzarella cheese on whole wheat bread with some garlic powder added into the melting butter and tomato sauce for dipping. It was delicious. Then I went to the oral surgeon's. Got there at 3:30 pm, promptly had x-rays taken, brought into an exam room, read consent forms, and waited. And waited. The dr. finally came in at 4:30 pm and numbed me, then left. Finally, ten minutes later she started. Holy crap. I was sure after reading the list of things that cold possibly go wrong that I would suffer at least one or two. I swear one of the instruments she was using, possibly pliers, (I couldn't tell you what since I had my eyes squeezed shut, with maybe a tear or two rolling out, the entire time), was going to slip off and impale the roof of my mouth, after taking out one or two healthy teeth along the way. I just kept asking God for it to be over soon. Horrific.

I got out of there and had to fill the three prescriptions she gave me- an extra-strength ibuprofen, the "do not operate heavy machinery" kind, and ANOTHER antibiotic, taken four times a day. I don't know if any of you read Drazil's Blog, but she just posted about the agony she endured after being on several strong antibiotics for some ear pain. Let me just say it included the desperate notion of a vaginectomy (PLEASE, do NOT Google that word. Save yourself from the images that are now burned in my brain forever more.) and a bag of frozen peas. We can now all agree where the term "Fire Crotch" originated.

After getting home I just laid around and caught up with 'Flipping Out' and 'Little People, Big World.' When the bleeding finally stopped, after the disgusting tea bag compress, I could take my antibiotic and a pain pill. I slept like a log. Now I just have to wait until the clock hits 24 hours since the extraction so I can run my mile.   That'll bring me to around 5 pm. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to handle anything else at the gym, but I have to make sure I'm home to watch the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"Rowing" Along

It's Tuesday (in case you didn't know?). I HAVE to get a long run in today since I'm having a visit with the oral surgeon to get a bad tooth removed this afternoon. Wonder how I'll feel after that. Unfortunately, I had the same tooth on the other side of my mouth removed a few years ago, so I know it wasn't that bad, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't running then! I just need to continue my running streak and get at least a mile in the rest of the work week. I should be back to business as usual for another long run on Saturday or Sunday when the temperature will be a balmy 55*.

So I have managed to run every day since Thanksgiving. I hope my body can keep it up! At the gym, I've been hitting the rowing machine for 15 minutes, then the arc trainer for 30 or 45, and then finishing up with the treadmill for 1.5 miles. That rowing machine is just amazing. I like to do sprints, change up my grip from overhand to underhand to work the biceps and keep it interesting. (There's even a game where you're a little fish trying to avoid getting eaten by a big fish!) I think of all that rowing I watched during the Olympics while I'm doing it. And the Winkelvoss "twins" from 'The Social Network.' I envision looking that smooth doing it, too. Thankfully there are no mirrors around to prove otherwise.



I didn't get much done this weekend. On Sunday our Ragnar Relay team had a nice conference call, trying to wrap up all the details of travelling, running and celebrating our accomplishments. I can not believe that in 5 weeks and 2 days we'll all be coming from our own little corners of the country to meet and embark on this crazy adventure. After 11 months of waiting and anticipating, it's almost here! I still have to figure out how to get Charlie from Miami to Key West and then both of us from Key West to Miami for our flight home. I looked into changing our arrangements and having him stay in Key West an extra night and it wasn't possible. The hotel was booked solid.  *biting nails*

Yesterday I was up uber early to get my parents to the airport for their flight to FL by 5 am. Who am I kidding? I hardly slept worrying about OVER sleeping. Thankfully they were coming to get me, so even if I had overslept they would've woken me up and it would've been fine. We got to the airport, unloaded their luggage and said goodbye by 4:40 am. Unfortunately, you can't wait with them at the gate at this airport, so our goodbye felt very rushed, but I'm glad we were there with plenty of time to spare. I took my dad's car home with me, returning it to their house later in the morning. I waited so it would warm up a bit for my 2.25 mile walk home. Then, in the afternoon, I did my workout and run at the gym. Even though I'm not liking the little detail of not having any money, I do enjoy having more time to work out, and write, and Pin...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Streaking

So that Runner's World streak began yesterday. I had also signed up to join Facebook friends in a virtual Turkey Trot, so I had to run 3.1 on Thanksgiving. I'm keeping the "running on Thanksgiving" tradition alive, three years strong. Charlie's knee was bothering him, so I went solo this year. I ran 1.5 miles down the highway and then turned into a development when it happened. I rolled my frickin' left ankle. I couldn't believe it. It hurt slightly and I thought "I just royally effed up my Ragnar Relay." I stopped and checked to see if it started to swell and I walked a little bit to see how it felt. I was glad I had my phone with me, just in case. By some miracle, it felt okay, so I started to run again, but slowly and cautiously. Thankfully, the rest of the run was uneventful and I made it home without having to call in the cavalry. 3.1 in 31:49. Done.

My family celebrates Thanksgiving at my sister's house, and there's a grand total of 28 of us. That's just my parents, siblings, spouses and children (sans 1 brother, his wife and two kids). We sit at three tables and need two turkeys. We all bring appetizers, side dishes and dessert. I decided to make my usual spinach dip (which can be found on the Lipton Vegetable Soup Mix box, minus the water chestnuts) and Cheesy Italian Monkey Bread with marinara sauce for dipping as appetizers. For dinner, I made Alton Brown's Brussel Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans because I've discovered I love Brussel sprouts and I found out several of my family members like them, too. Finally, for dessert I made No Bake Chocolate Eclair Dessert. I think everything came out delicious, of course there's no accounting for taste.

The buffet consists of two platters of turkey, butternut squash soup, a 1/2 tray of sausage stuffing, a 1/2 tray of my dad's stuffing, 2- 1/2 trays of sweet potatoes (with the melted marshmallows- YUM!), a 1/2 tray of mac and cheese, a tray of garlic string beans, 2- 1/2 trays of my sister's corn bread and my brussel sprouts in the pretty Temptations dish.


I ate like I was being sent to the electric chair. WTF? I had shrimp cocktail, my bread and dip, a stuffed clam, a couple of pigs in a blanket, three medium size glasses of Moscato... Then for dinner I had turkey (white meat), two servings of my dad's stuffing, sweet potatoes, my brussel sprouts, and garlic string beans. For dessert I had some of my eclair and a tiny taste of my sister's pumpkin bars, which was a Paula Deen recipe, so I HAD to try it. I was so stuffed. Forget about a food baby, I went home with food triplets, at least.

It was no surprise that I went home at 8:30 pm and promptly fell into a food coma. Not a great feeling. So, this morning I was back on track. I had my protein bar and vat o'coffee and headed to the gym. I hit the rowing machine for 15 minutes and the arc trainer for 45. I knew I had to run a mile to keep the streak alive, and I thought I could break up my workouts and do it later in the day, outside, when it got warmer. However, I wanted to try out how my left foot was feeling, and I was afraid I might put off the run until it was no longer do-able, and then I'd eff up my streak, so I just jumped on the treadmill. I thought it would be wise to do it at the gym instead of possibly hurting myself again and have to hobble home since Charlie's at work! It actually felt okay. I warmed up just 1 minute, ran for 10 and then finished up with a four minute walk at 3.5 mph. It seems like I didn't do any damage yesterday (to my foot, the scale is a WHOLE other story, I'm sure), thank God.

Back to logging and measuring every morsel at My Fitness Pal, as well. I'm hungry, but I'll live. Either tomorrow or Sunday I HAVE to commit to a long run. I think six miles to start, just slow and steady. SIX WEEKS UNTIL RAGNAR!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Blessings Flow

Lately I think we've all been reminded of what really matters in life. Hurricane Sandy really drummed that into us in the northeast last month. The things we own can be lost in a matter of minutes. Our entire life's memories can be washed away with one wave. My friend from A new beginning... My journey to avoid the knife knows this all too well when she lost her home earlier this year due to a tornado. Here in the northeast, entire towns were lost. Thankfully, many lives were spared. Businesses and homes can be rebuilt, washing machines and carpeting can be replaced. I'm not trying to trivialize what the people in Mastic Beach or Lindenhurst or Long Beach or Breezy Point or Seaside Heights or Point Pleasant or Broad Channel have lost. I'm focusing on what they STILL HAVE.

That is what I choose to emphasize to my kids. We HAVE a lot, most things that can not be held and tossed to the curb with the rest of the debris. You may not have the real expensive boots all the other high school girls are wearing, or the popular smartphone (or any cellphone, for that matter), but you have the things that matter the MOST in a happy, comfortable, fulfilling life. First, they have parents that are not only still married, but really love and appreciate each other. I hope that we have been a good example of how a married couple treat each other and they emulate that in their own relationships in the future, and not settle for anything less. Second, we may not be wealthy, but we have enough. Things have been a bit tighter than normal since I haven't been working regularly, but I know that will improve, and so we ride it out. We have a home that is ours, cars that manage to get us to the places we need to be and food in the cabinets. Everything else is merely a want and not a need. Thirdly, we have an amazing family. Unfortunately, my kids lost their Grandma Gloria (A.K.A. Bird Grandma, since when my kids were little they differentiated grandmas by "bird Grandma," with the cockatoo, and "bagel Grandma," since we always go to my parents' house for rolls and bagels after church every Sunday.) back in 2004, but they still have my husband's dad, Grandpa Charlie, and my mom and dad, Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Hank, to learn from and enjoy. We are also very fortunate in that we live so close to our family. We see almost everyone regularly. Sundays are an open invitation to all of my siblings to stop in and grab a cup of coffee and attempt to join in the multiple conversations going on around the table. My husband's sister and her kids are pretty scattered across the country, and we don't get to see them as often as we like, but when we're together, we have the BEST time.

Finally, I hope my kids think they have pretty good parents. We care about them, the people they hang out with, their education and making them work up to their potential, preparing them for an independent future and most importantly, treating people the way they want to be treated. Even if I could give into my kids' every whim and desire, I wouldn't. It doesn't teach them anything and only sets them up for some major disappointment as an adult. They'll either be miserable because they can't afford the thing they think they can't live without or they'll be up to their necks in a mountain of debt. It's not a bad thing to want things, but it shouldn't take over your life. There's always going to be a new and improved model of something on the market, and if you always are wanting something, you'll never be happy.


However, if you put the emphasis on the fact that you are lucky enough to have loving parents, a big, fun family, a house to run home to from the bus stop, and friends to hang out with, then you are blessed with enough. Everything else is a bonus. These are all things I KNOW I am fortunate for. I have a loving husband, smart, funny, thoughtful kids, my parents and my father-in-law, a huge supportive extended family and a home to call my own, as well as the fact that we are all healthy and well.

Last Thanksgiving


So I count my blessings every day and I hope you all are blessed with a meaningful, happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Celebrations and Small Victories

Running in 39* temperature this morning, I think my uvula turned into an icicle and a lung may have collapsed. It didn't help that I'm still getting over bronchitis. I could only push myself for two miles and then I was really sweaty and it was still 39*. That probably can't be good for my health, right? All I could think about was how hard it was and how my Ragnar Relay teammates Lealah and Rik are running the Route 66 marathon in Tulsa, OK this morning. It'll be about 43* at their start. God Bless them!

I'm glad I got that run in, though. I woke up, put my running clothes on, ate half a Fiber One bar, watched the end of 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and then took off. I forgot my mittens and had to go back and I was SO tempted to just stay home, but I kicked my ass outside again. Even the neighborhood dogs knew it was too cold to hang outdoors. My husband's work schedule has changed and he's now going in early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that will make it easier for me to stay on task. I saw something on Pinterest from Runner's World magazine about starting a running streak, so I've pledged to run at least one mile every day starting Thanksgiving through New Year's. I think this will also help keep me to my running program, since the relay is less than seven weeks away!!

It was a busy day full of celebrations. We had our great nephew's dedication at my niece's church in the morning, followed by a little celebration afterwards. I am proud of myself for only having a cup of coffee and passing up on the ginormous cake, bagels and trays and trays of Italian cookies.  I knew we were going straight from her church to my parents to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary. I picked up a huge buttercream frosted cake and we ordered Chinese. I had a nice piece of cake that was fabulous. The frosting was buttercream, but it tasted like really light and fluffy Marshmallow Fluff! It was amazing, to say the least. We had dessert first, so later on, I only had some fried rice, a piece of egg foo young and some sesame chicken. It was probably the best sesame chicken ever. And that was it. I'm home now, and even though I splurged a little on the cake, and know that the small amount of Chinese food I had was still a lot of calories, I'm still in control. I've been good for having a piece of cake and throwing all caution to the wind after that. That's a win in my book.

Look at that crazy fridge plastered with pictures of their 15 grandchildren!

Anyway, the most amazing thing is that my parents celebrated their 55th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!! I'm so happy to see them reach such an amazing milestone. After the last three years of health crises both my parents have endured, I'm just so grateful to be able to enjoy their presence every single day. To celebrate, they're going to Disney World! (And Universal and visiting family, but that doesn't have the same punch as the previous statement.) There's no two people who deserve a vacation more. I love my mom and dad!

Friday, November 16, 2012

On The Mend

So I went to the doctor yesterday. I had an appointment, and even though I wasn't a new patient, there was still paperwork to fill out. No more clipboards for this doctor's office. They have these new-fangled iPad looking thingies with a stylus and even a credit card swiper to pay your copay!! It's called the Phreesia Pad. It still took me about a half hour to fill everything out. Annoying. An hour later and the nurse finally called me in to an exam room. After a strep test, lung capacity test and a tympanogram, I saw a doctor. She checked my ears, nose and glands and said I had an ear infection, sinusitis, and the beginnings of bronchitis. I was just glad to hear it wasn't just a virus and with some antibiotics I would finally get some relief. 5 pills, 5 days. I've only taken one dose and I already feel 100% better than I did. Thanks for all of your get well wishes! Pray I don't get the dreaded side effects of antibiotics!!

Pretty cool, huh?


Since I felt so much better this morning, I figured I'd get to the gym and at least walk. I was a real slug yesterday and the inactivity made me feel even worse. I got on the treadmill and could only manage 1/2 a mile before I was bored out of my skull. I jumped on the arc trainer, figuring I would just take it easy. As I was walking to the machine I was thrilled to discover that our gym now has a ROWING MACHINE!! I used to love rowing (on a machine) in college! <ASIDE: Did you hear about Jon Bon Jovi's daughter overdosing on heroin? She was found in her dorm room at Hamilton College, my alma mater. I never thought I went to a party school. I hope she's doing alright now.> Anyway, the rowing machine was taken, so I did a half hour on the arc trainer and then hopped onto the rower. Gosh, I absolutely LOVED it. It was a fantastic full body workout. 15 minutes and I rowed about 2600 meters, which I just learned is about 1.6 miles. I did another 15 minutes on the arc trainer after that and another 1/2 mile cool down walk on the treadmill. I really hadn't planned on working out that hard after feeling like death warmed over yesterday, but I'm so glad I did. I hope to be able to run tomorrow!

In other news, it's my parents' 55th wedding anniversary! Can you imagine? They've been through a whole lot, and even though they bicker to beat the band, they love each other so much and are the best role models for their kids and grandkids. I hope to celebrate 55 years of wedded bliss with my Charlie. Only 38 years to go!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sick As A Dog

I actually just looked that up. I mean, Molly isn't up all night, pounding back Nyquil, hacking up a lung and sneezing into a pile of tissues, all while rubbing Vicks VapoRub on the bottoms of her feet, chest and nose. Well, it turns out that the saying dates back to the 17th century, but in reference to a dog eating nearly everything and anything THEN hurling it back up when it disagrees with him. "Being sick" in Britain means vomiting and "feeling ill" is what I'm enduring right now. I haven't been this sick in forever.

Thankfully I have the luxury of laying around feeling sorry for myself today. It doesn't help that I broke a tooth a few weeks ago and now that's hurting, too. I'm just a hot mess. It's so bad I actually broke down and made a doctor's appointment for today. Let's just hope that I don't go only to find out that it's a virus. I wonder if my tough workout yesterday compounded the problem. I did an interval run on the treadmill and pushed myself through 4 miles, alternating between 6 and 6.5 mph laps for the first 2 miles, then running 1 minute at 6, 6.5 and 7 mph for the last two miles. After that, I got on the elliptical and could only manage 15 minutes. I was tapped. I coughed a little bit (into my sweat mop and NOT all over everything and everyone), but nothing like I am now. I feel like Cameron in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'- "I'm dying."



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Status Quo

Still no work for me. It's getting me a bit anxious about money, since this is the most expensive time of year, then pile on the trip to Miami for the Ragnar Relay. Adding it all up could make me throw up. I had to start my Christmas shopping since I have a 30% off coupon for Kohl's and I doubt I'll be getting another before Christmas. I earned $30 Kohl's cash, which just happens to overlap with the 30% off sale today! I had started a shopping bag online and then examined everything in the store to figure out what my final choices would be. I bought most of the list, but left 6 items in my online bag. I just checked out, and with the 30% of and $30 K.C., I only spent $60! I saved as much as I spent.

I'm trying to fill my time with cleaning and organizing the house. Making a list definitely makes me more productive. Two things are already crossed off today's list, and I'm working on #7 right now, since I had to put "blog" on the list. Posting once a week isn't "regularly" enough for me, but I also don't want to bore you with the monotony of most of my days. You know how it is- wake up, yada, yada, yada, go to sleep to wake up and do it all over again.

Since there's no work, I have no excuse to not work out. I've been walking to the gym to save gas and add a mile to my tally. I'm still feeling a little clogged in the lungs, but yesterday's arc trainer session was amazing. I sweat buckets and burned just under 1,000 calories in an hour. The walk is a nice warm up and cool down for me. The weather has been perfect for spending time outside, with a high of 60* the last couple of days. On Sunday, I ran my virtual 5k for Run4NYC and the Red Cross. I ran down the highway for the first half, then turned into my neighborhood and ran  a couple of hills for a time of 31:01. I ran the first mile in under 10 minutes, but slowed down quite a bit on the second half. I can't believe it was only a little over a month ago since I ran the half. It felt really hard, but I ran thinking about all of the people that have suffered because of the hurricane, and that kept me going.

Yesterday I got a nice surprise from the FedEx man. My Lizi's Granola winnings came from Mary at A Walk in The Woods! Three boxes of three different flavors of individually bagged granola, which is OPTIMAL for portion control! I tried the Belgian Chocolate on my toasted coconut yogurt for lunch and it was delicious! This morning I mixed a bag of the Treacle & Pecan with my Fiber Once cereal and some skim milk. Loved it! Can't wait to try the Pink Apples & Cinnamon. I really like this granola because the clusters aren't immense, nor are they hard as rocks. You could hurt yourself on some frickin' granola, and you won't with this brand. Chelsea had some and loved it, too. My husband even snacked on some late last night and said it was good. He doesn't eat granola! That's a sterling testimony in and of itself!

This came all the way from merry old England!
Here's my lunch- toasted coconut yogurt with Lizi's Belgian Chocolate granola!


Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? 9 days. My parents 55th wedding anniversary is this Friday, so we're getting together to celebrate this weekend. Other than that, I just plan on cleaning and running. I definitely want to plan for a long run on Saturday. I need to check out the havoc that Hurricane Sandy left in her wake down at the beach. The pictures that friends have posted have just been unimaginable.



This is the beach PARKING LOT. This is where the Smith Point Bridge 5k starts and finishes. The bridge I run over is back on the right side of the photo. There are other photos on Facebook from Tri Hamlet News of the cement boardwalk that has collapsed since the sand supporting it was washed away. The many staircases connecting the boardwalk to the shore have been demolished. More than 15,000 customers are STILL without power on Long Island. Nearly 500 houses are expected to be condemned in our area alone. But the community has been coming together and helping anyway they can. There have been numerous food and clothing drives. Every day different fire houses and churches have hosted lunches and dinners for those without anything. Every one is taking care of each other. It will take time, but things will get back to regularly scheduled programming.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Making A List...

I worked five days and now we're at a standstill. Last week there was going to be a few retake shoots, so I was not needed, since I take the group shots. Then there was the hurricane and EVERYONE didn't work. Now they're dealing with schools that need to reschedule shoots and those that are still closed because of flooding or no electricity. That means I'm not working this week, either. Money is getting tight. Really tight. And guess what's coming? Just the most wonderful time of the frickin' year, right? And right on top of our trip to Miami.

The good thing about being home with a car with no gas is that I'm either home or very close to home, which means I'm not really shopping, and I'm getting stuff done. I realized that lists aren't just for parties and big occasions. Every morning I need to make a list of the things I want to get done. So far, it's working. It's nice to see what needs to get done and that it GOT DONE! I can waste so much time on the computer (ahem) and barely get a load of laundry in. Being home, I feel like I should be productive. Clothes should be clean AND away, dinner should be made, floors should be swept and mopped. Even with all of that, there's still time to watch 'The Chew' and catch up on Facebook, although this week I spent an inordinate amount of time on www.hessexpress.com/fuelinformation looking to find out if my station got another delivery to fill the minivan. Today I wrote "sweep and mop dining room" as one of the ten things on my list. That got me to vacuum the rug under the table, sweep and mop the floor, dust the buffet and side table and wash down the radiators. I also have problem where I have to write down the things I didn't originally list and cross them off, too. It's got to be the Virgo in me.

The last few days I've walked to the gym. That's a half mile walk each way, so it's a nice 10 minute or so warm up and cool down. On Sunday, I walked to the gym and did a short run. I could not believe how long 2 miles felt on the treadmill. I hadn't run in a week. Between the cold I had sitting in my throat and chest, and the hurricane, I just couldn't get it together for a run. It was beyond rough, like just-started-to-run rough. Not good. Yesterday I started Insanity again. Plyometric Cardio, also known as "Imminent Death in 45 minutes or less." Shaun T. appropriately starts us out, after the warm-up, with suicides. How apropos. Since not doing it regularly in the past few months, I really lost a lot of strength. Combine the lack of participation with that cold I've had and it was definitely the perfect storm for a barf-o-rama (remember 'Stand By Me' and LardAss? Apropos again!). Thankfully I held it in. I really need to kick my workouts up if I'm going to be prepared for Miami. Like running 8.4 miles at around 11:30, 6.2 miles at 2:30 am and 2.1 miles around 1:30 pm PREPARED. 16.7 miles in 26 hours in South Florida heat. *gulp*

We're supposed to get another storm tomorrow into Thursday. The dreaded nor'easter. I can't believe people who haven't even begun to get themselves back on their feet from Hurricane Sandy are going to get hit while they are down. Our power company is attempting to get 90% of the customers who lost power back on the grid. Then there's the threat of losing it all over again. A couple of friends posted that they were participating in a virtual run to help the people of NYC that were devastated by the hurricane. The money pledged goes to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. You can run a marathon, half marathon or a 5k, so I decided to run a 5k some time by the 11th to do my part in helping the relief effort. It was the least I could do. You can participate as well. Just got to www.run4nyc.com to learn more.



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Waiting

Yesterday I spent the entire day sitting in my car in front of a Hess Station. Waiting for gas. All day. I got there at 7:15am. My car was down to less than quarter of a tank. My husband's car was just as low. We needed gas. I had no choice.

the note I left my kids

There isn't exactly a gas shortage, it's just that Hurricane Sandy wiped out power for nearly 1,000,000 customers on Long Island, including gas stations. There's stations with gas, just no way to pump it. So, for the remaining stations with power, the lines are long. Really long. Like more than a mile long, and then they run out of gas.

I knew I was going to spend the day getting gas, I just didn't know where. I checked Facebook since our local news channel has been asking residents for tips on what stations have gas. That was at 7:10am. One comment, posted 8 minutes prior, stated that my Hess, a 2 minute car ride away, had gas.

Well, "the bitch lied." I was sitting in front of a pump at 7:15am. No gas except diesel. My husband called about 2 hours later to say a Shell station about a quarter mile away had gas, but another long line. Well, I couldn't get out of the spot I was in and I was also afraid to drive there, wind up on a 2 hour line only to discover that they ran out of gas as well. That excursion would have left me with NO gas. So, I stayed.

my new lucky #


At about 10am, the latest update was "a PM delivery." Since you're there 3+ hours already, do you leave and come back? I was sitting right in front of a pump. Prime real estate, for God's sake! Once the delivery came, all I had to do was pay and get the hell out of there! So, I stayed.

I sat with the same people for hours. I had a clean rest room and the Hess store stocked with coffee and food (to purchase). I had my Kindle, iPod and a notebook and pen to keep me occupied. I wasn't expected anywhere and the only thing waiting at home was more cleaning and continuing to get upset over the news coverage of the hurricane's aftermath. (I told the clerk we were going to become best friends between purchases and requesting the bathroom key. Thank God for the bathroom.) People were leaving their cars and going to get food. One guy came back with a pizza box. (Wish I would've known he was making a pizza run!) Another guy's wife brought him McDonald's. The same guy who got pizza wound up calling a cab and having his teenage son picked up and brought home. Even my sister came around looking for me to bring me provisions, but I was in the bathroom! No one was leaving. We all stayed.

Every time I heard air brakes I jumped. Could it be? Nope. Just a Boar's Head truck getting diesel. I saw tons of trucks getting diesel- bastards! Although, it was nice seeing at least 5 cherry picker trucks from Ohio filling up, here to help us recover. They were a sight for sore eyes. Thank you Ohio!

While talking with other drivers, it seems the clerk was telling everyone different stories. One guy said the tanker was leaving NJ at around 10am, so hopefully by 3pm it would be rolling in. I was told it was delivering in a town about 20 minutes away at 2:30pm. That sort of fell in line with the 10am departure story. Then the girl in front of me said she heard it had been in a different town. I wasn't going anywhere anyway; it just would have been nice to get a ballpark figure.

Charlie kept calling to see what the progress was. He was checking up on the kids for me all day since they were home from school again because of the storm and my cell phone sucks. He eventually got home from work, made sure they had dinner and then walked over to the station to sit with me. It was nice to have his company (and he brought me my much needed cough drops!).

Surprisingly, the time went by rather quickly. The reason I don't think sitting there, in my car, for that long, waiting for a gas delivery was so bad? I still have the luxury of sitting in my car. I have the money to pay for the gas. My kids were safe and warm in our perfectly unharmed home with all of the food, electricity, cable and internet they needed. We didn't lose a thing in this hurricane, unlike so many others. I have nothing to bitch and moan about. So I waited. Big deal.

Well, at about 6:30pm, the most beautiful tank truck pulled into the parking lot and deposited 10,000 gallons of sweet gasoline into Hess Station of Shirley's tank. Thank you Lord! I felt bad for all of those people waiting on the long line that snaked through the neighboring side streets and worked it's way another 1/2 mile down the highway. I hope they all got the gas they needed. I ran into the station and paid and by the time I got out Charlie was filling the tank. Suffolk County police were there to stave off any rioting that might have ensued. Rumors were flying that people have been beaten up and shot at other stations.

 
There was a lot of whooping and hollering when this baby pulled in!


We managed to find our way out of the station and pulled into our driveway at 7pm. Mission accomplished. Nearly 12 hours. I'd do it again if I had to. It doesn't compare to what the millions of people without power are dealing with, or the tens of thousands of people who lost their homes or the 109 Americans who died because of this storm. I hope and pray they get the help they need soon and that they all manage to recover from this devastation.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thankful

My family and I are utterly and completely blessed. Hurricane Sandy tore through the North East and she left nothing but destruction and heartbreak behind her. Being on the south shore of Long Island, we're no strangers to the threat of hurricanes. Last year's Tropical Storm Irene left neighboring towns without power for days after trees pulled down power lines and water from the bay flooded streets. We were fine last year and we were fine this year. Our power remained on. All we lost was our cable/phone/internet for 24 hours. What a blessing. The kids were able to watch DVDs and play video games on the PS3. I felt like I was on another planet, though, since I really had no contact with the outside world, since I have a sh*tty  little cell phone and service was shoddy throughout the storm anyway. I didn't NEED to use it. Thank God.

I have my parents, my father-in-law and 6 brothers and sisters here on LI. My parents and 1 sister were only blocks from a mandatory evacuation zone. (Power was being SHUT OFF to insure people left. People still remained.) Their electricity was only off from Monday afternoon until Tuesday evening. The only damage either of them sustained was a cracked window pane in my brother's old bedroom. Thank God. My 1 brother has no power because a neighbor's tree came down and ripped the power lines off his house. An electrician will have to come and fix that. The rest of us? We all have had power throughout the storm and didn't have any structural damage to our houses. Thank God.

We nervously watched trees on our property swaying with the wind gusts up to 80 mph. The one tree in our backyard is enormous and only 10 feet from our living room. It withstood the storm. A small Maple tree that bordered our property did not, but it still didn't cause too much damage. The root ball pulled up and it slid down another tree and came through our small picket fence in the front yard. Charlie managed to cut it up, lift it out through the fence and repair it so you can't even notice it was damaged. It could have fallen on the garage, but it didn't. Thank God.

The worst of it- nothing to complain about.


Other parts of Long Island, Queens, Manhattan and New Jersey suffered absolutely devastating damage. I've been watching the storm coverage and the images are just unimaginable. Long Beach, LI basically became an island with water breaching the dunes on both the bay and ocean sides. Breezy Point, Queens was not only inundated with water damage, but a fire ravaged part of the neighborhood and firefighters just couldn't get to it. Nearly 100 homes perished. Seaside Heights, NJ, a town made famous on the MTV show 'Jersey Shore,' basically washed away. The property damage is in the 10's of billions of dollars. But that's nothing. Stuff can be replaced. Things can be rebuilt. A Staten Island woman  had her 2 and 4 year old ripped from her grasp by the rushing water and just today their bodies have been found. A 28 year old police officer drowned in his basement having just helped his family get to safety. It's been reported that there are now 74 deaths in the US associated with Hurricane Sandy. This is the real tragedy.

So, I'm sitting here, in my warm home, watching NBC News, typing this post on my computer, and I'm just dumb-founded. The NYC Marathon will be running as scheduled. I totally understand the idea of "perseverance." Showing the rest of the world that we will survive and even thrive after such a catastrophe is important, but SO SOON after such an event, to me, is just insanity. Downtown Manhattan has no power. Parts of Staten Island were ravaged by flooding, as well as parts of Brooklyn and Queens. I think the only borough that wasn't effected was the Bronx. Many out of town runners can not make it in to run the race of their dreams. Many volunteers can't get there, either. The Dash To The Finish Line 5k was cancelled. I was looking forward to running it with Katie and Jen, teammates from my From Fat To Finish Line team, but I'm glad it was cancelled. The selfish reason? I'm not missing it. The Long Island Rail Road  sustained tremendous damage and for me to get into the city twice, once for packet pick-up and once for the actual race, was going to be next to impossible. The better reason for it being cancelled is that resources will be stretched so thin getting the marathon under way, at least the 5k won't be draining the system as well. I just wonder if NYRR decision, along with Mayor Bloomberg, hasn't left a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths.  I guess we'll really know whether it was really worth it or not come Sunday night. I know those people waiting for help in Staten Island do not appreciate it.