Friday, August 31, 2007

DIET is DIE with a T

One of my favorite fat fellows is that lovable cat Garfield. When I was a kid I used to collect Garfield stuff - books, posters, buttons, stickers. I think I used to have a Garfield coffee mug too, but can't remember what ever happened to it. One of the most memorable posters I had was one on which Garfield exclaimed, "Diet is Die with a T." Very appropriate and my sentiments exactly.

I guess the reason I started thinking about Garfield is because I'm on a diet right now. I can't say I'm a diet fanatic, but I've tried my share:

The Prisoner Diet - You prepare an industrial sized vat of cabbage soup and then proceed to eat a bowlfull at each meal, day after day, until you lose all your body fat.

The Skinny-Quick diet - You drink nutritious and delicious shakes in place of two meals per day. The only thing this did for me was increase my appetite!

Other Fad Diets - You eliminate certain groups of foods and concentrate on specific foods. Each diet is different, there are some where you pop vitamin supplements like sugar-pills and drink psyllium shakes before each meal, others where you guzzle down glass after glass of cranberry juice, ones where you eat all high fiber raw veggies, and others where you only eat meat.

I have to say that none of the diets I've tried have worked for me so far. I know it's because, realistically, a person can't maintain such a strict and limited eating regimine for the rest of his or her life, and, some of these diets are quite expensive to maintain too.

Sure, most of us can all remember that one kid in school who existed for years and years eating the same foods all the time and wouldn't vary from them. My husband had a childhood friend that only ate hot dogs and rice and about three other types of meals all the time! Now he's a perfectly normal eater and can laugh at those days gone by, but I think even he wonders about why he did it and how he was able to get away with it for so long.

I guess it's not so bad making a drastic change in the way you eat when it's only for a short while. I'm on a strict regimine for two weeks and then a less strict regimine from there on out. But the overall focus of this diet is to make changes in how you think about foods and to make better food choices for the future. So far, I seem to be doing fine. I don't feel I'm starving as I've felt on other diets. I haven't felt light headed or weak. I do feel bored though, as it's more work to prepare meals now because I have to modify the meals for my kids, and in essence I'm cooking two separate meals for each meal. But, by eating healthier, the whole family can benefit.

The toughest obstacle to successful dieting, and I hate to say it, is my husband. He always tells me that I have to put him on a diet, that he has to lose weight, but when it comes down to the wire, he's the first one to crack. Where is his will-power? When we were trying a diet where you eat unlimted protein and dairy, we did okay for about a week. What happened? He accused me of trying to murder him.

"What is this diet called?" he asked, "The Dr. Kevorkian Diet?"

"It's not the Dr. Kevorkian Diet!" I exclaimed, "It's the Dr. Atkins Diet."

"Well, it feels like you're trying to kill me!" he said, "and I refuse to eat like this any more." He rubbed his stomach, "The way this diet makes me feel, I prefer to stay fat!"

Needless to say, we went off that diet, and, at the mere mention of Dr. Kevorkian, er, Dr. Atkins, my husband still reacts in a volatile manner. You know what they say, an elephant never forgets!

Years later, and here we are again. We've been on this new diet for three days. This morning he already started complaining.

"Do we have to eat eggs every morning?" he whined.

I didn't say anything. I just handed him some bacon and a cup of coffee, hoping he'd drop the subject and go to work.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Going Batty

What is it about parenthood that activates your radar? It doesn't matter where you are or what you're doing, but if one of your children calls out for you, you immediately drop whatever it is and you're right there. This happens to me all the time, especially at night.

I could be right in the middle of a great dream - I've won the lotto, I'm on a cruise, I've been awarded the Nobel Prize - and a little voice calls out in the darkness, "Mom!" and the dream dissolves Poof! as my eyes open at the sound and I'm up and running as soon as my feet hit the floor to see what is the matter. When they call for me it can be anything from a bad dream, to not feeling well, to being thirsty, but my kids don't usually call out in the night unless they really need something.

A few weeks ago as I slept, peacefully dreaming about String Theory, a voice called out in the darkness, dissolving my night visions.


I was immediately awake. I didn't jump out of bed, instead I answered, "Yes?" The sensation of a moustache and a headfull shaggy hair still cloying to me.

Daughter says, "There's a bird in my room!"

By this time hubby is awake. Although it was dark, I could tell he was giving me one of those looks as he said, "That's not a bird!"

We were both up and running at this point, and what did I see the minute I reached her bedroom door?

A bat flying around and around the ceiling fan and my daughter with the covers up to her chin, her eyes big and round, peeking out at her nocturnal friend.

I encouraged her to roll out of bed and onto the floor so she could crawl out of the room, which she did without delay and made straight for my bed. We shooed the bat out by opening the windows and using an empty box. Of course, no amount of coaxing could convince my daughter to return to her room and she ended up sleeping with us.

The next morning, we all had circles under our eyes. I felt like I had been clobbered by the empty box instead of the bat. My daughter did nothing but talk about the bat that had been in her room, especially to ask me how it got in the house. I didn't know how to answer her because that was what was perplexing us the most. How did it get inside the house? Many years before, we had had a bat inside once, but that was it. And now, how did this one get in?

The only logical conclusion I could come up with was that we had many of the upstairs windows open and, perhaps, the bat had wiggled through a tiny gap between the screens and the windows. But that explanation didn't seem to jive. Why would a bat try to get in? They ususally want out so they can hunt and then come back to go to sleep.

The next night, we were all nervous, but figured that one bat getting inside was probably a fluke and wouldn't happen again. And nothing happened that night or for several nights. We figured, once every ten years a bat get's inside and it's not going to happen again, right?


Once again, in the dark of the night, this time two-thirty in the morning, a voice calls out through the darkness...

"Mommy! The bat's back!"

Like clockwork, daughter was in our bed and we were up and checking it out. This time Mom had to go to the bathroom and by the time I had finished, Papi had shooed the bat out the window using a wicker trash basket. It was quick and painless. We all went back to bed, but not to sleep.

How did the bat get inside the house again and why is it that each time one has been inside that they have ended up in our daughter's room?

The next day we did another inspection of the upstairs. What was the most disturbing was that all the upstairs windows were closed because the AC was running. With flashlight in hand, I did a visual inspection of the upstairs rooms and saw no major gaps or holes. So where were the bats getting in?

Our conclusion? The bats are not getting inside through the upstairs, they are coming into the house someplace else, and probably to go to sleep. When they wake up and try to go outside at night is when they're having the problem. I think they're getting confused, can't find an exit, and are flying into the house.

So what are we going to do?

Keep trying to look for a place the bats can get inside, but this is an old house, so... Wish us luck because if we don't get it figured out, we just might be going batty before too long!