Fitting Room Svengali


I have done LOST MY MIND.

My adorable niece got engaged last Christmas. She and her brother are two of my favorite people on the planet. They’re my husband’s redneck brother’s kids. His ex got us in the divorce, and we couldn’t be happier. I could write an entire book about him and his second wife, but I won’t for fear of him one day being able to afford a computer and her learning how to read.

Suffice it to say that he wore a tangerine Hawaiian shirt with cut-off sleeves and khakis to his son’s wedding (it was not a barbeque wedding; it was an elegant affair in Duke University’s beautiful chapel), and she once shaved her head because she lost a bet. She also showed up at my mother-in-law’s funeral with red, white and blue hair. Very patriotic.

Because I love my niece so very much, I was honored when she asked us to attend a swanky engagement party her college roommate’s parents are throwing for her in DC in a couple of weeks.

Did you ever get really excited about being invited to something then end up in a full blown panic ten days before the event because you have NOTHING TO WEAR??

Side Note: Kudos to my husband for chewing his tongue out of his mouth instead of pointing out the fact that I have slowly assumed four of the seven available closets in our home (including the entire walk-in closet in the master bedroom) with clothes for every conceivable event. It takes years of marital conditioning to achieve the self-control necessary to swallow those words. YEARS.

Wellll, it rained today. So, like any self-respecting woman on a rainy vacation day would do, I pulled my greasy hair into a ponytail, grabbed my wallet and headed out the door to partake in some retail humiliation.

After stopping into a few of the boutiques on Rehoboth Avenue and finding nothing that would cover both my chubby knees and my flabby upper arms, I headed over to the White House/Black Market. They have such a lovely selection. You know, if you’re 5’10” and built like a 12-year old Cambodian boy.

As soon as I walked into the store, a black and white horizontal striped tank dress caught my eye.

You know what I like about horizontal stripes? Nothing. They’re awful. Criminal, really. Their only purpose is to give everyone the impression that the person wearing them is nothing more than a reflection in a circus mirror.

And yet, the design seemed so flattering with its slight (slimming) ruching, its small cut-out in the upper back and that adorable little black patent leather belt designed to sit at the bottom of the rib cage.  Did I mention that the fabric had a lot of give? OMG, it was so soft and stretchy! And you know we chubby girls love us some stretch!

Pfft. No way.

Never.

And then came Megan. Fresh-faced, happy, wrinkle-free, pert-titted Megan. I hated her the moment I laid eyes on her. I knew she was up to no good, but, before I knew it, she had me under her spell.

Megan: Did you want to try that on? Isn’t it gorgeous??? Did you notice the cute little cut-out in the back? OMG, it’s so flattering! You should totally try it on!
Me (rubbing the supple fabric as if it were George Clooney himself): Oh. I don’t know. I’m just kind of looking around.
Megan: C’mon back, let’s see how it looks on you! I think it’s going to look great on your curves!!
Me: I think you underestimate the enormity of my curves.

And yet I followed her back to the fitting room.

Megan: I love your capris! We have some just like them! You would LOVE them! You should totally try on a pair!!

My capris. My Kohl’s Levis stretch denim capris with the high waistline. My mom capris. The ones that I had paired with my lime-green Old Navy ‘Sprite…It’s Clearly The Best’ throwback t-shirt.

I was the picture of frumpiness and she wanted to duplicate it with a $78 pair of White House/Black Market capris.

Naturally, I ignored that suggestion.

She scurried me into the fitting room with nothing but a curtain.

I don’t know about you, ladies, but I like me a fitting room with a real door. And a lock. Never more than today.

Megan: I’m going to go get you a pair of black heels to try on with the dress!! What size shoe do you wear?
Me:
Size 8.
Megan:
Great! I’ll grab a pair of those capris, too, while I’m out there!
Me:
I won’t fit into your capris, Megan. I wear a 14.
Megan:
No worries! I’ll be right back!!

She returned in about seven seconds with the cutest pair of black patent leather wedge sandals I’ve ever seen.

Wicked animal. I wasn’t even in the market for shoes today!

I put the dress on and it fit like a glove. A surgical glove. It clung to every curve and felt so nice on. And, you know what? A tummy tuck comes in pretty handy with a form-fitting horizontal-striped dress. I mean, my huge thighs bulged out a bit and my ass was practically screaming to get out, but it kind of worked! And the sandals? OMG, they were perfect. I looked great! You know, except for my head. And my enormous arms.

Just as I was thinking about whether I could bear to have my arms displayed in a roomful of beautiful people, Megan reappeared.

Me: I don’t know. What do you think?
Megan: We have the perfect little black shrug in case you get cold!

‘In case you get cold’ is retail speak for ‘Yikes! Cover that shit up, STAT!’

Megan: I’m wearing one right now! Do you know how long I’ve had it? I’ve had it four years! I wash it all the time! It’s the greatest little shrug ever!
Me: OK. Sure. I guess so.

She was back six seconds later with the shrug and a pair of denim capris. How did she do that??

Megan: Here! I found the capris! Try them on!
Me: Oh. I don’t know…I –
Megan: OMG! I have the prettiest top to go with them! I’ll be right back! You’re going to look so cute!!!

She returned with two dressy tank tops: a black one with a white design on the tank straps and neckline, and a silky royal blue one with ruffles.

Ruffles are the natural enemy of 46-year old curvy women. They make us look like fat toddlers.

Megan: OMG! That shrug would look so great with the blue one! Try them on!
Me: Oh…uh…OK.

As soon as she left, I started to squeeze myself into the capris. I was twisting and turning and pulling and wiggling and grunting as I crammed the last of my ass into them, when I turned around and there she was. Standing with the curtain pulled to the side. No knock or anything. Like we were besties or something.

Megan: Look! I found you these earrings!! They’re black studs! They’ll look so cute with the dress! And they’ll even work with the tanks! Day or night! (stopping to slowly look down at my lower half) OMG! You know what? Our capris are always a little tight! They have a lot of give, though! You just have to stretch them out! How did you like the tanks?

I stood there staring at her, unable to bend my knees or move anything but my upper body because the capris were stuck on me like scuba pants.

Me: I think I’m going to pass on the capris and the tanks. I’ll meet you at the register.

One dress, a pair of sandals, a shrug, a pair of black stud earrings and a car payment later, I left the store.

If this retail thing doesn’t work out, Megan could have a very illustrious career selling crack.

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I Can Do This!


My friends all seemed to have the same question after I got my tummy tuck:

How many sizes did you go down?!?

I mean, you’d have to lose at least two sizes when you have your stomach SURGICALLY REMOVED along with three liters of fat (yeah…you read that right,) wouldn’t you??

Not so much.

You see, my ass and thighs were the same size post-surgery, so there was no ‘down a size or two’ option for me. Instead, I ended up with the ‘pants are still too tight on my ass and thighs, and now I look like I have a dick because my muffin top’s gone’ option.

Awesome.

I’ve actually gained weight. Not in my stomach, mind you. My stomach is flat and pretty and I can now see my feet for the first since puberty. The problem is my ever-growing ass and thighs.

I didn’t realize how much of a problem they were until a few weeks ago when I went to a tanning bed (don’t judge me; I hardly ever do it, and I was preparing for my trip to Florida) and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I was getting dressed. I gasped audibly and felt the blood drain from my face. When did my ass and thighs get so…lumpy???

I bet those little tan chippies at the front desk don’t generally see people walk out white as ghosts.

As you may be aware, I hate exercise almost as much as I love food. So, it’s no secret where the extra pounds are coming from. Unfortunately, there comes a time in everyone’s life when they finally suck it up and start eating less and…ugh…moving more.

Is there an emoticon for crippling, agonizing devastation?

Because I have no fewer than 473 exercise-freak Facebook friends jamming up my news feed every day with their fucking exercise, weight-loss and marathon-training updates, I have become aware of apps like My Fitness Pal and C25K.

Side Note: I’m not bitter about your newfound love of exercise and your incredible weight loss. I’m really not. I swear to God I’m not. Please know that, just because I teach Sarcasm as a Second Language, I am not always being sarcastic. I am actually quite sincere about this: I am very proud of you!  It’s just that I go to Facebook to have a little giggle, catch up with old friends, look at a few pictures and maybe get into an occasional political debate. I don’t go there to feel bad about myself. I know you don’t mean to make me feel bad about myself when you post how many miles you ran in 12 seconds, but you do. And I don’t think I’m alone. I think there are probably thousands of other fatties out there who also get winded just walking to the mailbox and would appreciate it if you would just post something about your new wart or how you stubbed your toe or that you’re bored. Yeah. We’d even rather read that.

But I digress.

For those of you who don’t know, MFP is a great little app (and website) that allows you to track your food and caloric intake (along with your calories burned through exercise) and C25K is a training app that prompts you to jog for increasing intervals of time until you are allegedly running a 5K in no time! Or five weeks. Or something like that.

I downloaded MFP last year and C25K about a month ago, but I haven’t really been ready to use either of them. Until today.

I don’t know why, but I woke up this morning knowing that I needed to start making changes. Unfortunately, we’re at the beach and I failed to pack a sports bra. Rather than make yet another excuse to ‘start tomorrow’, I brushed my teeth, put on a bra, and headed to Walmart in my pajamas (yoga pants and a t-shirt). Without washing my face or putting on make up. Because who am I going to run into at Walmart in Rehoboth Beach at 8:00 on a Saturday morning??

I grabbed my cart and was headed down the main aisle, desperately seeking the lingerie department, when I heard it.

Donna? Donna!

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I actually said that.

It was my fitness-obsessed, borderline manorexic broker and his adorably sporty JCrew wife. I’m pretty sure I weigh more than the two of them combined.

Did I mention that my hair was all kinds of curly and pulled up in a sloppy ponytail so as to highlight the HUGE SWATCH OF GRAY that has decided to grace my hairline in recent weeks? Or that my eyelashes are blond (read: INVISIBLE), rendering me with bulging frog eyes when I’m not wearing mascara???

Mortified!!

Thank GOD they were in line and he was panicking because he didn’t know how to pay without her by his side (never mind that her purse was in the cart…men), so I was able to make a break for the sports bra section after just a few minutes of assaulting her with my appearance. Poor dear.

On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and spent 20 minutes studying various low-fat cheeses (gag) so I could have some healthy snacks (ON VACATION), then headed home to start my workout regimen.

I was actually kind of excited. I can do this!, I thought to myself.

I turned on my music, clicked on the C25K app, and started walking. After about three seconds, C25K greeted me with a friendly Welcome!

I can do this!

I tucked my phone into my bra and, with a spring in my step, I started to walk. And walk. And walk.

Huh. That’s weird, thought I. I kind of thought I would be prompted to jog by now. Must be a warm-up period.

After about 15 minutes of no prompts, I became concerned about the moisture accumulating around my phone, so I decided to hold it in my hand. A few seconds later, it vibrated.

WTF?? I looked down, and saw that C25K had been prompting me all along, but only via text (I didn’t get any of the audio prompts). I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was because my phone was set to vibrate.

Do you think it was C25K telling me to just go home and have some pie??

Neither do I.

I don’t know why it happened, but I held it in my hand the rest of the way and jogged when it told me to.

And I wanted to die.

No, seriously. I am not built for that kind of movement.

But I did it. And because I had missed the first 15 minutes of prompts, I walked for an extra half hour after the program was finished.

When I got home, I jumped in the shower and stood there under the cool water, moaning as if I had just run a marathon.

Pathetic.

It was definitely time to reward myself with some relaxation. I had only had one (fried) egg for breakfast, so I was hungry. I made myself a lunch of two slices of turkey and a bit of mustard rolled into a piece of provolone cheese. When I logged my food and exercise into the MFP tracker, it gave me an ‘encouraging’ message that, if I keep up the good work!, in only five weeks, I’ll STILL BE A FAT ASS.

I almost cried at the number displayed on the screen.

It was time to head to the beach, so I put on my bathing suit (sans t-shirt) and my trusty yoga pants (you know, so I don’t sustain a chub rub injury on the way there) and off I went.

I walked from my car to the sand to the shoreline, set up my chair, and sat there for a good 10 minutes before I realized that my right areola was exposed.

I need a drink. I wonder how many calories there are in an Orange Crush. Or three.

Hello. My Name Is Donna.


A friend recently referred to me as ‘technology-addicted’. My first thought, as I stared at my laptop screen and quickly glanced directly to my left at my cell phone for any Facebook, email and/or text notifications, was that he had no idea what he was talking about. It’s obvious that I’m not addicted to technology.

I’m addicted to inertia. Duh.

Where’s the 12-step program for MY disease?? When will someone (other than me, of course) finally get off their lazy ass and take the initiative to set one up??? Oh, and can you please develop an online version of it so I don’t actually have to leave the house?

I spend quite a bit of time lamenting about the size of my ass, which, incidentally, has increased exponentially since I purchased my first laptop. I know as well as the rest of you that if I took a nice walk on a beautiful Sunday morning rather than sit on the sofa with my laptop and cell phone, I might actually get in shape.  And yet here I sit, spewing my shame to you from the comfort of my embarrassingly well-worn sofa. And, yes, in case you were wondering, there’s an actual divet where I sit on it.

Oh, the humanity!

A few weeks ago, I took the first step towards getting into shape and downloaded the C25K app on my phone. For those of you who aren’t aware of it, C25K (Couch to 5K) is a clever little app that overrides your iPod and prompts you to jog for increasing intervals of time over several weeks until you are jogging/running the entire time.

Or so I’m told.

I haven’t actually used it yet. But I know its there. Judging me. I’m definitely going to use it, though. Soon. Probably after I check Facebook, Twitter and my email for anything new.

Flying High


This post is brought to you courtesy of three Bloody Marys and a Xanax.

A few weeks ago, I spent an entire hour ranting to a friend of mine about how much I hated everything and everyone. I don’t think I took a breath the entire time. At the end of my diatribe, she looked at me and calmly said, ‘I think you need to get away for a few days.’

Truer words were never spoken.

Turns out when everything and everyone in your life is bugging you, the problem is probably you.

And so began my Big Adventure.

As you may recall, my best friend lives in Ormond Beach. It’s a beautiful little town on the east coast of Florida, just outside of Daytona. Unfortunately, the closest airport into which one can take a direct flight is Orlando. Home, as I’m sure you are aware, of Disney World.

Because I was using frequent flier miles, there were scheduling limitations. My departure options were something like 4:45am, 5:47am, 10:00am, 5:00pm and 9:00pm. Like any normal person, I chose the 10:00am flight.

What. Was. I. THINKING???

When I got to the terminal, the waiting area was RIDDLED with squirming, screaming, crying children!

SIDE NOTE: They could have saved themselves a lot of waterboarding trouble and just stuck Khalid Sheikh Mohammad on a fucking flight to Orlando at 10:00 on a Saturday morning; he’d have given up Osama Bin Laden in less than 20 minutes.

Did I ever mention that I hate children? No, seriously. Aside from a very small handful of them (you know who you are,) I have ZERO tolerance for children under 10 years old. They’re intrusive, they have no manners, they’re demanding, and, most of all, they’re loud. Really loud. I blame their hapless parents, of course.

I found a modicum of comfort in the fact that I had enough frequent flier miles to upgrade to first class…until I realized that the only thing that separated my last row seat in first class from the first row of coach, which happened to house MOST OBNOXIOUS WOMAN ON THE PLANET (and her two temper tantrum-throwing children,) was a sheer curtain.

So, as if a plane full of screaming children wasn’t torturous enough, I had one of those over-the-top, nowhere-near-as-cute-as-she-thinks-she-is, baby-talking, captain-of-every-cheerleading-team-since-she-was-seven bitches sitting right behind me. Her kids’ screams were decibels above what would be considered safe for humans to endure, but I would have preferred to tolerate those than her disruptively loud, sing-song attempts to entertain them.

LOOK OUT THE WINDOW! I SEE A PLANE AND A CAR AND A TRUCK AND A SKY!

LOOK AT THE BOOK! HERE’S A DOLPHIN! WHAT SOUND DOES THE DOLPHIN MAKE?!?

WHEN THE PLANE TAKES OFF, WE’LL ASK THE NICE LADY FOR SNACKS! WE’LL ASK FOR PEANUTS OR CRACKERS OR JUICE! DO YOU LIKE JUICE?? DO YOU WANT JUICE??? YAY, APPLE JUICE!!!

I SEE A COCONUT! I’M GOING TO PUT A COCONUT ON YOUR HEAD AND YOUR HEAD!

I wanted to shove a coconut down her fucking throat.

Her husband? He was 17 rows behind her on the opposite side of the plane. A stroke of genius on his part, I’d say.

It’s normally about a 2.5 hour flight from Philly to Orlando. Not today, tho. No such luck for this bitchy weary traveler. Just as every last hellion fastened their seatbelt, the pilot came on to tell us that something in the wheel well called the ‘grounding strip’ had come loose and needed more putty.

Yeah, you read that right. PUTTY.

Needless to say, I promptly ordered a Bloody Mary.

About a half hour later they told us we were good to go. Yay!

They started the engines and…wait…what?

‘This is your pilot. It seems the second engine wouldn’t start, so we’re going to have to pull into gate 16 and have the engine fixed. It should take about 60-90 minutes.”

Fortunately, the flight attendant, sensing that the other first-class passengers and I were at our wits end with cheerleader Barbie and her posse of screamers, wasted no time coming to take our drink orders.

Bloody Mary, please.

She brought me two, bless her heart. They were immediately used to wash down a Xanax.

She is my new best friend.

Sadly, my return flight is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Tragically, not only were there no first-class seats available at the time I booked; the only thing available in coach was a center seat.

On the bright side, my fear of flying will not be a factor on the return flight. A plane crash would be a welcome relief.