Monday, May 31, 2010

Not-Quite-Adventures in BBQ Assembly

Now that I live in a house with a yard, I thought I'd invest in a charcoal grill.

Yesterday at Target I moseyed back to the seasonal section and found the BBQ aisle. They had lots of grills in various sizes and shapes. Propane? No thanks. My dad was always a charcoal man back in his grilling days (pre-condo life), and I intend to follow in his footsteps.

I didn't want a big fancy grill. I don't really know what I'm doing, and I don't want to get in over my head financially. I don't need a $80 grill. I don't need to spend $80. I know that Weber is a trusted brand in grills, but they're a little too expensive for my tastes. Even the tiny little ones were $30. You know - those little ones that sit just above the ground, where you have to sit down on the ground to even use them. Those are $30. They probably have enough surface area to cook one hamburger patty at a time.

But then I saw a short little square grill. It probably comes up to about my mid-thigh, so I don't have to sit down to use it (but if I had a lawn chair, I could). It's not a Weber. It's Thermos brand - which is funny, since I didn't know they made anything other than a... well, a thermos. It's big enough for a few burgers or brats, and I think it will serve my needs well. Like the little Weber, this guy was also $30.

I bought the other necessary accouterments. BBQ tools like a flippy spatula thing, tongs, skewers, that sort of thing. I bought coals and lighter fluid. I bought brats and turkey burgers and buns and potato salad and chips (well, technically I already had the turkey burgers). I'm ready to go.

Today I opened the box that the grill came in. As a person who has purchased and assembled many things from IKEA, I was certain I could handle anything this box could throw at me.

Wait a minute, what does that say? "Tools needed: Screwdriver (not included) and open ended wrench (not included)." What are these tools of which it speaks? Ok, I have a screwdriver. Somewhere. And we're not talking orange-juice-and-vodka here. But I don't own a wrench. Open-ended or otherwise.

I call my dad, naturally, because that's what you're supposed to do in these situations. He told me what an open-ended wrench is (it's just a wrench, really) and gave me some tips on how to actually use the grill once it's assembled. That's good, since I've never actually done this before.

I still haven't assembled the grill. I'm afraid of it now. It has so many little pieces. And I don't have a wrench. But I figure that's one of those things I should have. I should go buy a wrench. Then maybe, one of these days, I'm going to get to actually have some adventures in grilling.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Really, Universe? Really?

I'm running my virus/spyware scanner right now. It takes forever. Over 40k files scanned and nothing malicious detected yet.

Spam was sent from my gmail account this afternoon. A number of my friends let me know immediately, and Google locked me out of the account. I got my access back to the account and promptly changed my password. Then I changed passwords on a number of other sites.

If I sent you spam today, I apologize. I had no idea it was happening. I am now paranoid about internet security.

This is just one more thing on the pile of crap I've been dealing with lately.

Work has been tough lately, and I've been realizing that my multi-tasking skills are lacking. I need to get organized, but there are projects that take priority over organization... but I can't get the projects done if I don't organize my desk. It's a vicious cycle that I can't seem to escape. Monday off can't come soon enough.

I'm still trying to prepare adequately for my trip to Vegas. Saving money is going well, for the most part. But I'm really not looking forward to traveling without a credit card. I'm just paranoid that something is going to happen and I'm going to end up screwed. I applied for a Capital One card. I was denied. I didn't you could be denied for a Capital One card. That hurt.

Oh, and I'm not eating chocolate anymore. It gives me heartburn. I thought it also was giving me my headaches, but the nasty one I had yesterday proved that theory to be false. Disappointing. If I could get rid of the headaches by never eating chocolate again, I could do that. Most days it would be easy.

So... yeah. Virus/spyware scan is still running. 54k scanned files and counting. Still nothing detected. *sigh*

Monday, May 17, 2010

Size Matters

Get your head out of the gutter. I'm not talking about that kind of size.

I realized today one of the reasons I've had trouble motivating myself to lose weight over the years. I don't feel like a big person.

Sure, I take up a lot of space. Sometimes I have issues sitting in a booth at a restaurant, or I have a hard time squeezing into airplane seats or similar. I know what size clothes I wear. But I just don't feel like I'm as large as I really am.

Even when I look at myself in the mirror, I usually don't think about myself as being big all around. Sure, my gut looks big sometimes, or my butt, or my thighs or my arms. But usually, I just shrug it off and tell myself that it's not so bad.

You're only as big as you feel, right?

No. This is something I need to realize about myself. The fact that I can barely walk three quarters of a mile anymore should be a sign. I never actually ran a 5K, but I did all right walking them a few years ago. My blood pressure should be a sign. I'm only 29 - I should not be taking meds for high blood pressure. My weight should be a sign. But I just avoid the scale instead. It's easier that way. (Sometimes I think that someone snuck into my bathroom and changed the scale from pounds to kilograms, but I know that isn't the case).

I need to stop looking at myself as a normal-sized person carrying a little extra weight. I need to start looking at myself as an overly large woman who needs to do something about it. If I don't keep myself in check, I'll end up with my very own TLC show. I don't want that.

Of course, there are days when I feel like a total cow. Some days, I'm Jabba the Hut. Those are the days where I hate myself.

Normally I'd tell myself that it's a good thing that I often feel comfortable in my body, considering all its imperfections. But now I'm starting to think that if I weren't so content to leave things as they are, I'd have succeeded with previous weight-loss attempts.

I hate that this blog is turning into "Diary of a Fat Girl." I don't want to be that kind of blogger. Unless, of course, that's what my adoring fans want. But I think it would be too depressing. And not funny. Look at this post - was it funny? No. I'd rather be funny.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Budgety Goodness

I like to plan things. I love to plan vacations. I especially love to plan vacations when they're for a fun event like my Second Annual 29th Birthday (or 29th Birthday 2: Electric Boogaloo).

I've been in full Vegas-Planning-Mode for at least a month now. I've been hanging out at Trip Advisor reading the Vegas forums for ideas. I've bought plane tickets (spent a good portion of my tax refund on that, but hopefully some of it will eventually be refunded - see Flying While Fat 2: Planning Ahead about why I chose to buy two seats on my Southwest flights). I set aside the rest of my tax refund in savings for lodging. I've started funneling excess funds to my savings account for other Vegas expenses.

I've also been working on planning the itinerary for the trip. I don't want to plan every second, but it's helping me to get an idea of how much I'll be spending.

By the way, if you plan to join me in Vegas, make sure that I know that you're planning on coming! We're working on securing lodging and stuff, and part of my budget is planning for a champagne breakfast for all my friends. I have to make sure I'm saving enough so we don't have an awkward moment at the Bellagio buffet.

I've accounted for meals, gambling, drinks, tips, and cabs, plus an "other" category for whatever it is that I'm likely forgetting. I then calculated the number of paychecks I'll receive between now and my birthday. Took the total expected budget divided by the number of paychecks: bam. That's the amount I'm putting away from every paycheck from now until my birthday. Piece of cake.

I like it when I'm smart.

Of course, I'm also planning on a spa day. That's going to cost some money, too, probably a lot of it depending on what I actually decide to get. I have to wait and find out how much my lodging is going to cost before I really know how crazy I'll be able to go when spa-ing. I don't expect to spend all of what I set aside on hotels, and what's leftover (plus whatever else I manage to stash away) will be the budget for spa treatments.

Am I crazy to be this detailed while planning for a trip that's still almost six months away? I just know that I don't want to have to worry about money while I'm there, and the only way I can think of to avoid that eventuality is to plan to arrive in Vegas feeling like I'm loaded, which means hoarding as much cash as possible before I leave.

Or, you know, get lucky win big on the slot machines on the first day. Then I'll really be set for the trip.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Thanks to my awesome aunt Beth, I was finally able to get to a store to do some shopping. I returned some stuff. I bought some more stuff. I got new black pants for work and a new pair of Capri pants for the summer. I got a bunch of new tops that will be great for warmer days (if it ever stops raining).

I tried on a lot more things, though. And I'm not really sure about those Capri pants, either.

You see, since I gained a bunch of weight in the last two years, it hasn't been good for my body. I'm a short girl, so there aren't a lot of places for the new fat to go. And my poor little feet are having a tough time with the extra pressure. As a result, my feet, ankles, and shins are all ridiculously swollen. It's worse than having "cankles." I looked in the mirror and realized that I look like a character in a cartoon. Is this actually real?

With long pants, I can hide my cartoonish legs and ankles. Shoes hide my feet for the most part. But it's spring, and summer is coming (if it ever stops raining). I'm not going to want to wear long pants every day.

I know the obvious answer. Lose weight. But there's not nearly enough time before summer (if it ever stops raining), and it really sucks that I probably won't be able to find sandals that will fit.

I need to get back into walking. That will help. It'll be a step in the right direction. If it ever stops raining.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Calling to Me...

Food. It's calling to me.

I'm having one of those days where, no matter what I do, all I want to do is eat. I want to eat anything I can get my hands on. I had my typical banana and granola bar for breakfast. Last week, that breakfast satisfied me to the point where I almost forgot to eat lunch at the usual time. Today, not so much. I thought about going out for a bagel or a breakfast sandwich or something similarly delectable. Instead, I chose to sit at my desk and work... while munching on handful after handful of peanut M&M's.


This is bad. I shouldn't be eating candy in the morning. I really shouldn't be eating candy much at all. I especially shouldn't be eating chocolate.

Watch out, this part is depressing:

I think I need to stop eating chocolate entirely. I'm taking a daily prescription medication for chronic heartburn/acid reflux. Even on this medication, I still have days where I get wicked heartburn (that's "wicked" in a bad way, not a good way, folks). I realized over the weekend that this supplemental heartburn only happens after I eat chocolate.

Yes. Chocolate is giving me heartburn. For all I know, it's also giving me headaches and back pain and pimples and weight gain.

Egad. I was trying to be sarcastic there, but with the exception of back pain, chocolate could very well be giving me all those things.

I want to eat the rest of that candy bowl. All those delicious little M&M's...

But instead, I'm going to try NOT eating chocolate. Any of it. Except for the little chocolate chunks in my granola bars. I think that tiny amount won't hurt me. I hope. Next time, I'll buy the bars without chocolate. Then we'll know for sure.

I don't want to do it, but at the same time, my curiosity is telling me that I have to do it. I need to find out if cutting out the chocolate solves some of my issues. If this fix doesn't work, I can always start eating chocolate again.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Perils of Online Shopping

I do not own a car. I do not lease a car. I don't have a car unless I plan far enough in advance and can borrow one. Add to this a roommate with a car, but also with a crazy schedule. It makes it very difficult for me to go shopping for clothes.

If you're a woman, you know the story. Sizes are a debacle. You're a different size in any store you visit. Any woman could be easy befuddled trying to find clothes that actually fit.

If you're a big woman, you know that it's even harder for you. Try finding clothes that are affordable, well-made, and don't make you look like an old lady. If you're looking for a dress in size 24 at J.C. Penney's, just go straight to the rack of "mother-of-the-bride" dresses - those'll be the ones in your size. It never fails. If you're window shopping and see something really cute that you think you might like, chances are when you go into the store you'll find that it doesn't come in plus sizes.

The one store that I've found to have a good selection of plus-sized women's clothing that's actually something I'd consider wearing is Lane Bryant. They've also created a line of pants (jeans and some work-type slacks) that are called "Right Fit" that come in different shapes depending on your body type. They fit me pretty well, and I know what size I wear in Right Fit pants.

Hooray! This means I can shop for clothes online. I don't have to try anything on. And if I decide to explore outside the category of Right Fit pants, I can try on the clothes when they arrive and return them to the store if they don't fit - I don't have to mail anything back. This is a dream-come-true.

Or so I thought.

I'm currently in need of a new pair of jeans and a new pair of black pants. I wear a "Right Fit Red" size 8P. (No, folks, I'm not really a size 8. Sizes in Right Fit pants go from 1-13, with a 1 being like a normal size 14. The P is for petite because I'm short). I decide to go for the online shopping. I have a coupon code for free shipping, so I'm a winner any way, right?

Not so much.

Every time I try to buy pants on the Lane Bryant website, they don't have my size in stock, and I can't order them. The jeans I like, Right Fit Red Bootcut jeans, only come in a size 1. None of the other cuts of jeans come in a Red 8P. Nor do the black slacks I like (unless I wanted to buy the "tall" size).

They usually have pants in my size in the store. Why is it that their stores are better stocked than their website? This does not make sense to me. Logically, I feel the website's warehouse should be far better stocked than a shop at a mall.

I wrote them an angry email. I got an automatically-generated response that says "A member of our customer service team will respond to you shortly." That was two days ago now.

Dear Lane Bryant: Define "shortly." Also, let me buy some freaking pants. That's all I want. Oh, and that belt I bought a few weeks ago? Yeah, that broke. I think you need to reconsider your quality standards as well. Then maybe I wouldn't have to buy new pants so often - and nor would everyone else, which would mean that you wouldn't always be sold out of the more popular sizes. Thank you. Love, me.