Will my life EVER be right side up again?!

startasking-homepage-imageTra la la la la. There I was, minding my own business, going through my normal life. Getting up in the morning, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, going to work, working all day, coming home, having dinner, watching TV, going to bed. For like… years. Tra la la la la. Nothing much has changed. Now I get out of bed, take my temperature, go to the bathroom to check my underwear for signs of intelligent life, take a pregnancy test, take some pills, have sex with my husband because it’s number 6 on the list, lie in bed afterwards with my legs in the air because I’ve seen that on TV, take a pregnancy test, take 12 vitamins because a nutritionist told me to, eat avocados because her receptionist told me to on my way out, take a pregnancy test, go to work because Honey, feelin’ sorry for myself don’t pay the Progesterone. Then…

I spend the day pretending my mind’s on my work and playing emotional dodge ball with my yenta coworkers. They toss idiotically personal questions at me about why I’ve been leaving early a lot lately and I hurl back: “I have not been leaving early a lot lately!” because I don’t know what else to say. Then… I leave early and go to my doctor’s appointment.

There I give blood, leave that room with a cotton ball stuck to the crook of my arm with adhesive tape, take off everything but my socks and my cotton ball and put on an open-in-the-back paper gown that only Kim Kardashian or J. Lo. would be dressed-to-impress in. Then…  I lie on an examination table in a giant “M” shape, let the doctor tickle my cervix with her wedding ring as she apologizes for her hand being cold. (like my cervix knows the difference), leave the doctor’s office with a bill so big I might wear it as a costume next Halloween, go to the fertility acupuncturist, go to the fertility yoga class, go to the fertility meditation class, go to the fertility hypnotist, go to the fertility tarot reader- I have no clue why, (maybe the hypnotist gets a kick-back and sent me there subliminally), go to the fertility car dealership. (He has eight kids. He must know something.) Go home. Take a pregnancy test. Take a pill. Eat what’s been my favorite dinner since never: Tofu, asparagus, and lemons while my husband feasts on mango, almonds and garlic. Then we have sex because it’s number 42 on the list. I lie in bed with my legs in the air afterwards because I’ve seen that on TV.

While I’m lying there, I read People magazine with one eye open and my fingers scissored in front of my face looking nothing like Uma Thurman, so I can peek through my hand and filter out any articles with sentences starting with: “Preg…”, “Bab…”, “Twi…”, “Tripl…”, or “Chil…” I’m always done with the entire magazine way before my twenty minute leg hoist is up. (Although in my haste, I once almost missed a really nice story about Baby Face and Twisted Sister doing a concert in Chile.) Then…

I take a pregnancy test. Give myself a subcutaneous stomach needle jab and turn on the TV:

Real Housewives of Anywhere… One is pregnant. They all have kids. Next!

Chopped… Excellent. This guy’s making risotto. Idiot. Everyone knows you can’t make risotto in twenty minutes. Great: He’s dedicating his risotto to his kids and so now of course he has to turn to the camera and tell us all about them. Neeext!

The Golden Girls. Score! It’s the perfect show: None of them’s been pregnant since the Watergate scandal and they don’t allow children in their sub-division.

So I Start Asking: Will My Life Ever Be Right Side Up Again? 

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Are 1/2 Anniversaries 1/2 the Fun or Just Dumb?

So tomorrow marks my 12 1/2 year wedding anniversary. I know it’s corny and stupid. Even my husband thinks so. So it’s not like we’re one of those adorably nauseating couples that are so fricken cutesy you can’t stand to be around them. It’s just me. I celebrate the day we met. I celebrate the day we got engaged. I celebrate our 1/2 anniversary. I celebrate our actual anniversary. You’d think I was an alcoholic just looking for any excuse to celebrate. We met on the 7th so every month on the 7th, I’d bring it up:

“We’ve been together for four months today!”

Then when we got engaged on the 5th, I switched everything over to the 5th.

“We’ve been engaged two months today!”

Then, we got married on the 26th and that’s where we stand. So tomorrow, as I’m sure my husband is fully aware, I’ll turn to him in bed first thing in the morning and say:

“Good morning Honey, do you know what today is?” And he’ll reply as lovingly as always:

“Oh geez, are you still doing that?”

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Why Do People Insist on Interviewing ME?

This week marks a special anniversary of sorts for me. This week, for the 1200th time in my life, my big mouth has gotten me into huge trouble.

A couple of months ago, a woman had posted about a guest she was having on her blog radio talk radio blog show radio (I never remember what the hell they’re really called). Her weekly show is about love and laughter. So the guest that week was going to be talking about how humor is therapeutic, so I tuned in. I was going along fine listening until the interviewee said something that arrived in my ear canal as: “And when I’m talking about humor, I don’t mean ‘jokes’. Jokes don’t mean much. You just hear them and then a minute or two later you just forget about them.” Well, needless to say: To a humor writer and former stand-up comic, thems are some fightin’ words.

So I said to myself: “Lori, it’s a live show. You’re going to get yourself up, go up to that studio and give that interviewee a piece of your mind!” And if the studio hadn’t been a thousand miles away in a different country and the show had been 24 hours long instead of an hour long, I might have. Instead I sent a hate-infused email.

Dear Maia Aziz,

How DARE YOU… I repeat: How DAAAARE YOOOU have on this person who mocks jokes?! Jokes are my life!! Jokes keep people from being angry!!! Jokes are funny!!! FUNNY I Say!! We would all be a society of nut jobs if it wasn’t for JOKES!!

with love

Lori Shandle-Fox, Proud Humor Writer

Well, this Maia person answered me back. She sure did.

Dear Lori,

“Thank you for listening to my radio blog talk blog radio talk show talk. I think you would make an excellent guest. Would you like to be on my show?”

What? What just happened? Is she responding to the wrong email? Lori who? I just cyber got out of my car and squeezed my face into this woman’s cracked open cyber window so I could curse her out for taking my cyber parking spot and she just asked me out for tea?

It could be a trap. It could be an ambush. She could have a dozen of her humor therapist friends lying in wait to group mock me live on the air. But publicity’s publicity so I bit.

And if you’d like to hear me yammer on about Humor & Infertility with Maia Aziz on her weekly show: “Morning Moments with Maia: Conversations of Love and Laughter”, please click on. I promise I occasionally let her get in a word edgewise. blogtalkradio.com/maiaaziz

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#microblogmondays: Spring Break for Infertile Women

Spring Break for Infertile Women. Maybe I should pitch the idea to MTV. What’s hotter than watching a group of women in thong bikinis doing shots on the beach at sunset?

MTV would never air it. They’d be out of business in hours. Clearly women going through fertility treatments desperately need a crazy, wild, college-esque Spring Break. It would just be too disturbing to televise.

I could just picture all of us happy gals getting together for Spring Break. Couldn’t you? All of us…thousands… of us…in one big sorority house: The Delta Gamma Gametes.

How long do you think it would be before our “House of Fun” became a “Fun House”…like at a carnival? Or do I mean “House of Horrors”?

I think everything would start out all warm and fuzzy and chummy and supportive. Then, slowly but surely, we would lose that lovin’ feeling and quickly turn into “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Hormones.”

And let’s see what’s on the week’s agenda, shall we?

Day 1: So who’s bringing what to the pity party? 

“You people just don’t understand what I’m going through! Oh wait. Yeah, you’re going through it too. I forgot. So then if you do know what I’m going through, why don’t you know that I just want all of you to go away and leave me alone?!”

Day 2: Spring Break Work Out: Let’s Get Critical…Critical…

“I know we all hate when people talk about their kids in front of us, so why are we all sitting around talking to each other about how we hate to talk about other people’s kids with other people?”

Day 3: Let the “Wet T-shirt” and other hormone-induced Competitions Begin

“I know it’s horrible that you’ve been going through this for two years…and I do feel for you…I really do…but I’ve been going through this for two and a half years!”

“Two and a half years?! OMG. If I have to go through this for another six months I’ll kill myself!”

“Thanks a lot! I’ve been going through this for six years.

And how about a few hands of Progesterone Poker?:  

“Really? Well, I’ve been going through this for six years AND I’ve had two surgeries and three IUI’s.”

“Well, I’ve had two surgeries, four IUI’s, one IVF and an FET!”

Day 4: You know the fun is on the wane when housekeeping becomes a top priority.

“And if you guys are going to throw Baby Dust at each other, which I think is great…I’m of course all for it…  could you at least clean it up when you’re done? I don’t mean to complain, it’s just like… I’m sure I’m not the only one here who knows how to use a vacuum!”

Back a minute to Doing Shots…

While we women would only have limited technology… A red phone… (A hotline to our fertility doctors for “emergency” questions…)

Our spouses/boyfriends/lovers/partners would be on Spring Break too… in a separate wing of the house. Way over there. Just them, air conditioning, big screen TVs, a 24 hour open bar, pool tables, putting green, stocked refrigerators, two toilets each… and sound-proof walls…

(Hope you laughed today… Please consider signing up for this blog / looking into my Humor eBook over there to the left and at http://licthebook.com)

All Roads (& Dark Alleys) Lead to Infertility

Do you know what the problem with infertility is? I mean besides the stress, the anxiety, the depression, the frustration, the roller coaster ride, the social stigma, the tests, the doctors’ appointments, the drugs, the hormones, the needles, (big breath) the anger, the finger-pointing, hating yourself, hating your spouse, hating your spouse’s family (nothing to do with infertility- just thought I’d throw it in), disrupting your work schedule, the financial devastation… Well this is the problem with infertility: It monopolizes your entire life. You can barely have one solid thought, idea or conversation that doesn’t lead your mind back to the dreaded infertility problem. Every conversation, thought or idea we ever have ends up in a game of Word Association gone terribly wrong down a dark, lonely, alley… All roads (and dark alleys) lead to infertility.

Tree: “Look at that beautiful tree. It’s a pine tree.” Do we think of Christmas trees? Don’t be absurd.

“Pine tree. Pine trees have needles… Oh right. Time for another hormone injection.”

Ballet: “Ballet… Dance. It’s like yesterday when that woman I work with asked me why I came to work late and I danced around the issue. I couldn’t possibly tell her that I had an appointment at my reproductive endocrinologist’s.”

Potato: “Potato…Idaho. I wonder if there are good fertility doctors there… No no, I was thinking about potatoes… Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head. They were married for years without children but now they have kids on a potato chip commercial. I wonder if Mr. or Mrs. had the fertility issue… and if those spuds are biologically theirs.”

Table: “I guess that one over there would look good in the dining room. As long as I don’t have to lie on it with my feet in the air, I really don’t care.”

Oranges: “Are those Navel? I hate when my gynecologist presses down on mine while she’s ‘exploring’. Or are they Bloods? That reminds me: I have to get mine drawn in the morning.”

Pancakes: “Pancakes…Oh, have you ever had them with chocolate chips? I have a poly-cystic ovary. It kind of looks like that.”

Toothpaste: “Toothpaste… Comes in a tube… Yeah, one of mine is blocked.”

Whore: “Whore… I don’t sleep around. So why is she allowed to have eight kids and I have none? Anyway, I’d rather call her a trollop. ‘Whore’ sounds like ‘hormones’.

Jenga: “Jenga…Milton Bradley… MB…embies…embryos”

Grass: “Grass…grass grows. Apparently I can’t grow anything. I’m infertile.”

Job: “Job…Steve Jobs had kids. No fair.”

Tourist: “Tourist…Tour bus… Sounds like ‘Uterus’ (obviously).”

Taco Bell: “Taco Bell… Incompetent, dumb kids working at the drive-thru. My cervix is incompetent. That’s why I can’t have dumb kids of my own working at Taco Bell.”

Gold Fish: “Gold Fish… Fish…Sperm… My husband’s are lazy.

Basketball: “Basketball…Nice shot!…Oh crap, time for the Follistim again.”

Door Knob: “Door Knob… The door to my fertility doctor’s office has one.”

(If you can stand me a minute longer, take a look at my l’il humor ebook over there to the left… & consider subscribing to this here humor blog also.)

Author Anne-Marie Scully Talks to Me of All People

When I was going through fertility treatments, I’ll be honest: I read nothing. I joined nowhere. I didn’t want the melodic sound of my own whining drowned out by the chaotic whining from a crowd of strangers. 
So this month, karma came and kicked me in my heavily IVF injected ass when I personally hand-picked Anne-Marie Scully’s 2013 book: Motherhoodwinked: An Infertility Memoir for the IVF Journey Support Group Book Club on FaceBook. motherhoodwinked coverhttp://www.amazon.com//dp/B00BCLCYGO (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney) Every agony, every heartache, every frustration Anne-Marie’s gone through while trying to get pregnant, she puts out there so that others will not only see and feel but know that it’s not “just them”. And, thankfully, Anne-Marie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.  
 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF:  You leave nothing much out of Motherhoodwinked. We’re all of us, I would say, at our worst emotionally during our infertility struggle and you didn’t hold back on any of it: The ridiculous expectations we have, the crazy things we try, the depressing rituals. It’s the stuff diaries are made of.  Why put all of the raw, very personal insanity out there?
anne-marie scullyAnne-Marie: I found the journey so incredibly lonely, isolating and at times very very frightening. I shared my story simply because I didn’t want anyone else to feel that depth of loneliness and pain. I wanted to connect with other women going through it and let them know how they were feeling was actually normal for someone in their situation. I had found great comfort in reading similar stories myself.
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: Having been older when I first tried to get pregnant, after trying the old-fashioned way for a while, I never even considered doing anything but going straight to a fertility specialist, but you tried everything… And I mean… everything…from the common sense to the bizarre and a lot in between. The short list: A nutritionist, Reiki, acupuncture, Vitamin D, Food Allergist, stopped eating egg whites, brewer’s yeast & cow’s milk, B6, Folic Acid, Omega 3, Royal Jelly, Evening Primrose, Chlorella, Spirulina, sweet potatoes and drank… Billy Goat Plum, Bottle Brush, & Old Man Banksia (which sound like pieces in a board game to me)… and a fortune teller which even in the book you admit probably wasn’t such a great idea. Do you look back at this massive list now and think: “What in the world was I thinking?” and If somebody could magically promise you now that the answer to your infertility was in that list somewhere… would you try them all, all over again?
anne-marie scullyAMS: I guess because I was younger I felt it made sense to try as many of the non-interventionist methods as possible before moving to fertility treatment, but “yes” looking back I do feel ridiculous over some of them and I think I probably knew deep down they were pointless. I was just so desperate, I was willing to try anything and I had this need to constantly be trying something. I found it hard to be patient and just do nothing. The second part of your question is harder for me to answer as I feel I did in the end get to the root of why I wasn’t getting pregnant and the solution isn’t in that list. 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: The whole first half of the book, you were running around a mile a minute trying everything to get pregnant, working twice as hard at your job (you’re thinking you want to get the career work done before you leave to have a baby and they just think you’re a fantastic employee and keep throwing promotions at you)… Then you decide to prove that baby showers don’t bother you so you volunteer to organize everybody else’s baby showers… And this crazy schedule went on for a long time! To be honest, I kept thinking you were going to have a heart attack or nervous breakdown. I felt stressed out just reading about it. Do you remember what it felt like living through it?
anne-marie scullyAMS: Yes it’s very vivid still. I remember how frantic it all was and how utterly confusing. I also remember feeling like I was grieving. I felt a huge sense of loss and sadness for a life that I had imagined, that I didn’t know was ever going to happen. That feeling which I guess can best be compared to grief was just so overwhelming. I didn’t know how I was going to ever escape it. Being busy helped I guess even though it was probably contributing. 
 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: There was a lot of frustration and despair in this book, but to me, there was a partial happy ending: I realized when I read in those last pages about you and your husband getting closer and more loving toward each other that throughout the whole book not only was I rooting for you to have a healthy baby, but that your relationship would survive. You two took on so much so early in the marriage, did you ever think during those first few years that he might say one day: “I just can’t take this anymore. This wasn’t what I signed up for. Bye.”? .    
anne-marie scullyAMS: Yes I worried about it and it affected our marriage hugely. I guess we were both so incredibly open with each other even about the darkest emotions we had. There were no secrets, everything was laid bare. I think that level of communication even though at times it was hard for each of us to hear helped us to survive it. Hiding anything I feel causes issues in a marriage so the best advice I can give is to communicate even if you feel like a sad broken record. 
ed89166a2f439c05d52ea39738b4f7f5 (2)LSF: Motherhoodwinked was published in 2013, soon I think after your miscarriage, after having done IVF for the second time, and you were going to take time to let your body heal and consider your next move. We’d love an update if you’re okay with it. 
anne-marie scullyAMS:  Later that year we did a 3rd round of IVF and I did get pregnant again. We had a daughter born in Feb 2014. When our daughter was 10 months old I fell pregnant again naturally. We had a son born in Oct 2015. I had heard stories like this but I never ever imagined it would happen to me. I’m still finding it hard to believe that after everything, we conceived naturally in the end. Before I did that 3rd round of IVF I had another laparoscopy and immediately went on the pill while waiting for treatment. The doctors at my new clinic advised this protocol so that the endometriosis would not have an opportunity to grow again after the lap. During pregnancy, endometriosis doesn’t grow as the hormones that cause it to are not present. Then when my daughter was born, I was breastfeeding for 8 months and didn’t have a period so again those hormones were not present. So that was a total of about 18 months where my system had a chance to heal. I believe it was the endometriosis that was causing me not to get pregnant initially but I guess I will never know for sure and that is the frustrating thing about all of this. I do believe we would never have conceived at all though without having done IVF first.
I hope you enjoyed our interview and apologize for Anne-Marie being so damn pretty. I try to interview women who are less physically beautiful than I, but ran out of potentials about three years ago. We can only hope that Anne-Marie doesn’t really look like that and that she bought a stock photo somewhere or like mine, her photo’s 20 years old… but she’s only in her thirties now… so I doubt it.

 

Her book can be purchased on Amazon at the address above. Mine can be purchased to the left over there… Just saying.

 

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Infertility is Like a Trail… & the State Fair

If you’re embarking on the infertility trail, (don’t worry, you’ll know it when you’re on it: Dirt road, bumpy, rocky, big holes you can’t see before you tumble head-first into them, quick sand, no street signs telling you which way to go… ) one thing you will find: It’s a crowded son-of-a trail. You may not know what you’re doing, where you’re headed, or how long this stinking trail goes on for… but you’re never alone on it. At any given moment, there are literally millions of others around your town, your state, your Country and many other places on planet Earth plodding along the same miserable miles.

Or if you don’t like my “dusty trail” image, think of infertility like the State Fair: Millions of people waiting willingly but anxiously, voluntarily but reluctantly, to take the same roller coaster ride. The adrenaline’s pumping: Are they scared or excited? It’s hard to tell. Probably a lot of both.

Although there are some big differences:

  1. Fertility treatment weight gain can’t possibly compete with State Fair weight gain. Somehow the math never works out at the Fair where we convince ourselves that we’ve walked off the 12,000 calories we ate in the first half hour.
  2. Going through infertility with millions of others, my husband never once said: “That’s why I never wanted to do this. You know I hate being around people!” or (in his best stage whisper):
  3. “These people in front of us are walking so slowly I’ve almost tripped over them five times. Go around them already!”  Both of which he says at the State Fair every fifteen minutes like clockwork. Some people set their watch by the sun. If I wore one, I’d set mine by my husband’s complaints.
  4. The other millions of people probably won’t be in the same waiting room of the same fertility doctor at the same time as you… Unlike the State Fair, where everybody who lives within a 200 mile radius and their first, second and third cousins decides that Saturday afternoon would be the best time to go… especially if they all plan to saunter next to each other in one long impassable horizontal row that looks more like a protest march than a day at the fair.

The point is this: You can join online infertility support groups or not… You can join local infertility support groups or not… You can tell your family & friends your infertility business… or not. But whatever you choose…no matter what: In those dark, exhaustion & hormone-induced teary-eyed moments in the middle of the night, no matter how much you may want to be alone or think you’re alone… you’re not alone. Out there, at that very same moment, if you listen closely, you can hear a symphony of sniffling, mucous-filled, whining, rambling messes all playing the same tune at the same moment.

(Please click my humor book icon over there to the left for reviews from fertility patients & top fertility professionals & while you’re over there, please consider subscribing to this blog)  Microblog_Mondays

Oh Yeah, We’re Good with Change

I don’t get my fellow U.S. citizens. Everything during this election year is yelling: “We want change!” and then here we are, our lives turned completely upside down this weekend when we turned the clocks ahead one hour… Sixty measly minutes.

It will take some of us weeks to recover. We’ll be in a state of utter mental and emotional turmoil. And, therefore, we won’t stop kvetching about the disruption to our lives to anyone who will listen and feel (or at least feign that they feel) our pain. This could go on clear until Fall when we change the clocks back… when the uproar will start all over counter clockwise.

“I’m so tired. Now I’ll be groggy all week.”

“I always take this week off from work. I just feel so out of it.”

“I always get screwed up. Is it six o’clock or seven o’clock? Is it fall forward and spring back or fall back and spring board? Wait. Did I just get that from that article on the Olympics?”

“It’s so dark when I get up now. It’s like I’m brushing my teeth in the middle of the night.”

“I’m so rattled. I try to live in the moment, but now I don’t know which moment this is: A moment before seven o’clock or a moment before eight o’clock.”

“Now I can’t call my sister in Arizona. They don’t change their clocks. Is she two hours behind us or three hours? She’ll kill me if I call her during one of her shows.”

“So are we on EST now or EDT?”

On top of the emotional angst of the whole “clock changing” idea, people also get overwhelmed about the literal “clock changing” chore.

“I never remember how to change the clock in the car. Great. Now I have to get the manual out of the glove compartment.”

Like it’s such a big inconvenience:

“It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have nine clocks! I have one on my phone, and one on the cable box, and one on the computer, and one on the tablet, and one on the laptop, and one on my security system, and one by the bed, and one on the stove and one in the car… Of course the first six change themselves automatically…”

There is definitely a bright side to all this madness: That Monday after we change the clocks in March is the one-day pass for every single person living or working in a participating location to be late to work and school. “Sorry, I’m late.” (All together now) “I forgot to change my clock.”

I look at it as a rite of Spring: The early stages of slack-offishness which typically accompany the blooming flowers, romance, and warmer weather.

Of course people still try to stretch Monday’s “clock changing” excuse use straight through Thursday:

“I overslept. My body hasn’t caught up yet to the time change.” Or:

“I forgot to change my alarm” which of course makes no sense whatsoever.

I had a roommate years ago who was a flight attendant. (The ideal roommate if you have to have one.) Not only did she fly through different time zones all day every day, but when her mother got sick, she commuted back and forth for months between New York and Austria.

So, keeping my old roommate Herta in mind, all I can say about daylight savings is: It’s one, single, solitary, lousy hour. Now that we’ve all physically changed our clocks, what do you say we just look at the time, accept it as the truth, and move on with our lives?Microblog_Mondays

The “Self-Service” Check-Out isn’t Really

Personally, I love the “self-service” check-out at the supermarkets. It’s great if you don’t have any produce, or coupons, or alcohol, or your own bags, or anywhere to go in the next half hour.

I worked in many a supermarket way before they were “super”markets. I even worked in one pre-scanners. We had to memorize codes for everything. (Scallions: 2410– Sure but ask me what pants I’m wearing while my eyes are looking straight ahead at the computer screen.)

In my estimation, the day supermarket employees started working twice as hard coincides exactly with the day self-service registers were installed.

Every time my husband buys beer, the employee has to get out of her seat, walk around his graying, balding head and past his middle age belly to officially confirm to the register that he’s over 21. At least this affords me the opportunity of saying, each and every time without fail:

“Aren’t you going to check his ID?” Or even better: “He’s over 21… 2 1/2 times.”

Then, as the cashier heads back to her seat at the podium, I call again:

“Wait, I have a coupon.”

This register has trust issues. Not only doesn’t it believe my husband’s over 21 (which is absurd in itself. He looks great for his age but nobody who’s graduated high school in 2012 is going to come up to him at the mall and say: “Hey, weren’t you in my English class?”)

The register apparently also has absolutely no faith in me depositing my coupons into the slot as promised. It politely asks me if I have any coupons and if I answer in the affirmative, it turns on me. It starts yelling songs from The Preacher’s Wife: “Hold on! Help is on the Way!” Things start beeping and the cashier has to come over with a card, a key, and six codes. You know somewhere way back at the beginning of these self-service machines, some supermarket somewhere got burned big time. Someone must have scanned thousands of dollars in coupons, pocketed them and put a tissue in the slot.

Then, I panic because sometimes I can’t find the codes to scan and have to turn the package over six times like a Rubik’s Cube.

Then, I panic when I buy fruits and vegetables. Do I scan the little label? Is it this label or this label? Do I weigh this? Do I use the code? Is this the code? Where exactly is the scale?

Then I panic because I never know where to look. The receipt comes out on the top, but I have to swipe over there, but the change comes out on the bottom, but the store coupons come out on the top but not the same top as the receipt.

Then I panic because the automated cashier accuses me of not putting the item in the bag when I did.

Then I panic because I can hear the impatience in the automated cashier’s automated voice when I’m not getting the item in the bag fast enough.

“Please put item in the bag.”

“Put scanned item in the bag.”

“Bitch, put it in the bag before I cut you.” (My supermarket’s in a bad neighborhood.)

I’m sure my days of playing supermarket checker are numbered anyway. I saw it in an employee’s eyes a few weeks ago when I was having produce issues. She came over and smiled and said: “Here, let me help you” but I could see deep in her pupils that by the time I’d turned that avocado over on the scanner for the fourth time, she wanted to yank it from my grasp: “Oh, just let me do it already!”

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the next time I approach the self check-out, a flash mob bullfight breaks out. Cashiers suddenly cut their breaks short, race to their registers, flick on their number lights and beckon me, urge me, cajole me to come over in an attempt to distract me from their fellow employees who are frantically scurrying around, chaining off all the self-service lanes.

(Thanks for stopping by. Please consider subscribing to this Laughing IS Conceivable Blog for monthly info on how and why I write what I write… if I even know… etc)

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My 5K Chocolate Truffle Run

It’s my husband’s fault. He gave me this huge luscious box of candy on Valentine’s Day. Chocolate truffles no less. The impulse when you get such a thing is to daintily slip off the ribbon that’s holding the chocolates hostage and then, when no one’s looking, quietly take the box into the bedroom, go under the blanket, and snort up the entire contents without your hands ever even touching the candy: Like a steam cleaner sucking up the delectable morsels. Or, if you’d rather: A Venus fly trap going after its prey.

The obvious problem is: I usually find the chocolate scale to be very reliable: 10 pounds of chocolate equals 10 pounds of body fat. It takes 12 minutes to eat and 1200 miles of running over a 2 1/2 year period to get it off. Still worth it I think. (Theys was some good truffles.)

So in response to my conundrum, my husband, (the same husband who’s my truffle-pusher), introduced me to a nutrition app. Now it owns me. I had been going along my merry way eating more or less the same for at least a decade: Eating healthy foods during the week and then whatever I wanted on the week ends… and sometimes Friday nights…and sometimes Friday all day starting immediately after I’d woken up and run into the bathroom to weigh myself.

I always kept mental calculations in my head and tried to stay under 2000 calories daily. Well the app will have none of that. Apparently if I go over 1630 calories, a hand will come out of my phone and slap me across the face. I don’t dare risk it. And since I’ve found that consuming fewer than 1630 calories per day is not only improbable but inhumane, the only way around that stinking nemesis app is to barter myself more calories via exercise.

I’ve always been one of those nuts who likes to exercise but now running has become what sex was during fertility treatments: An unpleasantry I have to trudge through so I can get what I really want. In that case, it was a family. In this case it’s the remainder of my Valentine’s candy.

So every day, you’ll see me out there in front of my house, doing the 5K Truffle Run up and down my 1-block-long subdivision. I keep a few chocolates in my mailbox at the end of the driveway. Every time I do a lap, I reach in and take the bite that I earned and then go around again to run it off. I notice I run faster these days. I’m also breathing heavier and sweating more: Not like when you’re an athlete pushing the limits of your physical capabilities. More like when you’re excited to see your new love.

If may be just my imagination, but as I round the cul-de-sac, I can swear that I can smell those chocolates inside the closed metal mailbox. Maybe when I hit my goal weight, I’ll get a job at the airport sniffing around the baggage carousels. If someone’s smuggling in Hershey bars from Pennsylvania, I’d be the first to know.

Believe me, you don’t have to say it. I know that I’m on the brink of being out of control. You know when I’ll be totally out of control? Next week when I start stashing chocolates in my neighbors’ mailboxes along my 1 block route.

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