No! Not My Eyes!

In my 45 years, I’ve endured any number of uncomfortable, unpleasant and undignified medical tests and procedures. Obviously I would have preferred not to, but since it was always in the name of fixing, removing or preventing a health issue, I could eventually talk myself into and through it.

But when it comes to corrective laser eye surgery, I’m having a whole lotta trouble convincing myself to voluntarily lie down on a table to let someone affix a suction ring to my eyeball and slice a flap from my cornea.

I’ve worn glasses for 34 of my 45 years. Contacts no longer work for me. My prescription is so strong that even the thinnest of featherlite lenses is of Coke bottle thickness. I have dents behind my ears and divots on the sides of my nose from the constant pressure. My glasses are the first thing I put on and the last thing I take off every day. I’m one eye chart line away from needing bifocals. I have every reason to want laser eye surgery and, as I found out at my consultation last week, I’m a perfect candidate.

So what’s holding me back?

  1. I’m basically a chicken. Several years ago when I needed to get my four wisdom teeth removed, I cancelled and rescheduled the procedure three times before they promised me a general anesthetic so that I’d able to go through with it. I’m not sure the 1 mg of Ativan the eye centre is promising me is going to do the trick.
  2. I know too much. When Luc had his laser surgery 8 years ago I watched the whole thing on the handy-dandy big screen TV in the waiting room. His eyeball was the size of my head. There were puffs of smoke (which the good eye centre people swear is simply vapour from the laser but I know was his vision going up in flames). It was not pleasant to witness, let alone imagine doing to myself. Some people like to be fully informed ahead of time, but I’d rather crawl into an MRI machine not knowing just how loud and claustrophobic it’s really going to be (been there) or consume a radioactive cocktail not knowing exactly how gross it will taste going down (and back up again) (done that) than read the leaflet or watch the play-by-play in high definition beforehand.
  3. It’s expensive. As we’ve talked about before, Luc and I have very different spending habits. And this definitely falls into the big-ticket-item category. Especially because we don’t have that kind of money lying around. And the van needs repairs. And we want to go on a winter holiday with the kids. I could totally talk myself out of this based on the cost alone.

But here’s the thing. Luc swears that having laser surgery was the best decision he ever made. And he has an endless list of reasons why I SHOULD go through with it. No more glasses or contacts. No more fogging up in the winter, wiping off raindrops in the spring and fall, and constantly pushing my glasses back up my sweaty nose in the summer. No more uber-expensive prescription lenses and cheap snap-on sunglasses. No more nose prints after a kiss or readjustments after a hug. Overall improved quality of life. Being able to go snorkeling on our upcoming holidays and actually SEE the fish!

Plus he’ll hold my hand. Reassure me. Look after the kids and the household while I recover. Slap it on the Visa, earn Aeroplan points for our trip, pay it all off in the long run, and help me get on with what he and the good eye centre people promise will be a better, clearer life.

He has an answer for every argument I put forward. He has the appointment booked for me. He has the credit card in his hand ready to put down the deposit. It’s a gift he wants to give me.

I have 24 hours left to make my decision. And if I don’t do it now, I know I never will.

I know I CAN. If a doctor told me I’d go blind if I didn’t, I’d psyche myself up, lie down and let him have at it. The big difference is that this is a choice. And one I’m finding exceptionally hard to make.

I’ll let you know if next week, I’m writing this blog with brand new eyes.

Read what Luc has to say about laser surgery.

Just Get On the Damn Treadmill Already

Did I mention I hate exercising?

I know if I exercise, I’ll feel better. Be healthier. Maybe lose a little weight. Fend off a disease or two.

But I hate it. Even just the idea of it.

I hate team sports. I hate individual sports. I’m naturally lazy, unnaturally inflexible, and sweat (my own or anyone else’s) disgusts me.

Over the years, I’ve dabbled in classes. Aerobics. Tai chi. Kickboxing. At least those had a social element to them that I enjoyed. But I never stuck with any of them.

I’ve also tried joining a gym. More than once. Again, fun for a bit, but not anything I wanted to pursue beyond a few weeks. I got more out of the signing bonus the last time I joined (a massage and a free gym bag) than I did out of the facility itself.

But I’m 44. I’ve got aches and pains and am carrying a little too much weight around my middle. I’ve got horrible genes on both sides of the family. Last year I underwent a slew of cardiovascular tests for unexplained chest pains. And I’m quickly approaching the age my mom was when she was diagnosed with the cancer that killed her.

Really, do I need any more reasons to get off my lazy butt?

About the only exercise I actually get any sort of enjoyment out of is walking.

I like that I can walk alone or with a friend. That I can enjoy some silence or have a chat. I like the steady rhythm and the need for no more equipment than a pair of shoes. I like that for a non-outdoorsy person, it actually gets me outdoors.

I know that Luc doesn’t consider walking to be “real” exercise. He’d like us to run together. And while I appreciate that he wants to do something active with me, he sees walking as too tame and a waste of time for him, and I see running as involving way too much bouncing, panting and sweating for me.

And so I’ll walk.

This isn’t a New Year’s resolution. Nor is it some life-defining moment. It’s not a complete change of lifestyle; it’s just the simple acknowledgement of something else that needs to get done on a regular basis, like washing the dishes or scrubbing the toilets.

I’ll head outside. I’ll go for a walk. And if it’s too hot, too cold, too early, too late, too wet, too icy, too windy, too dark or a million other reasons not to go outside, I’ll just get on the damn treadmill. I may never love it, just like I’ll never love folding laundry or changing the furnace filter. But I’ll do it.

Check out Luc’s thoughts on exercise.

My New Year’s Non-Resolution

Happy Almost New Year everyone!

This year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to try a different challenge every month. Two reasons:

  1. I’m pretty much certain that after 44 years of experience, I lack the resolve to do anything for an entire year, let alone the rest of my life (hello exercise and eating well), and
  2. I like a good challenge. Especially if it involves charts. Or checklists. Or points. Ooh! Points!

So for January, I’m going to do an “Eat through the freezer and pantry” challenge. I made a sad attempt at this last summer. I think it lasted until we ran out of milk. And much of the food that was in my freezer and pantry back then is still there now, buried in ice or pushed back into the darkness by weekly grocery runs for food I either already have (but can’t find) or don’t need (because I already have it but can’t find it) or end up throwing out (because by the time I find what I already have, it’s expired or freezer-burnt beyond recognition).

I got the idea from several sites, including Good Cheap Eats and Keeper of the Home. And I like that it has several benefits, including:

  • Using up food that would otherwise go to waste.
  • Saving money.
  • Forcing me to become more conscious of what I buy and how I (do or don’t) use it.

I’m also hoping that making a concerted effort to eat through the freezer and pantry in January will lead to clean, neatly organized shelves and a clean, defrosted freezer. Something we haven’t seen since we bought the house. In 1999.

As for the coming months, I haven’t decided which challenges will happen when. But I can guarantee there will be decluttering. There will be me time. And yes, there will be exercise and eating well.

If you have any suggestions for a month-long challenge, let me know. And I’ll keep you posted on my progress along the way.

Here’s to 2015!

And here are Luc’s thoughts on New Year’s resolutions.

If I Had a Million Dollars…

Actually, for the sake of argument, let’s say $30 million.

Luc and I love the lottery. Any lottery. We’re part of a group of friends on our street that buys weekly Lotto Max tickets. We pick up Cash for Life scratch tickets at the grocery store on a regular basis. We’ve purchased a Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Dream of a Lifetime ticket every year since we started dating.

Do we ever win? Sometimes. A free ticket here, $10 there. Once we even won a $250 Farm Boy gift card in the CHEO lottery (not the $1.7-million grand prize, including a fully furnished dream home, extra spending money, a car, groceries and house cleaning services for a year, mind you, but exciting nonetheless).

But do we fantasize about winning? ALL THE TIME.

Especially when we’re stuck in the car together for the 8-hour drive to visit my dad and his wife. Cuz once the kids are settled in with their headphones, video games and DVDs, there’s not much else to do than have a deep and serious discussion about the important things in life. Like what we’d do if we won the lottery.

Thirty million dollars seemed like a good amount to work with and so we started dreaming…

Luc and I were in agreement on several issues, immediately quitting our jobs being one of them. But what about the details? Here, in no particular order, is what I would do with $30 million.

  • Take a good chunk of it, say $10 million, and give it to the aforementioned CHEO. No, not to buy up every Dream Home lottery ticket thus guaranteeing a win (hmmm…) but to say thanks. Because if it weren’t for CHEO, my children would not be alive today. Yes, I’m prone to exaggeration, but not in this case. Between The Boy’s severe asthma (which has had him to the point of barely breathing on more than one occasion) and The Girl’s being admitted in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis when she was 6, I would be minus two kids if not for this amazing hospital. You can’t put a price on your children’s lives. But yep. At least $10 million to CHEO.
  • Try to be responsible and invest another $10 million for the future. I’d hate to be one of those people who show up on “The Lottery Ruined My Life.” It’s millions of dollars people! There’s no way you should end up broke and living on the street!
  • Treat my nearest and dearest friends and family. Car payments? Covered. Mortgages? Paid. Student loans? Gone. Oh, and by the way, we’re all going to Mexico. On us. Yes, I know Revenue Canada may have something to say about that, but that’s what a good financial advisor is for.
  • Max out the kids’ RESPs. Of course, they don’t need to know this. And they’ll still be required to work summer jobs to help pay for their education because they need to understand the value of money and the satisfaction that comes from working hard and saving for a long-term investment in their own future. But in the end? Surprise! Their education is fully paid for and they’ve got money in the bank!
  • All those places I want to travel to? I’m there.
  • Redecorate the entire house from top to bottom. No more living with paint colours I don’t totally love. Or furniture that doesn’t quite match. Or a kitchen that could get by with a facelift but really requires an overhaul. I’d tackle this sucker one room at a time, until the place looked like something straight out of Style At Home magazine.
  • Get a pedicure. I’m seriously overdue for a pedicure.

Check out what Luc would do with $30 million.

 

Losing Myself

Luc spent the entire long weekend working in the yard. Then out of the blue on Tuesday, he told me he’d written a new blog post on losing yourself in doing things that truly make you happy. I’m assuming the two go together.

He left me to mull over what truly makes me happy so that I can catch up to him. It’s been a week and I’m still mulling.

It’s not that I don’t do things that make me happy. I read. I write. I shop. I go for coffee with my Book Club girls. I sit in the backyard on Friday nights after work sipping wine, listening to music and hanging out with our neighbour-friends while our posse of kids plays around us.

But lose myself? In something I love? If I knew the answer to that, I’d do it more often!

I’m forever reading self-help books, surfing philosophical websites and filling out quizzes in Oprah magazine to try to figure out what my passion is and how to fit more of it into my life. According to all of my sources, when you’re able to lose yourself doing something you love, that’s a pretty good indication of what your passion is.

The more I’ve thought about it for this post, the more I’ve realized that whenever I get completely absorbed by some activity to the point that I lose track of time and everything else going on around me, the common denominator is that I’m controlling something in some way. Doesn’t sound very positive. But bear with me here.

I love to garden. But the things I love most about gardening involve bending nature to my will: I can spend hours pulling out weeds that dare to sprout where I don’t want them; edging my flower beds when the grass has the audacity to creep into them; neatly piling mulch around my perfectly placed hostas (or dividing and replanting them when they don’t grow in the direction I want); trimming wayward branches; and pruning unruly plants.

I also love organizing. I can easily while away an afternoon pulling items out of drawers, then putting them back in again in nice, even, categorized rows. My books are organized, as are the clothes in my closet. I even broke into one of my fellow wine-sipping neighbour-friend’s houses when he and his family were on vacation and executed a Kitchen Intervention. Along with a co-conspirator, we raided every shelf and every cupboard, throwing out expired goods, amalgamating boxes of cereal and stacking cans of creamed corn until there was a place for everything and everything in its place. I didn’t come down from that high for days!

And I love to edit. Give me a document that’s good but not great and I’ll lose myself in it until it is. It could be a one-pager or a 100-page report, but I’ll research, cut, paste, tweak, cross-reference, correct and polish without a complaint until it’s done.

I’m pretty lucky, I guess. Between what I need to do for my work and what I want to do for my home, I’m often doing things I can lose myself in. I have the joy of editing, organizing and gardening, followed by the pride of stepping back and admiring my handiwork.

And if it means that for a few brief hours I have some semblance of control in my life (especially during a period when so much of what is going on in my life feels particularly out of my control) then I guess what might appear to be a negative is actually a reassuring positive.

Check out Luc’s thoughts on doing what he loves.

 

 

Blog Out Loud (Gulp!)

I’m very excited (and more than a little nervous) to say that Luc and I will be reading at this year’s Blog Out Loud event in Ottawa!

Along with 9 other Ottawa bloggers, we’ll be reading our favourite post from the past year, as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival.

Considering…

  • until I started blogging, the only people I shared anything I wrote with were family and very close friends and
  • the last time I voluntarily got up in front of a crowd to speak was in Grade 8 when I gave a speech on the etiquette of dating in the 19th century

…I’m a crazy combination of proud, honoured and scared out of my wits.

The event is taking place this Tuesday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m., at Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Lisgar Street, Ottawa.

We’d love to see you there!

Check out what Luc has to say about Blog Out Loud.

Let’s Hear It for the Liebster!

 

liebster2Although it’s not the focus of Me Woman You Man, I’ve been on a decluttering / organizing / minimalist kick for just over a year (just ask Luc…every time he misplaces something now and can’t find it, he accuses me of “decluttering it”). So a number of blogs that I follow are related to these topics.

So how happy was I this week when one of those bloggers nominated me for a Liebster Award!

Thank you, Anne over at Minimalist Sometimes for the nomination! I’m proud to say I’ve been following Anne since Day 1 of her journey and I can always find something inspiring in what she writes.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Liebster, it’s a by-bloggers-for-bloggers award…a spread-the-love chain letter if you will with no bad luck attached (at least I hope not!).

Here are the rules (which can vary) that Anne gave me for accepting this award:

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you
  • Answer the 11 questions you were given
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 500 followers
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Tag your nominees and post a comment in their blog so they know they’ve been nominated!

Now, since I’m on a decluttering / organizing / minimalist kick, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole “11” angle. It’s a lot. Likely more than necessary. I could probably get by with less. (These are the things I tell myself when I’m going through socks, say, or DVDs.)

So, in the spirit in which it was offered, I’ll answer Anne’s 11 questions (I love the ones she chose by the way), but I’m going to reduce the other conditions by about half to 6 nominations and 6 questions. I’m also going to recycle my 6 questions from Anne’s list (how efficient of me, right? Just like I don’t need another kitchen gadget or flower vase, we don’t need to be adding excess questions to our world when we already have perfectly good ones at our disposal! Plus I’m curious about others’ answers to them). I hope I’m not tempting the blogging fates by changing the rules!

Here goes…

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS I WAS ASKED

1. What is the one thing you are proud of? The fact that although I take an agonizingly long time to make decisions (everything from buying a house to having kids to what to make for dinner) I usually make the right one and have very few regrets.

2. If you won the lottery, by a substantial amount (so money was no longer a factor), what would you do? Keep the house, but pay it off and redecorate it (I love my neighbourhood too much to leave), book a trip (and then another and then another), look after the kids’ future, and buy the Children’s Hospital whatever is on their wish list (because we owe them both of our kids’ lives).

3. Your absolute favourite dessert?  Chocolate cheesecake…so much so that Luc and I decided to forego a traditional wedding cake when we got married and had it served up instead.

4. What three words do you think your closest friends would use to describe you and what three words would you use to describe yourself? Them: loyal, practical, emotional. Me: loyal, practical, emotional.

5. Your favourite quote? I have notebooks full of quotes I’ve saved over the years, but the one that I try to live by is “You do not have to be your mother unless she is who you want to be.”

6. Mountains or beach? Beach! (preferably in Mexico at an all-inclusive resort…and paid for with the money I won in number 2…)

7. Can you sing? Do I? Yes. Can I? Depends how many glasses of wine I’ve had…

8. What is number one on your bucket list? To be published by someone other than myself (hmmm, maybe I should have included “craves validation” in number 4…).

9. Holy smokes! The apocalypse is here! Your family and pets are safe. You’re at home and can only take what you can carry. What do you save? Rover (my favourite stuffed animal who I’ve had since I was 5 years old). Pretty much anything else could be replaced. (Whoa. Just putting that into words sheds a whole new light on everything I own. This should make the decluttering / organizing / minimalist process a lot easier! Watch out, Luc! Hang on to your valuables!)

10. If you could have a teleportation device that connects your current location to one specific location, what would that location be and why? My dad’s house so that I could see him, his wife and the rest of that side of the family more often. And because the 7-hour drive is a killer.

11. You get a letter in the mail from 90-year-old you. She/He tells you 3 amazing things you’ve accomplished. What are those 3 things? 1) Found and married the love of my life. 2) Had two remarkable kids. 3) Had my book published.  Two down, one to go!

OK, on to my nominees…I follow about 50 blogs right now, and as I went through them to pick out my nominees, I realized a couple of things:

  1. Some really amazing bloggers haven’t posted in ages (and I miss them).
  2. Some of the blogs I follow have THOUSANDS of followers (and I’m very jealous).

So in choosing my nominees, I tried to make sure they had posted something in the recent past and that they were under the 500 mark for followers.

MY LIEBSTER NOMINEES (in no particular order)

Motherhood Honestly (because we should all tell it honestly)

15 Minute a Day Home Purge Challenge (because if you can do 15 minutes a day, I can too!)

Square Rutabaga (because I love the idea of finding my “square root”)

Kerry’s Organized Chaos (because I strive for organized chaos!)

OrtizsCrazyLife (because it helps to share the day-to-day dealings of having a child with Type 1 Diabetes)

Minimalist Believer (because there can be a spiritual side to having/wanting/needing less)

I hope my nominees will accept their award by answering the following.

MY QUESTIONS FOR MY NOMINEES

  1. If you won the lottery by a substantial amount (so money was no longer a factor), what would you do?
  2. What three words do you think your closest friends would use to describe you and what three words would you use to describe yourself?
  3. Your favourite quote?
  4. What is number one on your bucket list?
  5. Holy smokes! The apocalypse is here! Your family and pets are safe. You’re at home and can only take what you can carry. What do you save?
  6. If you could have a teleportation device that connects your current location to one specific location, what would that location be and why?

Thanks again, Anne for the nomination. I accept my Liebster with pride (and a few cut corners!)

And a special shout-out to our friend over at Free But Fun who nominated Me Woman You Man and Me Man You Woman for another blogging award back in November, but we were too busy/overwhelmed/lazy to respond.

Happy blogging!