Category Archives: what the …?

How I learned I’m the girl in the horror movie who screams

It began the way any good rom com begins. Half a bottle of wine in the Hydro Flask, headlamps at the ready, kayak in the water, pants nowhere to be seen. (Because I was in a bikini. This is not that kind of movie, guys.)

We loaded up the dry bag and pushed our two-seater kayak into the water just as the edge of the sun began to brush the tops of the tallest buildings on Siesta Key. The water was calm, the breeze barely blowing enough to rustle my hair.

Jared and I paddled out from Turtle Beach, into the intercoastal, for our* first sunset/full-ish moon paddle. Que romantico, I know, I know. I really know how to spoil a guy.

Who wouldn't want to do this, right?

Who wouldn’t want to do this, right?

Aside from a few times when one of us stopped paddling and the other didn’t strangle them mostly because we all know who the first suspect would be there, it was completely smooth sailing. We watched the sun set lower and lower, giggling about how we were literally paddling off together into the sunset.


Literal use of literal.

It was dusk by the time we reached the beach at Midnight Pass, and we had the place to ourselves. We watched the last of the light slip into the ocean as the stars began to come out, one by one. Quite a few stars came out, actually, despite the cloudy sky. Lots of stars, but absolutely no moon.

(That’s not ominous at all.)

We poured the wine and joked about how we’d go skinny dipping (no we wouldn’t) except for the fact that the horror movie rules clearly state that one of us would have to get eaten by a shark. And we had ice cream to eat at home, so getting eaten by a shark was really pretty much out of the question.

When we got back in the kayak, the sky had faded entirely to black, but our eyes were adjusted to the dark at that point. Plus, the ambient lights from the Key gave us enough to see the channels through the mangroves, so we left our headlamps turned off and began our leisurely paddle home.

We’d gone through some shallow sections on the long route out, and knew we were likely to hit a few areas with just a foot or two of water on the path home, so we were on the lookout for any spots that appeared to be too shallow to cross.

We were not prepared for something enormous to come rising out of the water a foot from our boat.

“What the …?!?” Jared yelled as I stared at the water swirling, then SMACK! Something hit the water — hard — sending wake that shook the kayak. Before we had a chance to react, it happened again, nearly in the same spot. Water roiling for just a moment, and SMACK!

I’m pretty proud to say that I at least waited until the second one before I let a bloodcurdling scream go. (Sorry, everyone on Siesta Key.)

“Go! Let’s go! GET OUT OF HERE!” I shrieked at Jared from the back of the kayak. I wasn’t sure what had just happened, but I damn sure wasn’t going to let Jaws catch me without a fight. And let me tell you, you really don’t know just how fast you can make a kayak go until you think you’re paddling for your life.**

After considerable research*** it appears we probably were “attacked” by … a manatee. Maybe two of them (or possibly a ray, but given the size of the thing coming out of the water at us, we’re leaning toward giant fucking manatee). Most likely, we surprised a mother and baby (omg I am so sorry Mrs. Manatee — I would never do that on purpose!) and they were just using the only defenses they had available — those tremendous flat tails, which they slapped down on the water like a whale. Speaking of which, I always thought I’d be one of those people who’d be really cool about it if I were kayaking and a whale came up right next to me, but … yeah. Probably not. Good to know.

I think in the horror movie, we would arrive home harrowed but triumphant before falling into one another’s arms. In reality, there was a lot more of me saying, “But WHAT EVEN JUST HAPPENED?!?” over and over again until Jared showed me this video.

*It should be noted that this was not my first kayak rodeo — I’d made this same nocturnal, nautical voyage with a group of friends a few months before, and had paddled the same route in daylight (more or less) a few other times. Jared had actually been out on most of it, too. This is all related.

**Jared would like me to point out that he did not fear for his life and actually wanted to go back and look, but was respectful of my wishes and state of abject terror. I would like to point out that when we got about a football field’s distance away and he told me it was okay, his voice cracked. 

***We searched “manatee kayak attack” on the YouTubes.

What a pain in the …

For a girl who’s used to going into the dentist and walking out with nothing but a zippy new toothbrush and a pocketful of compliments on how pretty her teeth are, yesterday was rough.

I made a last minute appointment, even though I’d just had my teeth cleaned a little over a month ago, for some jaw pain. I figured it was stress-related and that I was clenching and grinding my teeth. I figured they would tell me to take some more ibuprofen, pop in a mouthguard, and send me on my way.

I did not figure they would put me on a liquid diet for a week and tell me to stick an elongated cotton ball, which, yes, looks totally like a tampon, between my front teeth a few times a day. I also did not figure they’d tell me to come back in a week, and, if I’m able to open my mouth at that point, get a retainer.

I didn’t think for a second they would tell me that temporomandibular disorders (TMD, or, as you might better know it, TMJ) could be really serious and cause me to have problems chewing my food in the future if we don’t fix it now.

We didn’t even talk about how pretty my teeth are.

So, I’ll probably be posting a bit about this at Fit Bottomed Girls later this week (like, Thursday, when my weekly column runs), but thought I’d write a little something here as well because, ummm, I’m not much of a smoothie maker, and, if I’m going to get through the next week without being a TOTAL jerk, I’m gonna need a lot of good smoothies and other liquid meals. And I really do mean liquid — even mashed potatoes are off the menu.

Suggestions? Recipes? Just want to virtually point and laugh at the girl behind the computer who’s talking like Alyssa Milano (come on, I’m not the only one who notices she doesn’t move her mouth when she talks, right?)? Have at it in the comments!

No, seriously, what’s for lunch?

I was about to put together a whole post on how much I’ve enjoyed trying some new recipes and pointing you toward some of the sites that have been inspiring me, but that’s going to have to wait because right now, I’m trying to figure out how I went grocery shopping yesterday and have nothing to eat for lunch today. No, really. I can’t figure out ANYTHING to eat. I’m likely to sit here and starve to death.

I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that block cheese was on sale, so between that and the buy-one-get-one-free crackers, I felt like I had a full cart and plenty to eat, but I’m pretty sure I can’t (well, shouldn’t anyway) subsist on sharp cheddar and Ritz alone. (I also got bananas and avocado and Greek yogurt, for those concerned about whether or not I actually have nothing but cheese in the house.)

I think it’s also because we had a cookout last weekend where guests brought sides, leaving us with a fridge full of leftovers and jars of things we don’t ever actually buy or eat ourselves but I can’t bring myself to throw away. This means that I look in the fridge before shopping and think, hmmm, obviously we have plenty of food. I guess I just need chocolate milk and eggs today!

Okay, fine, it might just be that I’m lazy and don’t actually feel like making anything, but still, it’s infuriating to know that I had an entire STORE full of FOOD at my disposal yesterday, and didn’t manage to purchase anything that sounds appetizing right now. Please tell me I’m not the only one to have done this. And then, please bring me a panini.

Things I don’t get

Overstuffed grocery bags. When I go to the grocery store, I generally bring more than enough reusable bags. I mean, I pretty much have a closet full of them, so why not, right? But invariably, the bagger acts like it’s a contest to see how few bags he can get away with using. And not only that — there’s always one bag that gets, like, every heavy item I purchased. Let me tell you, two milks, a few canned goods and a large yogurt = heavy. Why not just put a couple of those items in one of the 63 other bags I brought in that you haven’t used? WHY?

Josh Groban’s music. I … just don’t understand the appeal.

I-95 through New York City. Whose brilliant idea was this? I mean, most cities have the option to drive around. Sure, you can drive through Atlanta or Indianapolis, but if you’re hitting it during a busy time, no problem — just hop on 465 or 285 and whip around. This does not appear to be the case in New York, where I can’t imagine it’s EVER not stop and go.

Instagram. I know, you’re all going to hate me, but, as much as I love the fact that it gets more people to share pictures, I mostly don’t get why it’s suddenly so cool to make your photos look like they were taken in 1973 and sat in a photo album for the last few decades.

Clothes that are just straight unflattering. I guess if I were a size 2 and had perfect arms and legs, I wouldn’t be as concerned about whether or not a dress shows that I have a waist, but lately, it seems like there are so many clothes out there that are basically muumuus and, well, that only serves to make me look much, much bigger than I am. And most ladies I know prefer to have clothes that don’t make them look twice as big as they are, so, what’s the deal with this trend? (I’m talking to you, anthropologie. I shouldn’t have to add a belt to every. single. thing. I try on in your store, should I? This was not the case a year ago.)

What are things that you’re just not getting lately? It’s not just me, right?

‘Fraidy Kristen

Roller coasters really don’t frighten me. I mean, sure, as the car lurches to a start, I tend to do a double check on my harness or belt — you know, just to make sure in case the theme park worker didn’t really check. And, to be honest, I don’t know what I’d do if I found that it wasn’t latched properly, other than hold on extra tight, I guess. But still, I’m not actually scared.

This? Not scary.

The only thing that really scared me at Busch Gardens this trip (aside from some occasional horrible manners, or lack thereof, witnessed in strangers) was this stupid swaying bridge thing … in the Elmo playland. Yes, I’m fully aware of how ridiculous that is.

In my mind, I am totally aware that it’s completely safe. I’m not nervous watching anybody else go over something like that, and I can see the mechanics — it’s obviously totally secure. But, three steps in, and I’ve already sweated through my shirt and am thisclose to hyperventilating. Could I be any less cool, I wonder?

I keep thinking that, if I just keep facing this stupid fear, eventually, it will go away. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go? Especially when you consider the fact that I’m totally okay with riding a roller coaster that goes about 50x higher than Elmo’s damn Indiana Jones bridge.

Any of you have irrational fears? Have you ever been able to get over them, or do they still border on paralyzing?

Come out, come out, wherever you are

There are a number of reasons I hesitate to call myself an “adult.”

I might be staring down 30 (not that I think 30 is so old, but come on now; nobody talks about those 30-year-old kids), but I don’t really feel very grown up most of the time. Except when I’m paying bills or buying Grown Up Stuff like mattresses and life insurance.


It might look innocent, but something wicked this way rots. GAH.

I definitely don’t feel grown up when it comes to things around the house. (Even though I now live in a Grown Up House.) Take, for instance, the refrigerator. A smell is coming from it. It’s hard to describe. It smells pungently ripe, and angry. And I’m terrified.

It could be one of a number of things. You see, if I catch something just as it’s about to go bad, I’m great about trashing it or composting it. But, if it’s past the almost bad stage and gets into the sweet baby jebus WHAT is that? stage, I’m more likely to hope the Tupperware does its thing and holds the stink in until someone else takes care of it. And, you know, since he’s the only other person living here, that other person is probably going to end up being my husband. (Hey, he knew what he was getting into when he married me. DON’T YOU PITY HIM.)

Unfortunately, some piece of Tupperware (well, probably bargain Tup-r-wear or something) isn’t holding up its end of the bargain. The smell is not even contained within the fridge anymore — the entire kitchen is affected. I’ve avoided the kitchen as long as I can (this lady likes to eat, folks), and my husband won’t be home until the end of the week, so it appears I’ll have to Grow Up and Do Something. Ugh.

It might be the tempeh from a few weeks ago. And I think I lost an onion or two recently. Yikes, that cucumber looks really bad. And while the Gorgonzola cheese didn’t smell all that unstinky to begin with, it looks like it could give a teenage football player’s jock strap a run for its money right about now.

I’m off to put on nice underwear so that when the authorities find The Lady Who Died From Cleaning Out Her Rotten Ass Fridge, my mother won’t have to be embarrassed that her only daughter was found wearing old undies.  (Also, if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days, send over the authorities, would you?)

The chills

I’m kind of a softy, I’ll admit. I cry at kids movies (Bolt had me sobbing), and I’ve been known to get weepy at commercials (what were those — Taster’s Choice? Where the couple was in love, but the love story just wasn’t working itself out? You know what I mean). However, today I hit a new low — I found myself in tears, actual tears, two times while watching … wait for it … the world championship Ironman triathlon race. Sheesh.

Now, I do get chills at sporting events, and I’ve definitely found myself choked up during a really phenomenal play at a basketball game. (Someone, please jump in here and tell me I’m not the only one.) But seriously, a triathlon? On TV?

I had good reason, really — they were telling all of these touching stories about some of the amateurs competing. I mean, there was some dude, and I wasn’t really paying attention, but he used to do some sort of racing, and got in an accident, and couldn’t use his legs anymore. I think maybe they thought he was going to die, but I might have that mixed up with one of the other ten stories. Anyway, he was there, doing the Ironman 70.2 (DUDE, that is a LONG race), using his arms to power himself through.

And then, some other kid was in an accident (this one they definitely thought was going to die), and he fought death so that his parents wouldn’t suffer, and now, he’s been training and competing and is bascially awesome. I didn’t cry about him, though.

The second sob session was triggered by Team Hoyt, whom I’ve written about at That’s Fit before. I mean, this kid was born with cerebral palsy, and his dad has been carrying him through races all over the world for decades. The dad is now 68 years old, and they’re nearing 1000 races — he hopes to hit that mark next year. They were inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame, and rightfully so. I mean, talk about love and inspiration — I could cry again right now.

And no, I am NOT pregnant, nor am I PMS-y. I just am sometimes pretty blown away by the emotions (and stories) sports can bring about.

This salad BURNS calories

This weekend, we went out for dinner at a nice restaurant with some family and friends. It was Mexican (because, you know, when do I eat anything else), but it was “contemporary Mexican,” which basically meant I couldn’t get my $3 chalupa. Instead, I ordered a $14 shrimp and avocado salad.

The salad was a decent size (not huge or overwhelming, but sufficient for an entree salad), but it came to me with eight shrimp, each halved the long way, and four gigantic pieces of lettuce. And, of course, there were lots of other delicious things on there — big wedges of tomato, diced mango, and … I don’t know. Other stuff.

But here’s my question — how the hell do they expect people to eat that? I mean, I was still cutting things up by the time everyone else was halfway through their meal. And, even after spending that much time cutting things up (and, of course, knocking bits onto the table in the process), I still didn’t get all the lettuce cut up well, so even when I’d eaten all the good stuff, it looked like I’d only eaten half my meal.

If I pay $14 for a salad, shouldn’t the work be done for me? Shoot, if I pay $5 for a salad, I think the work should be done for me. There’s just no delicate or polite way to cut that stuff up at your seat with a butter knife — do it for me while you’re in the kitchen and have a cutting board, sharp knife, and the right angle!

Tell me I’m not the only one this pisses off.

Also, please, somebody, pat me on the back for having a SALAD at a Mexican restaurant. And only one margarita.

A mind of its own

Like many people, I have a, uh, personal massager. A personal massager I keep in a drawer in my bedside table. And I think it’s possessed.

A week or so ago, while Jared was traveling for work, I walked into my bedroom and heard a loud humming. It sounded like it was coming from behind the bed, but as I got closer, I realized it was coming from within the table. I opened it up and saw that my massager was on. In the middle of the day. When nobody had been around.

The only thing I could think of was that maybe the last time I, uh, massaged, I didn’t turn it fully off. But at the very least, it had been many, many hours — maybe days — since I’d used it, so that didn’t entirely make sense.

Then, the other night, after Jared was back home, he woke up in the middle of the night to humming. He thought maybe it was his phone out in the kitchen, but it got louder and louder, like a plane was going to buzz our bed or something.

And then, it gave one more sharp burst of buzzing, and it stopped. And then we took the batteries out. And soon, I’ll be personal massager shopping. Any recommendations?

The one with the #%$&@%& smoke detector

You know the episode of Friends where Phoebe’s fire alarm won’t stop beeping, so she wraps it up in a blanket and throws it down the garbage chute, after which a fireman brings it back to her? That was basically a PSA for me, I think, because if I didn’t know that the only way to shut it up was by hitting the button, I very well could’ve pulled a Phoebe.

A week ago (of course, while Jared was gone and I was the only one around), the smoke detector started beeping in the middle of the night. My first thought was, “What’s going on? Is it just a little fire or something?” And then, of course, I realized I just needed to test and reset it. I did, and all was well.

Until 4:00 this morning, when it started beeping again, at which point I tore it from the ceiling and took a baseball bat to it before running it over repeatedly with my car. In my mind. In real life, I grabbed a chair, pushed the damn button again, and went back to bed.

What’s the deal? Do I have to replace batteries? Be nicer to it? Buy it a friend?