Friday, February 12, 2010

Beat the Winter Blues: Go Tanning!

So the experts say that tanning beds are even more harmful than sun exposure, and should be avoided, because it may cause irreversible damage, including skin cancer.

However, tanning beds have a few positive effects too. Let me explain...

I'd been pretty stressed out lately, not like that's anything new! Between my kids, our bills, the housework, and constantly worrying about my weight loss goals, I've just been a total mess. Yesterday the $h*t hit the fan for me. My dryer decided to stop spinning, I had wet clothes in both the dryer and the washer and no way of getting them dry... they just sat there getting stinky. Of course yesterday was also my weigh in day, and I had lost less than a pound in a week, that was rather depressing. I was feeling pretty crummy all day. Then my kids came home from school, and voila.. instant chaos!!

That morning while dropping my husband off at work, there was a sign on the tanning salon window next door saying they were offering free tans. So I got to thinking about it and decided that when I picked him up that night I'd go get a tan! I hadn't been tanning in probably over 10 years because I can't afford it, but hey, this one is free!

I cannot believe how amazing I felt after that 10 minute tan! It was 10 minutes of pure relaxation. No kids screaming or crying or not doing as their told. It was just me, my thoughts, and a nice warm tanning bed, and of course a radio nearby playing some pretty good music. I did manage to get a slight burn on some areas that haven't been exposed to the sun in years, like my back, tummy, and the tops of my thighs.. but it's so minor it doesn't even hurt.

The main reason tanning makes you feel good is because while exposed to the UV rays, your skin absorbs Vitamin D, a natural mood enhancer, among other things. You'll get the same effect if exposed to direct sunlight, unfortunately in a lot of areas, including Central, NY where I live, sunlight is pretty scarce between October and April.

Experts will suggest sensible sun exposure as opposed to tanning beds and salons, but I'm guessing those experts don't live in an area that doesn't see a lot of sun!

If you're feeling rather cranky or stressed, or just have the winter blues and want to escape for awhile, visit your local tanning salon. You'll be surprised at what a difference 10 minutes can make. But of course, tan safely!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Rewards of Weight Loss

Over the past few months, since I've begun losing weight, I have had very few people notice the difference in the way I look. My mother, who I see once a month, has never failed to notice. My husband's coworkers noticed at a Christmas party back in December. However, most people see me far too often to be able to notice.

Saturday we went into our local Blockbuster. We used to go there at least once a week, if not more often. We love watching movies! Then in November we ordered cable TV, and have had fewer visits to Blockbuster since then. There are always free movies on TV, or at least some TV shows we'd like to watch, so there was little need to rent movies. On Saturday we thought we'd treat ourselves (unfortunately we picked out some movies we now wish we hadn't seen: Fame and The Invention of Lying... neither are really worth the time!).

There are a few employees at that Blockbuster that I'd seen often enough to recognize, and they in turn recognized me and my family as well. However on Saturday those employees were not there. There was a new employee I'd not seen before, and another girl that I didn't recognize at first. When I brought our rentals up to the counter to check out, she immediately asked "Have you been losing weight? You look fantastic!". I was a little shocked, first that she had recognized me, and second that she could even notice weight loss considering I was wearing a heavy winter coat that's about two sizes too big for me.

It's really a wonderful feeling when someone you don't really know recognizes that you've lost some weight. Your friends and family, they're already aware you're attempting to lose weight, so their compliments could be taken as "Well, they're just trying to be nice because they know I'm trying to lose the weight." To have a stranger notice, it's like one of the greatest compliments you can get!

I spent all day Saturday feeling wonderful about myself! Not just from the compliment I received at Blockbuster, but also because I'd gone to a Thrift Store that morning to get myself some new pants and a nice outfit to wear on a date with my husband next weekend. Every item of clothing I picked out and tried on actually fit, and fit well! I purchased 2 pairs of pants, a size 12 jeans, and size 10 black slacks. I put the jeans on as soon as I got home, and felt so good about how I looked. The pants I'd been wearing were all size 16, (down from the 20 I was wearing over the summer), and they were huge on me. The form fitting 12 jeans really showed off how thin I'm getting and how great I look. It really was a wonderful experience, and very motivating to continue all the hard work I've already been doing!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why can't it all wait 2 more weeks??

We are no strangers to financial crisis. There's rarely a day that goes by that we're not worried about how we're going to pay an upcoming bill, or how we'll manage a particular repair. We're the type of family that does put off important things, like a leak under the kitchen sink, and we don't really think twice about the fact that we haven't gotten around to fixing it after months and months of dealing with the problem.

However, every once in awhile so many things will happen all at once and we get quite overwhelmed. That's how things are going for us right now!

So we've just e-filed our taxes. According to the IRS schedule we'll most likely be getting our refund on February 12th. But of course our problems can't wait that long!

The very day after we file our taxes, we discover our cable and Internet have been disconnected due to non-payment. Oops! I can't say we're always really good about our bills... because we're not. We are really good about the important bills. Rent, power, and car insurance are always paid in a timely fashion. However when it comes to the little bills like cable, phone, and debt, I tend to put those off to the side and forget about them. Not really on purpose. It's just that money is always so tight, and I can't always handle the stress of thinking about yet another bill. So I put it aside, planning on looking at it later, but I never get around to it. So this is why cable was shut off.

We go down and pay our cable bill, getting it turned back on immediately. Then, Friday morning I discover our phone has been disconnected! Another oops moment. I can still recieve incoming calls for a few days, but I cannot call out. Unfortunately since we paid the cable, we can't afford to pay the phone bill this week, so I have to just deal with it. When we'll be able to pay it is yet to be seen because rent and power bills are coming up on us and will be due before we get our tax refund. Boy oh boy, are we having fun yet?

Just when you start to wonder if anything else can go wrong.. it usually does!

We've been sharing one vehicle for a few months now. Our van was having a lot of problems that we couldn't afford to repair, and of course the inspection was up in December.. not that it matters because the vehicle won't start now anyways. So in the morning I drop Jay off at work and then I head off to the gym and run my errands and whatever else I need to do. Normally he'll come get the car in the afternoon on his lunch so I don't have to drag the kids out late at night to pick him up. However, Saturdays he's usually out at 2pm, so I'll just wait and go get him.

This past Saturday started out no different. He went to work, the kids and I went to the Y, then we came home for lunch. After lunch I get a call from my Father In Law, he wants Javy to come over and watch a basketball game with him. He tells me he'll come get Javy around 1:30... I say "No, No.. I have to pick Jay up from work at 2, so I'll just drop Javy off." I also had to go to Walmart for a couple things, and drop Tyler off at a birthday party at 3, and pick him up again at 5.

So I load the kids into the car and begin to pull out of the driveway. When I apply the brake, it goes all the way to the floor and the car doesn't slow! Yikes!! I had to throw it into Park to stop the car. I turned the car on and off a few times, and tried again and again, with no change. So after a few minutes we all got back out of the car... that's when I began to wonder how I'd let anyone know about what happened. My father in law was expecting Javy to show up, and I couldn't call to let him know I can't drive my car. Jay is expecting to be picked up, and I can't call him either!

In the end I sent my mother a message on the computer to call Jay and tell him everything, so it all worked out... but the problem is I still have no brakes on my only working vehicle.. and still 2 weeks before we get our taxes back to afford repairs.

Jay works with a guy who works on cars, so he was supposed to come over on Sunday to take a look at our brakes. I got up early and thought it would be a good idea to clean the house up a little bit before the guy got there. I start by trying to do dishes (I don't have a dishwasher). Yeah, well, the pipes froze and I have no water in the kitchen! I end up doing dishes in the bathtub because the water in there worked just fine.

Turns out the friend never showed up anyways. The cold water finally came back on late afternoon, so I did the dishes in ice cold water. As soon as I turn the water off after washing all these dishes, don't you know the hot finally started dripping! Thanks a bunch!!

So after the terribly stressful day we had, we had the wonderful idea of getting a pizza and wings.. comfort food!! We made little english muffin pizzas for the kids to save money (otherwise we'd need like 3 large pizzas!!). Jay goes to look up the number to the pizza place and oops... can't call out!! Thankfully the place isn't far away, so he walked over there to order a delivery. He says the look on the guys face who took his order was priceless.

The friend finally came over this morning, but didn't have the time to fix our brakes. They're hoping to get it done sometime today... though I'm not holding my breath. I borrowed my father in law's van today to go to the gym, but I don't want to have to do that everyday!

If only the brakes could have waited 2 more weeks before deciding they didn't want to work anymore!