Lifestyles of the fat and lazy

I have had waffles two days in a row.

I know, random, right? But….is it? Of course not. Random stays in my head most of the time, and I do like to have a decent idea about where I see the direction going when I write. Mostly. Except when I have no freaking clue, and vomitus spills out all over these pages. They can be entertaining regurgitations, but the fact remains: they can be crap.

So yes, back to the waffles. I had them two days in a row, which is not something I tend to do. Blueberry, frozen, popped into the toaster; don’t judge me on the frozen, because I like them. I have never found myself desiring homemade waffles; not even when the husband announced that he wanted a waffle maker for Christmas one year and we went to Voldemort on Black Friday, which was actually Crimson Thursday because it was Thanksgiving and blood spilled in the aisles that year due to angry parents dive bombing for Monster High dolls. By the way? I think he used it exactly once, and now I haven’t a clue where it is. All that sacrifice for one, measly homemade waffle breakfast.

An unrealistic representation of my waffles.

I have two boxes of those blueberry waffles in the freezer, and I feel compelled to make them disappear. You see, this family is embarking on a high protein, veggie, low-carb diet.

Wait, I used the wrong word. “Diet” is indeed a four-letter word in both the literal sense and in my mind. When you say “diet” it conjures up sacrifice, misery; a carrot stick and a wilted celery stalk in a Tupperware dish for lunch. With no ranch dip. It says, plainly, “You are a fatass who makes poor eating choices and your arteries look more like stuffed pizza crust than veins.”

That last statement could be true. I do love my pizza and I will never say no to stuffed crust. I often ponder why it took so long for someone to figure out that you could roll mozzarella sticks into crust and make what is the perfect meal even better. I feel like my childhood and early adulthood were cheated by the lack of stuffed crust being readily available. Denied. I feel like maybe others feel the same way, and we should form a support group. We have PSCTSD. You can figure that acronym out yourself, right?

Alright, so “diet” isn’t what we’re doing. We are making a Lifestyle Change. I think it’s a smart one, although my heart of hearts is crying at the thought of cutting out bread and pastry. At least I can keep the cheese, and we will have “cheat nights” twice a week. That will alleviate the idea of giving up things we love, and it will also help to placate The Male Sibling Unit.

Let’s face it: the three of us are getting older. I will be 51 and the husband is days away from 47. We both could benefit from healthier eating and we both love carbs. Taking them entirely away seems like a fate worse than death, but giving in two days a week for the love of breads, pastas, and starchy potatoes seems fair and balanced. It makes that death sentence more like, well….a work week. We can do it. If I throw a large enough chunk of meat at the husband, he will happily dig in and clean up the smaller serving of something plant-based. Getting him to eat fruits will be trickier, because he doesn’t like many. If I throw too many bananas his way, he may start scratching himself in public and grunting at me. Wait…..

Not my husband.

I have broken the news to the Male Sibling Unit. The best description I can use about the look on his face was fear. When dealing with the Male Sibling Unit, potentially unattractive prospects and limitations need to be dressed up a bit. With cheerful, optimistic, exciting exclamations that “This will be GREAT!” and “It’s ALL to help YOU!” If you make it all about him, and direct it toward every single aspect being to make him even more fantastic than he already is, he usually buys it hook, line, and sinker. That narcissism in his personality has its place. I really hope it comes in handy at age 50, when the doctor tells him it’s time for his first colonoscopy. I imagine it going something like this:

“Guess what? It’s your lucky day! Your colon is has been chosen for an important award! We want to take some pictures of it! That’s right; you get to drink a bunch of Gatorade (yep, we’ll go with that) and then you can poop as much as you want and your sister won’t yell at you for stinking up the bathroom! Then, you get to be our personal guest at an all-inclusive nap session at the hospital! That’s right! A nap! You won’t even feel the camera going in your butt! Yes! You heard me right! Your butt is SO SPECIAL that we want to take pictures of the inside and publish them on Facebook! And then your sister will take you to McDonald’s for a Filet O’ Fish!”

The Facebook thing, yeah, I made up. The point is, he loves all eyes on him and if he thinks it will push him up the flagpole of popularity, he’ll be all for it. Therefore. I needed to make this Lifestyle Change all about him. We are so invested in his overall health and his glucose readings that we have decided to work together as a team. It’s all in the name of the Male Sibling Unit’s ultimate success and triumph over diabetes.

He almost bought it. For a moment, there was a glimmer of excitement and a flash of self-importance. And then he asked, “What about peanut butter sandwiches?” The Male Sibling Unit’s fondness for peanut butter sandwiches can be traced back to his toddler years, when he loved them so much that he refused to swallow them, tucking numerous bites up into the roof of his mouth in a gesture of sentimentality that would then force my mother to pry the gummy, sticky mess out of there. The Male Sibling Unit is not so much a picky eater as he is a picky swallower. Therein lies a little bit of difficulty in getting him to embrace a high-protein diet. There will be meat, and lots of it, and I am not a creature of habit when it comes to eating the same thing, day after day, so I will want to switch things up a lot in order to keep this Lifestyle Change interesting. To be blunt, the Male Sibling Unit is lazy as fuck, and things that require a ton of chewing don’t rank high on his list of favorites. In the last two years, the Heimlich Maneuver has had to be administered because he has tried to swallow a piece of beef whole. Now? We avoid steak for him, because he is afraid of it. Not pork, or chicken; just steak. As a matter of fact, I am convinced that if I were to tell him that the piece of beef on his plate is actually pork, he would not choke. Am I suggesting that he swallowed that beef on purpose so he would choke and passive-aggressively teach me a lesson; that the Male Sibling Unit is not a fan of steak?

Damn skippy I am.

See what I did there?

Anyway, I laid the cards out on the table for him; I would make sure he has yummy, exciting lunches for work that do not include bread. Twice a week, he can eat sandwiches. He is free to eat peanut butter on celery or apple slices or bananas or by the spoonful if he wants. Just not slathered on 4 slices of bread, 7 days a week anymore. Yes, there will be meat, but it will be soft meat, tender meat, and we will eat loads of yummy, fresh veggies and fruits that will good for him. He will be in THE BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE. His glucose numbers will stabilize! He will have more energy! And the chicks dig it!

Perhaps I made that up, too, but he likes it when the chicks dig him.

Drowning, drowning.

I can’t. I just can’t.

Most of my cats are becoming Senior cats. It happens fast. You have a 3 year old youngster and suddenly she’s 8 and-a-half and because she came from a litter where her siblings both passed young due to issues (George at 3 with renal failure, Bailey at 4 with brain lesions), you watch her like a hawk. She has been slowing down a bit and was always very, very skittish, but she is a sweet girl and I adore her.

Isabella Dumpling Flower Sugar Honey Muffin Cake

But it has begun. She had begun hanging out with us more in the last few months, seeking out affection. Odd for her but always welcome. The “old-age circling” began, though…..and it has become bad. This is a sign that there may have been a “senior neurological event”. Brain lesion, stroke, etc. Brain lesion, I understand all-too-well, because her sister had one that caused MS-like symptoms and then a very sudden but peaceful passing. She was happy to the end despite her difficulties.

Izzy, though, is different. While the symptoms are similar, there is an overall weariness to it that tells me I may need to decide and make a vet call in the next day or so. She eats, she drinks. She purrs, she is alert, she gives me her love eyes and chirps every so often. But she is tired. And has trouble walking to her litter. I hold her, croon to her, clean her, feed her. My heart aches. I love her so. I helped to guide her out of her mother (my daughter’s cat, Chicken) and saw her little spots and knew she was unique. After losing Roo so suddenly on March 1st to an asthma-induced seizure, I don’t know how my heart can survive this when it happens, because I know it’s going to. And if I have to hold her in an impersonal vet room like I did her brother while the shot was administered and he looked up at me, believing that I was making him better, it may break me in two.

Roo Joseph, rest in peace.

I hesitate to express these feelings here. They are animals, pets. The world is a cruel, vicious, angry place. Hate flows freely everywhere. People are dying, dealing with traumas and catastrophic events and illness, and here I am, with a blessed life, losing my shit because I am more than likely going to lose her now after losing my Roo so quickly. But they – my animals – are my family every bit as much as my human family is. I laugh at their antics, beam and crow with pride when we reach milestones, babble on to the husband about “What your daughter/son did” when he gets home at night. We integrated my mom’s two into our family when she passed and I worried over them, feeling their grief and knowing that while we shared that in common, they felt it on a much more confused level. I reveled in their eventual acceptance of us as their humans. I have stared into luminous, green eyes and felt love so all-encompassing that it takes my breath away. I have felt little paws wrap around me and grip tightly in relief when I have rescued them from the streets and provided a safe, warm place. I have birthed their babies, held them when they were sick, and delighted in their play. I have loved. I love.

I am their mother. I am her mother. And a mother should not have to lose her children. This is the thought that comes, unbidden. And yet, I will lose my children, because cats don’t live forever. My heart is torn to pieces now, raggedly sewn back together, and it is simply too soon. I don’t know if it will survive this before those wounds are at least freshly healed and scarring over.

How do I say goodbye to this face? How do I?