The Orange Life

Gah.  I’ve been in a funk lately.  It hasn’t been fun. 

Someone stole my garbage can, right out of my front yard.  Why?  What need does anyone have of my garbage can?  It reeks because I put excessive amounts of used cat litter in it and some chicken gone horribly, horribly wrong.  I cannot imagine why anyone would go to the trouble of rolling it out of my driveway, down the street and into their garage when all it’s going to do is make their garage smell like feet.  That was thing one. 

I was asked to take on some new responsibilities at work.  I like new challenges and getting opportunities to worm my way into to the company so that I am an incredibly valuable resource when recessions hit.  Smart thinking, I always say. But this request hit me funny and quite frankly, I was a complete jerk about it.  That was thing two.

I started a bad trend of being lazy.  It’s a vicious cycle.  You skip the gym one time and then suddenly you’ve skipped a month’s worth of gym visits and your jeans don’t fit as smoothly as they once did.  Combine that with an overwhelming affection for Easter Peeps and viola, weight gain.  That was thing three.

For a solid week, every route I chose to drive – home, work, gym, anywhere – was the wrong route.  Devastating traffic accidents happened daily and I found myself smack dab in the middle of highways that were closed for an hour or more to clean up debris.  Trying not to think about who just died on the road, I spent a lot of time in the car winning fake arguments in my head which usually got me worked up into a foul mood by the time I arrived at my destination, and I was the only one fighting.  That was thing four. 

Hormones contributed to things five through ten with some other varying factors thrown in for flavor.   

I was not in a good place. 

Driving home one afternoon, on a road with traffic that moved approximately one square inch per minute, I was having a fake mental argument with the neighbor I suspected of stealing my garbage can.  The weather was rotten.  It was raining on half of the road and the other half was dreary and gray.  I was wrestling with myself outside of the argument, wondering where my negativity was coming from and why I insisted on nurturing it, when I glanced up and saw the faint colors of a rainbow.  Within minutes, the rainbow fleshed fully out and I was faced with a breathtaking view of an enormous arc of glorious color.  Never in my life had I seen a rainbow from end to end, the entire arc, but that day, I saw every bit of it.  The sun dropped behind me, the sky turned the most beautiful golden hue and the gray became a background, like a painting.  Breathtaking.

I’ll have you know, that rainbow clapped its massive hand over my negative door and slammed it shut.

Here’s my lesson: for the entire funk, I could see myself being negative.  I could see the progression I was taking to work myself up into a big old snit about anything, didn’t matter.  I was fighting it, praying about it, rejecting negativity, giving myself positive self-talk, but the negative was still there by my side.  I was fighting to speak life and in the instant I saw the promise in the rainbow, I understood that it’s that easy.  Just speak it.  Just realize that God is bigger than me. 

That was my journey.

This link is The Squirt’s journey.  Remember her?  She is my littlest sister – the cute one, the one with blonde hair and blue eyes and a tan, which skipped right over me and graced both of my younger sisters with its golden glow of health.  She’s writing and it’s good.  Give it a read and see what you think. 

La Vida Naranjada

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Words of Wisdom, by Jimmie

If someone offers you kim chee, say no.  They might tell you it is delicious.  They are delusional.  Pickled, fermented, rotting cabbage ≠ yummy.    

If someone offers you a sample of maple bacon ice cream, say yes.  You won’t be saying yes because it is tasty.   You will be saying yes because it is terrible.  Why, you ask, do you recommend maple bacon ice cream when you think it is disgusting?  Because, I respond, after tasting maple bacon ice cream and realizing that it tastes like a cockroach threw up in your mouth, you instantly realize that the only way to get the taste out of your mouth is to purchase and enjoy a whole cone of red velvet cake ice cream.    Because you will eat the entire cone of red velvet cake ice cream in an effort to rid yourself of essence of cockroach, you will feel no guilt at all and only relief that the awful taste no longer lingers.  You’re welcome.

If someone offers you a free hockey ticket (Nashville Predators, woo!) which includes a pass into the all you can eat buffet and really sweet seats, say yes, even if it is raining outside.  I know I’ve explained to you that I don’t really “get” hockey but it doesn’t mean I don’t like to go to a game on occasion.  It’s quite exciting really.  If you can ignore the men (rabid fans, woo!) who sit directly behind you, you know, those men that give their expert and loud opinion on every single play of the game and also those men that teach you new curse words that you never dreamed existed, you will have a fabulous time.  The music (John Denver, woo!) is fantastic.  The mascot (Gnash, woo!) is rowdy. The fans (bunch of strangers, woo!) are devoted, so devoted that they paint their beer bellies with their favorite player’s number (Jordin TooToo, woo!) and will show you those bellies if you cheer loud enough for them.  Brave, brave men.  Good hockey players (Ryan Suter, woo!) make the game look easy.   It is a joy to watch and by the end of a game, you might just “get” hockey a little better. 

Men, if someone offers you a pair of skinny jeans and exclaims that they will look awesome on you, say no.  They are lying to you. 

If someone offers you a volunteer position driving a gaggle of senior citizens in a big van to dinner once a month, say yes.  You guys, I love these people so much. This month we went to the Omni Hut which is a kitschy place that serves Polynesian food.  The wait staff dresses in muumuus and Hawaiian shirts, the menu relies heavily on pineapple and teriyaki sauce, and all décor is enhanced by black lights so that everything takes on a nice neon glow.  My group has been waiting for this trip for months so I was a little surprised that for the first time since I took this position, I suffered from a few moments of embarrassment when each person at the table had an issue of some sort: 

  • “No spices of any kind on my chicken, please, no not even salt.  Especially not pepper.  I like my food plain.  Really, really plain.”
  • “This coffee tastes terrible – I can make better at home.”
  • “What is this?  Fried rice? Are you sure? I’ve never seen fried rice like this in my life.”
  • “I just killed a cockroach.  I know you can’t see it but it was here.  Okay, yes it was small but it was here, right here on the bread plate.  Would you like some bread?”  (Editor’s note:  There was no cockroach.  There was only a drama queen who was suffering from lack of attention, bless her heart.) 

I had new guy this time.  His name is Mark and he is from the Ukraine.  It was 70-something degrees outside and Mark came to dinner in a button-down collared shirt, a sweater, a jacket and a jaunty beret.  He was, in short, adorable.  After dinner, we shuffled out to the van and had a small scuffle over who would ride in the front with me.  There was a small mishap with some of the leftovers which left a pungent odor in the van. The woman who was unhappy about the cockroach was disgruntled all the way home, a 25 minute drive.  But as the seniors filed off the van, Mark adjusted his beret and said in his heavy accent, “Thank you, Jimmie.  I had a nice time.”  And he gave me a hug.  First time I’ve gotten a hug from one of my seniors.  It made the horror of the kim chee taste test fly right out of my brain.   

Heartburn

That title is not a euphemism for a romance gone awry.  Nothing that complex here. This post really is about heartburn and since it’s the only thing of note I have experienced lately, this is what you get. For those of you who have gently reminded me that I have not written anything since Feb 20th (and I luff you guys for it), you are welcome.  We now all get to hear about my stomach.

To begin, I’d like to present a list of things that cause Martie heartburn:

  • Little Caesar’s pizza
  • Beans
  • Krystal’s
  • Do-si-dos and milk
  • Mexican food
  • Chinese food
  • Olive Garden
  • Alcohol
  • Grandma’s spaghetti
  • Meatloaf

As you can see, Martie suffers from heartburn a lot.  Because she suffers from heartburn a lot, she generally has a nice supply of antacids stashed at every home she regularly visits (much like me and my toothbrushes – I have one at every house I regularly spend the night in).  My house is no different which is lucky for me.  See, recently I found myself in need of an antacid or two which is really weird because my list of things that cause me heartburn is as follows:

  • Bananas

I have eaten no bananas so I’ve been a little concerned about my new condition.  Maybe I have some underlying stress that I’m not fully cognizant of or maybe there has been some profound hormonal shift in my body, but whatever it is, I’m now a proud sufferer of heartburn.  (An FYI – the first person that suggests to me that my excess acid production is a symptom of getting old gets a box in the kisser.) I’ve raided Martie’s stash these last few days which has helped tremendously but I remain puzzled.

Used to I suffered from heartburn all the time.  I spent lots of days feeling burny and uncomfortable, and I took lots of over the counter remedies for it.  My list of heartburn causes back in those days consisted of:

  • Bananas
  • An unfortunate combination of 75 pounds of excess weight and an unwise choice in marriage partner

Eventually I ditched the weight, both 50 pounds of fat and 180 pounds of husband, and eventually all things seemed to regulate.  But before that, there were days of acidic agony that I just never seemed to conquer. 

One day in particular, I could feel the acid bubbling around in my stomach.  It felt black and lively, and I distinctly remember thinking “Oh, so this is what hydrochloric acid feels like as it eats through your stomach walls.”  I was miserable.  We had no money and I had no remedy.  I tried milk, water, everything.  You know what I remembered, though?  I remembered that Poppa had a home remedy for acid indigestion.  I’d seen him use it a thousand times and it always seemed to work.  See, Poppa’s list of thing that causes him heartburn includes:

  • Everything

Poor man.  He’s always got something rumbling away in his tummy and when you find yourself awake in the middle of the night with no easy access to a store, you find what works in your house.  His remedy was to mix baking soda and water into a thin watery mixture and then suck it down.

Now baking soda is used for loads of things.  It makes cakes bake up nicely.  It whitens your teeth when you brush with it.  It cleans out funky smells in your refrigerator.  All of these things relate in some fashion to stuff that goes in your mouth but generally the taste is masked by sugar or minty toothpaste or something.  Drinking it mixed with water is  . . . . interesting.

Yep, interesting.  But let me tell you, that stuff works.  I mixed up a batch of Poppa’s home remedy and I swilled it down.  The absolute moment it hit my esophagus, I could feel it start working.  I felt it go all the way down into my stomach and I could feel it surrounding all that acid in there.  It was the strangest feeling, like the bubbles were racing to the top of the liquid and those bubbles were ANGRY.  It only took a few seconds for my baking soda to make its way all the way down to the bottom of my stomach and for me to feel like something big was going to happen and happen soon.

Suddenly, I burped.  That sounds so innocent and small.  Let me tell you, it wasn’t.  Not this burp.  It came up from the very depths of all my internal organs and made its way forcefully and urgently all the way through my body and out of me.  It literally felt like I had ingested an entire Coca Cola and shot the full acidic, bubbly can of liquid out my nose.  I thought my head flew off and was never more shocked in all my life to find it still intact when the belch ended.  My eyes were watering and my nose was running and my stomach . . . . well, my stomach was completely settled.  Nary a drop of acid left.  Not one.  It was amazing. 

So there, boys and girls, is my story about heartburn.  I hope you all enjoyed it immensely and learned something new today.  Clearly I am having some writer’s block issues but I’ll be back just as soon as those clear up.  Anyone got a home remedy for that?