* Saturday started off with a visit from Paige at 10:15 a.m., ready to pick up her new (to her) car. She walked in beaming from ear to ear, just quivering with excitement. (Her dad was waiting out in his car, probably not as excited as she was.) I had gathered all the paperwork together – all the receipts for work done on the car over the years, plus the all-important title which we were signing over to her. She was taking possession of our 1994 Nissan Maxima.
Although it’s been nice to have a second car, especially when the Hyundai needs work done, it was starting to become a bit too expensive for us. Most of the time, the car just languished in the driveway; it’s a great, solid car and it seemed like a waste to have it sitting there. Paige is living in the suburbs with her dad and really needed a car to get around. And this seems to be our year to give the kids gifts of independence: We helped Eric out with the deposit on his apartment, enabling him to move out on his own; now we’ve given Paige a car, enabling her to get to and from work and wherever else she needs to be without being at the mercy of someone else.
We filled out the paperwork and she left with her dad to get the title transferred and get plates for the Nissan. I expected her to come back with one of those yellow temporary plates that they give you (and then you go back in two weeks or so to pick up the actual plates). Instead, she came back about 20 minutes later with actual license plates! They got the plates on the car and we watched as she backed out of the driveway and drove off in her first vehicle. What a weird feeling! It feels good knowing the Nissan is in good hands and is getting used; hopefully Paige can get a good few years out of it before she upgrades to something newer. (Ironically, the Nissan has less miles than the Hyundai, even though it’s 10 years older…whoever had the Hyundai before us must have driven a LOT for work or something.)
Dave (deliberately not smiling…stubborn!) and Paige, with the registration for her first car
** Not long after Paige drove off (DROVE OFF, aagh! So weird!) we left to pick up Eric from the train station. He came out to celebrate his birthday, a bit belatedly. We were waiting in the parking lot, looking for him, and then there he was: unmistakable, loping along, all long arms and legs, in his crazy boots and custom clothes and little topknot ponytail. We came back to the house and proceeded to have a really nice day – a trip to Goodwill (he got a couple of things but admitted that the thrift stores in Chicago have a better selection…I can imagine!), chatting with my mom for an hour or so, a trip to Half Price Books, then dinner (Marlboro Man sandwiches and toasted cheese grits), cake and TV. He hadn’t seen the new Arrested Development shows yet; the whole family watched the original series years ago and loved it. So we watched the first of the new episodes with him; Dave likes the show but said he got a bigger kick out of watching me and Eric giggle at everything. We finished off with the first episode of Orphan Black, our shameless way of trying to get him hooked on it. Dave and I already watched the first season and absolutely loved it; it was one of those shows that got better and better with every episode. And I don’t mean it started off crappy and then got better; I mean, it was amazing from the beginning, and somehow managed to top that with every episode thereafter.
He is just so happy, having so much fun at his job and with his roommates and with living downtown in general. As a parent, and especially knowing all the rough years he went through to get to this point, I can’t even express how good it makes me feel to see him finally get to this point in his life. Every stage of his life throughout the years has been a learning experience for me, since he’s my oldest. It’s strange to know he’s fully an adult, supporting himself and living on his own and making adult decisions. And his age. 23! I actually thought he was turning 24 this year at first, and I had to stop and count because that just didn’t seem right. And let’s not even talk about the candles for his cake; we didn’t have a number 2 and 3 in the bag of birthday candles I’ve been saving over the years, so I had to use regular candles. I wasn’t sure I had enough for his cake…I had to count to make sure there were 23 in the bag. What happened to the days of just five or six candles?!
*** While I was getting dressed on Saturday, I looked in the mirror and thought I looked pretty good. I was wearing jean capri pants and a black polo shirt; nothing fancy, but not too slouchy either. We took some pictures with Paige when she came back with the license plates and registration papers, and when I saw the picture of the two of us I was horrified at how bad I looked. This happens all the time when I see pictures of myself. I look in the mirror, think I look pretty damn good, get a photo taken, and BAM…I look horrific. It’s like the opposite of the way I was when I was younger; back then, I looked in the mirror and thought I looked fat and horrible…when in reality (and in photos), I looked just fine (even a bit too skinny, to be honest).
It’s starting to totally make me doubt myself and wonder what I really look like. Am I the horror show that I look like in pictures, or the chubby-but-not-sloppy person I see in the mirror? One thing I tend to do is wear my shirts a little bigger; I hate having material cling to me, and I don’t want to sit down and have my shirt pulled tight across my body. It’s partly because I think it looks nasty to see all my curves and my belly being accentuated by tight fabric, and partly because, even when I was thin years ago, if I wore a form-fitted shirt, people would pat my tummy and ask if I was pregnant. I mean, I weighed about 115 pounds at that point…I didn’t HAVE a tummy to pat. But apparently the fitted shirt accentuated every little thing, even my damn flat stomach that I wish I still had. So now I make sure my shirts skim over my body and don’t hug, and I don’t wear that thin, spandex-y material that so many manufacturers like to use for shirts. I know this makes me look bigger, but I just feel more comfortable that way. If I wear a fitted shirt, I feel like everyone is looking at me and thinking, “Damn, she needs to buy clothes that fit instead of clothes that are two sizes too small.”
**** So in the midst of my self-loathing, I reasoned that if I could just somehow manage to lose some weight, or even tone up and lose some of the flab, I would feel better about myself. Dave has been complaining about the weight he’s gained, since he has to eat every time he takes his Hep C meds. Why not see if he wanted to do some kind of fitness program with me? Out of curiosity, I asked him if he would be willing to do this fitness DVD with me, 30 Day Shred (with Jillian Michaels). I’ve done it before, here and there, but never every day for 30 days. It gets rave reviews from people who stick with it and really do it for 30 days. I know it’s hard as hell for me, since I’m absolutely a beginner…with bad knees and no stamina. But it’s only 20 minutes long, and if Dave was doing it with me it would keep me honest and I wouldn’t skip days or stop doing it.
To his great credit, he didn’t even hesitate – he agreed instantly. (How awesome is my husband?!) So we brought two yoga mats downstairs, as well as hand weights, and got started this morning. We did the warm up. Then we started doing jumping jacks. We got to the squats with the weights. Lots of those. Then we started mimicking a jump rope move. Push ups. Jumping jacks. Squats and weights again…and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dave stop. He bent over and put his hands on his knees, gasping and coughing. (I could barely hear him over my own gasping.) I asked if he wanted to stop and he nodded, wordlessly.
As we trudged upstairs, I asked if he thought we should start with just walking around the block and then go back to the DVD after a week or so. “Nah,” he said, “We’ll do it again tomorrow and see how far we get that time. It’ll get easier.” And that’s exactly what I needed to hear.