The Cure!

Is it possible that I’ve found a cure for shin splints?

Only time will tell, but I’ve found a fix that have worked for several people. I’ve only been using it for a week, but I haven’t had any shin pain since. For those of you who don’t personally know me: I’m not a doctor.

If you have them, the first thing you need to do is stop running. I know it sucks. I also know that you I never want to run nearly as bad as when I’m not supposed to be running. You know the whole want-what-you-can’t-have thing. That’s me in a nutshell.

A few sources say that running a little bit every day can soothe your shin splints, but I really can’t say that running while injured has ever done me an ounce of good. Believe me, I’ve pushed myself to the limits–thinking that I could just extend my limits (and one day be limitless har har har), but that only caused more injury.  READ: sidelined for four months.

If you can’t walk without pain, do not run at all. Do RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation.

I’m mainly talking to the people who are beginning to feel pain in their calves/shins or have reached a mild form of shin splints. I’m also not a doctor so don’t take my word as end-all-be-all. After all, would you take the words of a stranger as gospel? I hope not.

Here are a few things I do and explanations as to why:

WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND/OR GO TO BED:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs outstretched in front of you. Bring your toes in toward your body (not with your hands) as far as you can. Basically, you’re dorsiflexing as far as you can. Hold this stretch for five minutes. You’ll start to feel your shins hurt early on, but it’ll get intense at around 2.5 minutes. Be sure to hold it anyway. Hold it until 5 minutes is through. If your toes (not your shins!) start to feel cramped, try to wiggle them. The feeling won’t stay forever, so try to rough it out if you can. Your shins will thank you for it. I do this one in bed when I wake up and before I go to bed. I know, it says do it once a day, but I try to do it twice.

The reason behind this stretch (according to the video) is your calves are extremely strong when compared to the weak muscles surrounding your shin. Do I know if this is entirely true? No idea, don’t care—it works for me. Ever since I started doing this, my shin pain has diminished (but I guess the following few pointers could be the culprits, as well. You decide)

PRE-RUN

  • Warm your shins with a warm pack. Keep the packs on for about 5 – 10 minutes. After your shins are warm (or if you’re impatient like me, do it while you warm them), place an elastic exercise band around the ball of your left foot. Pull both ends as hard as you can toward you (it’ll pull your foot toward you), and then push (using your ankle and ball of foot) out (plantarflex) as far as you can. Do this 30-40 times on both legs.

This is done to warm you up for running. You don’t want to do long static exercises, because they’ll do more damage than good (so say most websites and my sports doctor).

POST-RUN

  • Use the edge of a step or a curb to stand on your tippy-toes and then push down past the step until you feel a stretch. You don’t want to feel any pain, but you want to feel that you are stretching.

This is your basic wall stretch, but I never feel a stretch with those.

  • Redo the elastic band stretch again. 30-40 times on each foot.
  • This one is my absolute favorite: when you’re finished with all of the above, grab some lotion/Vaseline. Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Feel where your tibia is. Do NOT rub or press on that. Instead, on the outer edger of the tibia is connective tissue. Take a small amount or Vaseline or lotion (equivalent to the size of a dime) and use two fingers to dab it in one straight line next to the tibia (only on the outside, though). Then, take the other foot (the one without lotion) and use your heel to lightly press down on the outside of your tibia. Start just below the knee and extend until near the ankle. Repeat this with each time increasing your pressure. Eventually, you might feel discomfort. If so, first, make sure that you aren’t pressing on the bone. If you’re not, continue and hold the pressure at any painful point. So, if ¾ of the way down your leg, you feel pain, hold the pressure with your heel right there. Don’t press harder, but hold your pressure. Sometimes concentrated pressure can get rid of a kink.

The reason behind this massage is for two things. One is to break up that connective tissue from being too tense and relax it. You will feel your shin splints literally disappear after doing this. Before I begin my massage, I always take the calf of one of my legs and place it on top of my knee. I’ll gently press down to determine how bad my shins hurt. If it’s intense, I’ll massage for about 15-20 minutes. If it isn’t that bad (lately), I’ll do about 10-15. The second reasoning for the massage is to lymph drain/release. There’s excess fluid in there that’s causing inflammation and pain. You could also take an ibuprofen, but you’re a badass, and you’d rather handle it yourself.

  • After ALL of these are done, the final step is icing. I put ice on my shins (in the form of frozen food) while I’m eating dinner. So that means I keep the ice on my shins for roughly 8-10 minutes. I try to stretch my eating out, but most times I eat like a starved beast so my legs get less ice than they probably need.

In all seriousness, do not do any of this if your shins are extremely pained, are bruised, swollen, or you have stress fractures. You will know (deep down) whether these are okay for you if the pain you feel from doing them is about a 1 or 2 on a scale of one to ten. The only one that should have any pain (aside from the first one—which is a BAMF) is the massage after you’ve applied more pressure.

Other than that, don’t do anything if it hurts and wait until you’re better. Also, see a doctor to be sure you don’t have stress fractures or…compartment syndrome.

As for now, I’m still running on grass and dirt. I’ll let you know when/if/how I get back into running on pavement again (siiiigh hopefully soon. Please, calves).

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The Happiest 5k You Never Ran

Does being showered with dye while you’re running a 5k sound fun to you?

It did to me at some point.

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A few months ago, Steven got us tickets to The Color Run. I must admit that I didn’t thoroughly research this, but merely saw photos and decided that someday I would like to do this. (If you know me at all, you’d know there are tons of things that I’d someday like to do, but probably won’t.)

Today was the big day. It was so big that I actually forgot about it and almost missed it, due to scheduling issues in visiting family. As it turned out, I was able to change my flight and be home just in time to pick up my bib and get a good night’s rest.

Steven and I woke up at 5 and 5:15 respectively. Last night, I asked how many tickets were sold to the 5k and I was told 21,000. She said to get there early and carpool. We were dressed and ready at 5:30-40ish and he picked me up at 5:55.

On the road, Steven decided to take the Ben Franklin. The bridge was closed from 6:30 – 8:30 in the morning. We had time, right?

Right.

On our way, we’re happy. We are convinced we’ll have parking spots and we’ll actually meet other runners. As we continue on with our blissful smirks (about having been so responsible and having left early), we see a sign that says two lanes will close. Okay, two lanes isn’t bad. It’s 6:10am. It’s a Sunday.

I won’t bore you with the story. There was a wall of traffic. We decided to take the exit before Rutgers, double back and take the Walt Whitman. Unfortunately, we were unsure where the bridge was, so we had go somewhat lost in Camden. I pointed us to the direction of Rutgers and then my GPS revived and we were directed to the other bridge.

We bypassed all of the cars.

It was glorious.

Of course, I probably wouldn’t be writing about this if it was so great. Once on 76, we hit another wall of traffic. We couldn’t get around it. There was another exit we could’ve taken, but I was afraid we’d get lost in East Jabumble (like the Camden detour) and decided to tough it out.

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For two hours.

Yes, this 20 minute drive turned into two hours (and counting!).

20130714_071210We tried to be happy.

Onward.

Around 7:55 or so, Steven’s car said “Hot coolant” or something. Seeing as we were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, he turned the car off and waited a few minutes. He did this three times and the message disappeared. Once again, traffic has moved an inch.

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20130714_075717Finally, around 8:15 or so, a state trooper comes hauling ass (at about 10mph) and suddenly, traffic starts to speed up (at around 5 mph). That’s when we realized that out wonderful exit (which was the cause of our trouble) was blocked by the trooper.

20130714_072622 20130714_072618Our relief came in the traffic moving; however, it was short-lived in that every douche bag in Philly, Delaware, and New Jersey decided to cut everyone off and go to the next exit. Yeah, if you’re reading this and were actually in the right lane and then got into the left only to screw everyone in the right lane, you are a douche bag.

Steven was furious at the cars trying to screw everyone else over that he actually lost it and began to hulk out.

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We got into a heated debate about taking a different exit. I was quite irritable (I’m sure) in that I was convinced that I could have gotten us there much quicker. I went through a series of phases (extremely angry, comedic, angry, furious, sleepy). At one point, we manically started laughing about how intelligent we are: waking up at 5am to run and have paint thrown in our faces. So masochistic, in fact, that we were willing to wait three hours for it.

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I won’t drag this out any longer. We arrived at 8:47.

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People were actually covered in dye and leaving. We park in a random lot and start our walk to the race. We never saw the starting line, but it LOOKED like a starting line. We began our run and were sprayed by less-than-enthusiastic people with dye in their hands.

I think I heard a pseudo, “Woo!” during my jog through. Most people stopped to be further lathered in the color.

We reached the second point and were covered in blue. The girl that actually sprayed me, lifted her arms, made eye contact and shot it all over my face.

Thank you.

After that, we reached the finish line. Now, I’m no fool, but that was one short 5k.

No, see, we didn’t start the race at the beginning. It appears (now that I see the map), that we started at the last half mile (ish). Yes, and there was a party going on. People were covered in dye in a pit of other color-runners. There was a DJ of sorts and a couple of dye packs thrown. It was okay and in retrospect, the better part of The Color Run.

I think they were giving out free popsicles and Kind Bars.

We decided that we wanted to run the whole thing, so we began our search for the starting line. Steven asked one of the women in charge and she goes “oh, honey, we’re not starting it anymore.”

Yes, we figured that out—what, with being three hours late and all.

He asked where it began and she pointed him in the direction. We found the beginning and there were a few stragglers on the trail. The security was taking down the cones and no one was really sure where they were going.

We found our way back to the car. As I look at the map, I realize I never saw the rest of the trail.

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Okay, my thoughts on The Color Run:

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First, if you’re selling 21,000 tickets, you should also have people directing traffic. I know for a fact that at least a hundred (definitely plenty more) “Color Runners” never made it to the run in time (and were three hours late—if not later).

Second, have a few waves of runners. People of The Color Run, having a 7am start and a 7:45 start does nothing if you’re stuck on 76 for three hours and you left at 6am. I’m just sayin’.

Third, schedule your waves, please. If you know (and you do) that there will be 21,000 extra cars on the road, schedule when a couple thousand of us can actually get there. I don’t want to sit in traffic. It’s not fair to anyone.

Fourth, perhaps make it easily accessible by public transport.

Fifth, I would like to take a moment to thank the good drivers. Thank you for being upstanding citizens and following traffic. To the people that cannot drive safely (I’m talking to you Girl with the Pink Sports Bra and your posse of 2 minions), just go home. Don’t even bother coming. Why cut everyone off in traffic and drive like a mad-woman, get to the race and lay on the pavement to sprinkle color on yourself. Seriously? What.

Overall, the people that organized this (I use that word loosely) are incompetent. Secondly, they are for-profit. I (like many) misunderstood that it was a nonprofit. On its website, it says that they donated $600,000 to different charities all over.

That’s a lot, right?

Not when you consider that tickets are over $40 per person and they sold 21,000 tickets in ONE city. That’s over $900,000.

I’m glad they managed to send over 600k (2/3 of ONE city) to ALL of the charities.

Let this be a lesson to me: read.

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June 30, 2013: The Day The Conspiracy Was (Partially) Unveiled.

Some days are notorious for being strange days. Friday the thirteenth, Y2k, National Catfish Day, False Confession Day to name a few.

Today, however, started like the rest of the days of June: extremely hot and humid, only to be accompanied by scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. To the average Joe, today was the last day of June.

No big deal.

Except it wasn’t just the last day of June.

No, I stumbled upon a conspiracy. I know what you’re thinking—trying not to pull the blanket further up to your chin. You’re thinking, “what—everyone has a conspiracy theory they secretly believe. 9/11, anyone?”

Sure, except this conspiracy was recorded.

Yes, that’s right. I have physical proof—documentation, if you will.

And you will.

The follow images may be disturbing to some viewers. Proceed with utmost caution:

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You’re thinking, “the people of Wal-Mart aren’t of the highest caliber. So, they left their carts? Who cares?”

I would agree with you if it weren’t for my next piece of evidence.

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This was in a produce shop. I doubt this place even has security cameras.

My theory is as follows:

Someone (or something [extraterrestrials?]) pumped a chemical into the air that caused everyone to leave their carts (their food supplies). People were wandering out of the store empty-handed, wondering why they entered to begin with.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I wasn’t affected.

I was affected.

It didn’t occur to me until I was an aisle away from my cart. I should mention that it wasn’t even me that noticed. Steven stopped me, “yo, are you seriously abandoning the cart?”

And what about my purchased items: Reese’s pieces, chocolate soymilk, and a snickers bar.

I’m just saying that there was something in the air today, and I don’t think it was just the everyday pollution.

Look at the photos again; I implore you. They’re disturbing at best.

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On Pit Bulls and Adoption

Let’s get something straight: Pit Bulls are not bad dogs.

At the shelter today, it was predominantly inhabited by Pits. Almost 100% of the kennels were filled with Pit Bulls. All of the dogs were between 10 months old and six years old. A couple of the dogs had bloody noses or lacked vocal chords to bark; however, the majority of them were happy to see us and happy to enjoy the sun.

So, how did this many Pit Bulls get into one shelter?

Perhaps it’s because humans have this pathetic ability to only spread negativity and awful news. Or maybe because they also lack the ability to enjoy their own life and instead want to discuss a dog fight or recent attack.

Fortunately, if you’re intelligent and actually use your brain, you can see that Pit Bulls (and all other dogs) are not inherently more dangerous than any other dog. Regrettably, most people are sheep.

Yes, sadly, there are a bunch of Should-Have-Been-Aborted scumbags on this planet (way more than I’d care to admit) who like to breed dogs for fighting purposes. I could go on and on about how I’d love to personally rip their skin off and tear them limb from limb (this is the PG version), but I don’t want to talk about these cretins. Instead, I want to focus on the poor dogs that die or are euthanized. These dogs have feelings. These dogs could be loveable. Haven’t you ever seen a giant dog think he’s a lap dog? All dogs can be your best friend. Just because a few Should-Have-Been-Aborted idiots decided to fight Pit Bulls, doesn’t mean it has to completely ruin their credibility.

Hypothetically, these morons could have gotten off on watching a couple of Xoloitzcuintle dogs fight to the death. Then everyone would be afraid of Mexican Hairless Dogs; the shelters would be filled with these poor beasts. It’s like Pavlov (sort of). You’re conditioned to think that something is going to happen, but it’s twisted because that thing (the viciousness/aggressiveness) is not always there. Therefore, you’re sitting around shunning these poor babies from society, because of the ill-informed rumors.

Here and here a few links on the validity of Pit Bulls and their so-called aggression.

Next, I’d like to discuss the responsibility that comes with adopting a dog (because that’s what you’re doing, isn’t it? A puppy won’t shoot from your loins any time soon). You will have to housebreak them, train them, love them, feed them, and—most importantly—care for them. If you can’t dedicate the time to do those things (and genuinely do them), then you don’t deserve a dog. That’s right: you don’t deserve a dog. Buy a plant. They’re relatively easy to care for. Get a cactus.

While we’re on the subject of adopting dogs, you should actually adopt a dog. If you buy a dog, you are an irresponsible person. There are thousands of dogs (and cats!) in shelters. If you don’t like the selection at your local shelter (you know, if you’re still too stupid and can’t see yourself falling in love with a Pit Bull), there are adoption websites, too. Get this: you can narrow your search down by age and breed. Sure, you’ll have to pay a higher fee, but you’re adopting. You are saving a life. You are not paying your scumbag neighbor $200 for their puppy, because they were too lazy and irresponsible to get their dog fixed.

Which brings me to: Getting Your Dog Fixed. There is absolutely NO reason that your pet should be waddling around getting a hard-on for other pets. You wear condoms, right? You take your birth control? You don’t want thousands of mini yous (or do you, you narcissist?) running around, so why would you want your dog to? It’s unfair and cruel. Get them fixed or don’t have a dog. If you can’t afford it, then you shouldn’t have a dog. All shelters want their pets fixed. Can you see where this is going, Einstein? Get your dog from a shelter, have them fixed, and stop being irresponsible.

Once, I had this real charmer of a friend. Too irresponsible to get her dogs fixed, she got her dog pregnant and decided to sell the puppies. Sure, they were cute. Who doesn’t think puppies are cute? Unlike babies, even the not-so-cute puppies are mildly adorable (babies, however, can be a lost cause; I’ve seen it firsthand). She wanted $200-300 for each puppy. Of course, as with all scumbags, eventually the tide wasn’t in her favor. Nope, one or two puppies died and another had breathing difficulties. I don’t remember how many this fool actually sold, but I do know that their illnesses were due to her own (and her parents’) ignorance.

Unless you’re a breeder, stop pimping out your dog.

If you do pimp out your dog, I hope someone pimps out your firstborn.

The point is: you should be rescuing a dog’s life, not endangering future puppies. By not adopting a dog or by spreading rumors about so-and-so having his face mauled by a Pit Bull, you’re only making this serious problem worse. Unless you’re showing your dog every year at the AKC competitions, you don’t need a designer dog. I don’t care how much money you make. You’re an idiot.

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Never Again, Summer Sun, Never Again.

I made the mistake of running in 80+ degree weather today. I took the necessary precautions (sunscreen), and I felt fine during the first few minutes. My house felt nice and cold, so I decided to run in the afternoon instead of waiting until dusk. I figured it might be nice to break a sweat and wear a pair of shorts.

I was wrong.

Slowly, but surely, the run became progressively unbearable. I started to compare the thickness in the air to body heat. It felt like I was surrounded by seventy, very large, sticky, warm men. I felt claustrophobic. I could hardly breathe. I felt like I was running in slow motion. Every song on my running playlist irritated me. Who put Robyn on there? Is this Roots track always this annoying? Why did I find this Clash song so catchy before? I get what I give, New Radicals? Is that right? If I have to listen to one more rap song…Shut up, Taylor Swift.

This went on and on.

I wanted to throw my iPod. I decided that I would rather hear music than listen to my own breathing (if we can call that breathing). I only had eight minutes left. I tried to think about the new novel I’m working on—where will I take it next? Should I use chapters to break it up? Immediately, my crazy alter-ego voice took over, “who cares? It’s a thousand degrees out here! Go inside before you have a heat stroke. You’re not built for this!”

Seven minutes left.

I wanted someone to lock me in a freezer and throw away the key. I couldn’t tell whether I was sweating or if the sunscreen hadn’t dried yet. Was my scalp getting burned? Was my hair lightening?

Trying to con your brain into thinking about anything but what you don’t want to think about can be tricky. Typically, I’m pretty good at it. Today, however, every thought was tainted with the overwhelming heat. I wasn’t catching a break. I thought about the different doshas. I really have no Pitta in my dosha. I hate humidity and heat. I could live without the sun, most likely.

See, these are the thoughts that helped get me through.

I really didn’t think I would finish my run, but I knew I had to. I told myself that if I didn’t finish, I would run every day of the summer during lunchtime. That way, I would feel the extreme displeasure of the sun and humidity for the next three months. Of course, any rational person would keep running to avoid this horrific idea.

Another, more levelheaded, reason that I decided to keep at it, was for the people who cannot run. I’m a hypochondriac and always fear the worst. I’m terrified of MS and I feel awful when I read about people who have it. I feel for anyone that can’t run, period. More specifically, I hate that there are actual people that literally, physically cannot run. It irritates me to think about. Last fall, I couldn’t run due to shin splints. Shin splints and serious disabilities are not at all comparable, but I couldn’t run without excruciating pain.

Not everyone is lucky enough to put one foot down in front of the other. My own dog was recently injured. She wasn’t able to get up the stairs. Lucky for her, she’s only fifty pounds and I could lift her up. Her favorite thing is running, though. She’s better now and with any luck, she’ll be running in no time.

My point, however, is to run.

When I first started running, I would ask myself one question: does it hurt? If it didn’t hurt, then I had to channel my inner Kenyan and carry on.

So, did it hurt?

My brain hurt. I felt uncomfortable, but my legs still worked. My heart was still beating.

Thankfully, I finished my run, skipped the cool down (oops!), and went inside. I plastered myself on the dining room floor and drank 28 oz. of water. With my limbs sprawled out and the fresh, cold air enveloping me, I tried to focus on my shin exercises (failed miserably). The overwhelming feeling of having overheated took away from my usual elation from a good run. So, I can’t say I felt accomplished or anything. I was just glad I didn’t die right then and there.

I also promised myself that I will be running in the evening from here on out. Unless the temperature drops below 70, I won’t be doing that again. A nice upside was the ice cold shower after drinking water. I forgot how refreshing cold water feels. It’s almost like being in a pool, except you know you’re not floating in pee and the water is cleaner.

Running is great to relax and clear my head. Unfortunately, that idea is lost on me when I can’t concentrate on anything but the minutes left.

http://instagram.com/p/YL4nX6otyd/

I’m going to inscribe that on my shoes.

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The Spiderman is Having You for Dinner Tonight

“Come into to my parlor,” said the spider to the fly, “for I have a little something.”

Driving home tonight, I was enjoying my quiet ride. I had my iPod on shuffle and I was enjoying the tunes of Built to Spill. I was remembering high school and whether the band came out with anything recently. I realized they probably did and I hadn’t kept up with the times. I made a note to look into it when I got home. Thankfully, home was five minutes away. I was on the second to last road before reaching my humble abode.

As I said, I was nostalgic and tired. I decided I’d go to bed (I’m trying to get to bed early every night). There I was, enjoying some relaxing music and singing along, when I noticed the road flicker. It appeared that the road was changing (like the lights from oncoming cars were all strangely flickering in a weird pattern). “The road can’t be changing; this is nonsense,” I thought as I looked to my visor (where I noticed the slight change in light). I saw a spider and wasn’t alarmed, because it was outside.

Except it wasn’t outside.

It was inside.

Inches from my head.

My road narrowed (because some clown parked in a no-parking zone) and I started to get antsy. I decided to leave the spider alone, because it was merely crossing the visor.

Until it recognized my calmness and decided to change paths.

Suddenly, this spider was embarking on a journey down the visor (ever so close to my face). In my moment of panic, I lifted my right hand and gave him a swat to the right.

“Phew, I dodged him,” I naively thought.

By this time, I had three minutes left to get home (if that). I tried to think about the positive things: he wasn’t near my face, he’s off in the passenger seat, and he can’t get to me that quickly.

As the minutes rolled by, my paranoia began to increase: what if I miss-swatted? What if he was actually at my feet and about to bite my toes?! I’m wearing sandals! What if I never find him? What if he’s a she?! What if she has babies?!

I pulled into my parking spot and turned on the overhead light (something I loathe doing, because everyone can see into my car!). I look at the floor, but he isn’t there. I check the passenger seat floor and he isn’t there. My nightmares are coming true.

He’s gone rogue.

I put the car in park and frantically take a quick glance at my passenger seat.

That’s when I spot him.

Perched next to my purse, this spider is looking at me. I move my purse and items into my lap and stare at him. What am I supposed to do?!

He scuttles in the seat.

I look at my iPod. No, I can’t risk the guts on my iPod; that’s appalling.

I open the glove compartment and pull out a napkin. I will squash him. It’s decided.

He’s gone.

He’s disappeared.

I get out of the car and take out my cell phone. I can’t remember where my car flashlight is, so I remember the application on my phone. I turn on the light and open the passenger door.

He’s not there.

For a moment, I think I should go inside and forget about him. I almost do this, too, until I realize he’s a she and having babies all over my car.

Don’t put off tomorrow what you can do today.

In my moment of sheer madness, I pull the lever on the seat and push the seat forward (I have a two-door, if you haven’t guessed).

There he is.

I scream an accidental, but shrill shriek and stare at him.

He is a thick, giant, yellow spider: the size of a half-dollar coin.

Yes, folks, he isn’t a little spider. I wouldn’t be writing this if this was your average Joe.

No, he’s the one you see pictures of and thank God he doesn’t live in your state.

Under normal circumstances, I’d ask someone else to do the deed, but I couldn’t risk leaving him alone.

I picked him up with my napkin and—yes, guys—I threw it in the street. I know I should have thrown him out or killed him (most of all: I shouldn’t have littered), but desperate times call for desperate measures. The truth is, I couldn’t stand to feel his bone-like body in my hand for longer than absolutely necessary.

I’ll spare you the photo, but if you’re as sick as I am, you can Google it. I have deduced that it is a Yellow Sac Spider, but it’s just larger. That, or my brain thought it was larger. This is possible, but I know what I saw: I wouldn’t have swatted a small spider.

I am now itchy all over.

I’ll leave you with this, though.

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Yesterday I became a woman

I had my first massage, facial, and pedicure.

Alright, I didn’t become a woman, but I felt like I was a disgrace to most women. Most women (and men) have had massages, facials and pedicures. I don’t understand the need for a pedicure—how lazy must you really be to need someone to do anything to your feet? It’s a lot like having your shoes shined at the airport.

Unnecessary.

For Valentine’s Day, Steven bought us the Heart-to-Heart spa package. The appointments were booked, so we ended up booking it for two months later. The following is a recap of the journey:

My masseuse said he was going to do a deep tissue, Swedish massage. He asked my pain threshold and I said I can take most things (I relied on my shin splints and extreme toe stub as a point of reference). First, I should mention I did not feel comfortable with my clothes off. I felt quite nervous, actually. I kept thinking, “I don’t really need a massage.  I don’t want some guy touching me.” He said that my first massage might hurt and it’s supposed to.

This was a surprise, but I thought he was just pegging me as a big sissy that couldn’t handle a little roughness.

Boy, was I wrong.

At first, it was a little pressure, but nothing I couldn’t take. I thought I might enjoy it. I was beginning to open up, when suddenly, his dew claws came out.

He zeroed in on my left tripezius and went to town. What I mean to say is that he went to town and back home and then back to town again. Repeatedly. For the longest time of my life. It felt like someone was taking an extra sharp ice pick and jabbing it all along that muscle. Back and forth.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Finally, I said, “could you use a little less pressure?” and he goes “sure.” I think, “thank God I opened my mouth. I never say what I’m thinking.” The ice pick was now a butter-knife.

If you’ve ever tried to cut bread with a butter-knife, you know that you can’t actually cut anything. He did the same thing with slightly less pressure. Then finally I say, “why does that side hurt so much?” “Oh, well it’s supposed to. On a pain scale, it should be about an 8. A five or a six, too. I mean, nine would be…”

Unbearable.

He wanted to say unbearable. I wanted to say unbearable. I wanted to say this is unbearable.

Then he moved to my legs. At this point, I tried to move the fingers of my left hand and realized I couldn’t. I tried to move my hand and hardly could. It hurt to move. I was distracted when he said I had quite long toes. This is true: I have long fingers and toes. I have a freak-flag and I’m proud of it.

More pressing was my inability to move my arm. If you’ve ever done extreme lifting, you know that feeling where lifting a pen is nearly impossible. My hand felt so heavy.

Alas, as I was lamenting over my new handicap, those monster claws made their way up to my back again and made sure to kill whatever feeling I had left (this is a lie: I felt everything. I felt nothing but pain. I felt all of my tendons separate and collapse under this beast’s fingers). It was like a sadist getting his fix. I just took it like a fool!

After the massage, I went to get my facial. I don’t recall saying thank you to Scissorhands. I typically say it out of habit, but I can’t remember saying it. On a deep, visceral level, I knew I was just wronged. I remember thinking I will never have another massage again. On my way to the facial, he said, “it takes about five massages for a massage to feel good.”

This reminds me of alcohol. It takes time and an acquired taste.

Let me tell you something: you can get used to anything, but why would you? If something is unpleasant, I will not get used to it, nor do I want to—least of all for social status or a social norm. No, thank you. I’ll pass. Freak-flag is mine.

The facial was nerve-wracking. I have extremely sensitive skin, so I mentioned that to her (Sylvia). She was amazing! She was funny and nice and informative. She was also very gentle. The bones in my face didn’t break under her dainty fingers. I had to wear a pair of heated mittens and then she put a pair of heated slippers on my feet. I started laughing at how ridiculous this whole situation was. There was a machine in my face blowing steam at me. The machine looked like it had two eyes and ears. The steam was blowing out of his nose.

I’m positive my next piece of writing will involve a spa.

Finally, I had a pedicure. She said my nails are too short! It’s true; I cut them so they don’t hit my sneakers when I’m running. I picked a coral color. I’m more of a muted color kind of girl, but I figure when-in-Rome, right? She also said I have very soft feet. I never gave much thought to my feet, but I was flattered nonetheless. While she did whatever she did to my cuticles, I couldn’t stop moving my feet! That was the worst tickling feeling ever. I was so uncomfortable. I must have looked quite ridiculous.

After I had my feet in that little drier, I put them in my shoes and felt my nails stick. Uh-oh. So, my two big toes are smeared coral. Oops. It’s okay.

Then, when I got home, I looked in the mirror to take a shower (I was greasy-faced and skinned that I just couldn’t take it).

I HAD (HAVE) BRUISES on my shoulders. The capillaries exploded and it looks like two giant hickeys!

My back is in so much pain. When I put my clothes on, it’s a whole debacle. Reaching for things or stretching hurts immensely! I even had a nightmare about it, last night.

Steven’s massage was okay. He said it was a little rough–certainly not his best massage, but not as terrible as mine. He fell asleep during his facial, and his pedicure went so well that he chose sparkly gold as his nail color–not kidding.

So, today, I called the spa and let them know that the massage was quite rough and that my results aren’t physically appealing. I just hope no one else gets the iron hand on their back. The receptionist said the boss will probably call me back.

All in all, I would never have any of those again. I don’t feel like any more of a woman being “pampered.” Though, if that’s being pampered, I don’t want any part of it.

I’m more than happy painting my own toe nails (clear, thank you!) and washing my face with soap and water. And as for a massage, I think I’ll stick with a cold shower after a hot run and a nice smoothie for dessert.

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