Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kids on a Plane

It seems like every couple of months there is a news story about a passenger who was kicked off an aeroplane because of an unruly child.  The parents go on a media tour discussing how airlines unfairly discriminate against children.  The airline gives the family free tickets to any where they want to go.  Mother's groups threaten to boycott the airline and 15 minutes later we all forget about it as another celebrity shaves her head or makes a sex tape.

What no one seems to be saying to these parents is the truth.  You have every right to have a child and to take that child any where that you want to go.  But if you and/or your child infringe on my rights as a human being to be in that place at the same time then you are in the wrong, not me.  If your kid is screaming at the top of his lungs, running up and down the aisles of the plane then you need to be kicked off.  You have failed as a parent.  Your only job is to raise your child to be a healthy, well adjusted person.  No one is saying that job is easy but no one forced you into it.  You decided to have a child so you need to decide to raise that child so that he/she isn't disturbing the peace every time you leave the house. 

Yes, some kids are more difficult than others but usually they are like this because of something that you did/failed to do as a parent.  If you have one of those rare cases where you child has a medical condition that cannot be controlled this doesn't apply to you.  But you don't hear stories about kids with Tourette's being thrown off a plane.  It's the bratty 4 year old whose parents never discipline at home and let throw tantrums in public.  You knew your kid was a brat when you bought the plane ticket.  When you were driving to the airport.  When you boarded the plane.  You hoped that he would have a good day and not embarrass you in public.  Or worse yet, you didn't care.  You knew that most people wouldn't have the nerve to say something to your face because then you could accuse them of hating children and they would have to shut up. 

If I run up and down the aisles of the plane screaming a TSA will tackle me.  A number of strangers will probably join in just in case I'm a terrorist.  I will be arrested.  The Today Show isn't going to interview me.  No one is going to give me a free plane ticket.  The national organization of angry liberals isn't going to threaten to boycott Jet Blue because I got kicked off.  Because that's not acceptable behavior in public.  Not a single person would come to my defense. 

If I would have done any of the things these children have done as a child my mother would have immediately yanked me back into place (both literally and figuratively).  Parents feel free to shop at Target, go out to dinner, go to the movies and fly to visit your relatives.  But if your children are bad and you can't control them get a baby sitter.  Or better yet stay home and use your money on a good therapist.  Maybe if your parents would have done the same...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To All My Cat People

Four months ago my cat Tiger died suddenly.  He was a healthy cat and his death was unexpected but at 12 years old he had a full and happy life.  He was 2 when I rescued him and my life will be forever changed because he was a part of it. 

My husband and I didn't want to go too long without a cat because we didn't want the dogs to lose their "cat manners".  A month after Tiger died we adopted two 1-1/2 year old tabby cats that came from the same litter.  They had been living in a foster home for a year and prior to that were living wild in some farmer's barn.  They were attached to each other so it was hard to place them since people were willing to take 2 cats and the SPCA didn't want to separate them. 

Initially we kept the cats completely separate from the dogs with occasional views of each other through baby gates or leashed visits.  Maybe we were too conservative initially because the dogs become extremely excited every time they see the cats and cannot be trusted to be left alone with them.  The cats mark anywhere the dogs sleep when they are allowed in other portions of the house so we have to limit their access as well.  One of the cats did get past the barriers while I was at work this week and when I came home one of my dogs had him cornered.  No fur was up, I don't think there was any aggression from the dog but he was very excited and had scratched the cat while jumping on him.  The cat had a small cut on his lip and was fine but the experience terrified me.  What if I hadn't gotten home when I did?  Would I have a dead cat on my hands?

Now it seems like we have set up the cats as some sort of forbidden prize for the dogs and they are obsessed with them.  A month ago my uncle died, leaving behind a 10 year old tabby cat.  In my blog from last month I talked about how sad I was that we couldn't find a place for Jones.  Since we brought Jones home my stress level has increased dramatically because now my house is divided in three.

The young cats are still separate from the dogs.  The dogs have had leashed time with Jones in the same room but their reaction is as volatile as it is with the young cats.  Jones has been an only cat his whole life and isn't used to having any animals around.  The young cats have been around other cats but they both have eye infections right now and I don't want them to get Jones sick since he is older and I want to keep his him healthy since he will need to have dental surgery this month to take care of his rotten teeth.  So my husband and I live separate lives behind doggie cats and screens.  The dogs are used to sleeping with us, Jones is used to sleeping with my uncle so we swap who sleeps with which pets each night. The young cats have each other and seem to be content with our visits during the day.  But we are not making any progress towards getting our house, our sanity or our marriage back. 

I worry that we were too conservative in the beginning and now we will need professional help to get them together, if we can ever get them together at all.  Our pet sitter definitely thinks we should rip the band aid off but I have images of cats scratching dog's eyes out and dogs pouncing on cats.  Next weekend we are going to a friends wedding and will need to stay out of town for one night.  I am determined to at least get Jones with the dogs by then.  I feel like either way I'm about to hire someone to help before things are irreversibly doomed. 

My Weight Watcher's Journey Begins

I feel like I have been struggling with my weight my whole life but, in reality, it has only been for the past 10-15 years.  I thought I was fat when I was kid because I developed early and my flat-chested, hip-less peers called me fat.  I wish I could tell that size 3 girl how awesome she was now.  The fact that I remember the names and situations of every time someone has called me fat or ugly in my life tells me this is where it all started.  Most of my relatives talk about weight non-stop.  Someone is always too fat or too skinny.  No one every asks how you are or about your job or family.  The first thing out of any one's mouth is "Wow you've gotten fat" or "You're finally starting to slim down".  Granted, about half of my family is morbidly obese and suffer from the medical problems that come with that so it is probably the focus of their lives as well.  I have always been active and fit, even as an overweight person, and have prided myself on not being diabetic or suffering from the other ailments that my relatives have.

A few years ago I went on Nutri System and lost 15lbs.  The moment I went off Nutri System I gained the 15 lbs back plus and extra 10.  I know that Nutri System worked for me because I didn't have to think.  I just had to grab a box out of the pantry and eat it.  It was expensive but it was easy.  I am a lazy person and I wasn't going through drive-thrus because there was finally something that was equally convenient.  But I didn't learn the right things to eat.  I didn't learn to control any of my cravings or bad habits.  I hadn't gained weight when I gave myself 2 cheat days a week so I got cocky.  Two cheat days became three, then dinner every night, then the diet was out the window and I was 211 pounds.

Once I became a zumba instructor 2 years ago I was able to bring my weight back down to 198.  I have maintained this weight for a while but it is still too heavy for my 5'6" frame and I don't feel good about the way that I look.  People have been talking about Weight Watchers for years but I never thought it was for me.  It sounded like a lot of work and the idea of going to meetings does not appeal to me at all.  But after hearing Jennifer Hudson and Charles Barkley interviewed about their weight loss by using Weight Watchers, I'll admit I was curious.  My husband and I joined the online program and I lost 10 lbs in 5 weeks.  I have not had a 18_ weight in 6 years. 

My excitement lasted for about a week but after two weeks of traveling for work I put 3 lbs back on.  Yes, I am still down 7 lbs but I am worried that it is all going to come back on.  My job involves a lot of time in my car, going to meetings and eating out.  There aren't always healthy food options available and/or time to exercise.  During the summer I am out of town for 2-3 days at a time a couple times a month on top of my normal 2-3 hour drives for meetings 1-4 times a month.  I was complaining to my husband and he immediately, and correctly, put me in my place.

He told me that being out of town for 3 days wasn't an excuse to throw everything out the window the other 4 days.  No, there aren't always healthy menu options but that doesn't mean that I have to go for the most unhealthy options.  Not to mention all the happy hour drinking and desserts.  And even if it's only 15 minutes, I can probably find time to work out if I'm not hung over or watching some stupid movie on HBO.  He was absolutely right.

As much as I don't want to admit it, losing weight is going to be work.  I can prepare my meals at the beginning of the week so that it can be as easy as Nutri System was.  I can work on my time management better so I'm not always running behind schedule and feeling unprepared.  I can find other outlets for my stress that don't involve food or sitting in front of a screen.  Lots of people that I work with are fit and make better meal choices when we got out.  There is no reason that I can't do the same. 

Next week I will be in Pittsburgh, one of my favorite cities.  The food and nightlife are amazing but I have to have some restraint.  I don't want to feel sick after a meal.  I want to love myself all the time, not just because of the way that I look but because of the way that I carry myself.  It felt so good to wear pants that have been in the back of my closet for 5 years.  I know that I can be successful if I just put a little more effort into it.