Subourbon Mom


Spring Break – 5 College Guy Body Types

Lots of people have asked me if there was any eye candy on the spring break cruise we took, which apparently had most of the University of Georgia on it. I hesitate to say yes, because a) the “men” were the same age as my daughters and b) eye candy is only fun in this situation for someone my age as long as you have your headphones on.  As soon as you actually hear the eye candy speak, it’s all over – it’s like getting what you thought was a caramel chocolate out of the candy box, and it ends up having that nasty pink creamy stuff inside.

But while I waited at the back of the pool crowd (see photo above) for the waiter to bring my next boat drink, I did notice that there are essentially 5 main male college bods:

  1. The football player who will eventually be a real estate broker or work in his Dad’s car dealership. This guy has already peaked – in fact, he may have peaked in high school but is riding the wave until the bitter end. His bulky size is beginning to go or will go to fat as soon as he stops working out in the gym, although he may re-acquaint himself with his neck when that happens. He always enters the belly flop contest and does the beer yell while dancing like Uncle Kracker. He also has some of the worst sunburn because he doesn’t have a girlfriend, and guys generally just aren’t that helpful to each other with sunscreen application.
  2. Dad-Bod. This guy has already achieved that settled look that usually comes after baby #1. You can already see what he’s going to look at when he’s 40. He’s wearing the pastel button-down shirt (probably unbuttoned) and a university hat. But he is someone who might be able to hold a conversation, and his sunscreen is evenly applied because he has a girlfriend (or potential girlfriend) who cares.
  3. The Gym Rat. This guy, no matter how tall or short, spends the same amount of time in the gym that Oprah Winfrey spends telling people how to live their lives better (BTW, I’m still annoyed that one of Oprah’s “favorite things” was a pair of slippers for $300, as if we’re supposed to be able to afford them – bitch, please). He has perfected the flex-and-scan, which involves – you guessed it – flexing his pecs and abs and scanning beneath his $200 sunglasses to see who noticed. This is usually followed by a smirk if he’s spotted a fan, or a frown if he hasn’t.
  4. The Head of the Back (a-la Michael Anthony Hall in 16 Candles). These leaders of the non-Ken Doll contingent tend to lurk around the outskirts of the big crowds, drinking as much as the rest (or more), but never quite make it to the inner circle. They may not spend as much time in the gym or in the girls’ dorms as the other guys, but they have an amazing assortment of professional sports-related clothing to choose from, such as baseball and basketball jerseys. Sunburn? See Bod #1.
  5. Baseball player bod. These guys aren’t necessarily baseball players – they just have that naturally athletic look to them, without all the gym work. They either are already in the military (hence the look), they’ll work 20-hour days on Wall Street, or they will climb some other corporate ladder quickly with their combination of looks and charm (and probably smarts as well) – unless they go the opposite direction and do something interesting/noble like joining the Peace Corp or becoming a Wilderness adventure leader in the Rockies. Their sunscreen is applied evenly by pretty much anyone they ask.

At the risk of being accused of body-shaming, these are generalizations only. I don’t know these people and haven’t spoken to them except to ask them to please aim their vomit down the stairs and not down my front (just kidding). And no, I’m not going to talk about the girls’ body types because…I’m not stupid.

And yes, I was jealous of them for a bit, but then I had a revelation:

College kids don’t have cash, and pool wait staff like cash.   A lot.

Grownups have cash.

So, we grownups grabbed some chairs first thing in the morning while the partiers were still sleeping, and camped out all day enjoying the partiers’ annoyed looks.  We tipped the wait staff each time they took our orders.  Soon we didn’t even have to ask – they just brought. No standing in line amongst the sweaty, rum-breathing hoards, vying for the bartenders’ attention among the belly button rings and thongs. Just drinks on a tray when we needed them.

It’s good to be a grown up.



Treadmill Tourette’s & Other Winter Exercise Hazards

After walking around all winter grumbling about how I hate the way my stomach has started moving independently of the rest of my body, I finally realized I was actually going to have to do something about it.

I was going to have to start…dare I say it?

Exercising.

And even worse… Eating Better.

So I did what I always do when I realize Virginia winters don’t require the amount of extra insulation I’ve been building up.  I tried a few things, and quickly realized my intentions do not match the reality of the situation.

Intention: I am trying to eat 5 fruits and veggies a day and limiting bread to get more good carbs and limit the bad.
Reality: My body went into a fiber-induced shock. Apparently, granola is not everybody’s friend, at least not at first.

Intention: I am limiting alcohol – and by that I mean I am only having drinks Thursday through Saturday. (Some folks asked me “why include Thursday?” Well duh…because Thursday is “Little Friday!”)

Little Friday

Reality: Middle Age takes care of some of that desire; I now have a whole list of drinks that make me have hot flashes, so I’m definitely weighing my choices more carefully – is it really worth having to change out of my sweat-soaked my PJs at 3:00am to have that glass of wine? Nope.

Intention: I bought a few Clean Eating and exercise magazines to give me inspiration and ideas.

Shape CoverReality: They make me feel like I am being healthy without actually being healthy…until I look at the 20-year-olds in the pictures who clearly have never had children and don’t sit in an office cube all day like a veal. I also refuse to spend a lot of money on special spices and high-end oils that those Clean Eating magazines seem to demand. And, I have never once tried any of the exercises in the fitness mags – mostly because I couldn’t follow the diagrams any more than I can put together anything that says “some assembly required.”

Intention: I am regularly exercising at the office gym, mostly doing ab work and cardio to get the weight off as fast as I can.
Reality: Running on the treadmill comes with two hazards I wasn’t expecting:

1. Watching my reflection in the windows as I run makes me unbalanced – I had to grab the rails before I shot off the back of the machine like a sweaty, horizontal human waterfall;

Unknown
2. I thought my new cheap headphones were mildly electrocuting me every few seconds, until I realized that in the winter treadmills acquire a lot of static electricity.  So, every 3rd or 4th step I had to slap the metal rail with my hand to prevent the static zap from reaching my headphones and inner ear.  I don’t know what the people walking by the gym window thought, but I’m pretty sure I looked like I had a case of Running Tourette’s.


Intention:
 I am going to look awesome in a bikini this summer.

Bikini
Reality: I will once again spend too much money on a conservative tankini that my mother will approve of.

 

Vintage bathing suit

 

But in the meantime, I’m going to be burning those extra calories flailing at the metal treadmill rails – maybe those expended calories will turn into that bikini body I remember. Or maybe they’ll just let me eat that extra helping of summertime happy hour appetizers.

 



Princess and the Pee

Coming back to reality after Spring Break—a snow storm in March (Are you kidding me?) naturally sucks. Coming home to find the cats have spite-peed on your daughter’s bed REALLY sucks.

And it’s also kind of funny, in a twisted way.  Just stick with me on this one.

In my house, the pets have aligned themselves with family members.  Hubby gets the psycho kitty we nursed from the time she was 3 days old; Daughter #2 has the beast in the barn; Daughter #1 gets Isabella FATrice (Izzy), our pudgy, orange cat who treats everyone like staff; and by default, I get The Dog.  Never mind the fact that I’m the one who gets up at six EVERY MORNING to feed them and let them out. For the most part, they simply tolerate me.

If Izzy (the orange cat) were to be on the game Survivor, she would probably be voted out near the end—she’s a leader who gets things done by being vocal and acting like she’s in charge, but in the end, it’s The Dog who would win, because The Dog flies under the radar, also getting what she wants but without the attitude.

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The Dog: note the super-soft blanket and matching manicure (thanks Aussie Pet Mobile!) as she lounges on my side of the couch.

For years I’ve been secretly jealous of Daughter #1 and her relationship with the princess pussycat.  It is like being in middle school all over again.  The popular girls (Daughter #1 and Izzy) hang out exclusively, draped all over each other, gossiping and messing with each other’s hair.  If I come in with some silly request like, “Please take the sheets off your bed so I can wash them,” I am met with an irritated meow. Pushing up my glasses (these days they’re “cheaters”), I retreat to the unpopular kids’ table (i.e. my room) and sulk.  I’m clearly the lowest creatures on the social totem pole in our house (except for maybe the fish). By asking Daughter #1 to move Izzy, I have clearly imposed my presence on the popular girls’ space.

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See? She even looks like a Mean Girl!

But as I took a bath on our first night home to ease my quads that were still burning from all the Spring Break hiking and zip-lining, I heard Daughter #1 through the wall:

Daughter #1: “Oh my God! Mooooooooommm!”

Me: (silence—I was ignoring them—bath time is sacred)

Daughter #1:  “You guys, come in here and look at this!” (thumping as Daughter #2 enters the room.)

Daughter #2 starts laughing.

Both Girls:  “Moooooooom!” (still silent)    “Daaaaaaaad!”  (also wisely silent)

Me: (I sigh and get out of the tub, knowing the alternative is a visitor, and all the bubbles have gone—always awkward.)

When I got to Daughter #2’s room she is nearly in tears.  Apparently, despite having a litter box handy the whole time we were gone, one or both of the cats spite-peed in her bed—a massive puddle that told me they’d been saving for at least a couple of days. (The Dog hd been farmed out to my mom’s.)

I looked at the clock—it was late, and I was NOT going back to the store.  So, I looked on-line for what I could use in the house, and quickly made up the extra bed for Daughter #2.  (I’ve copied the instructions below, in case anyone else ever has this issue—it worked!!)

The upside of the whole event was watching the Popular Girl drama play out over the next couple of days.  Izzy was banned from Daughter #1’s presence, sitting outside the bedroom, meowing, looking miserable and triumphant at the same time, like the best friend of the popular girl who managed to steal the popular girl’s boyfriend—the victory was soooo worth the short-term social ostracism to follow.  When that didn’t work, Izzy switched “besties” and went to Daughter #2’s room. She took to hanging out there, sleeping on Daughter #2’s stomach all night. Daughter #2 was happy enough to have the company, but she’s never needed approval from the popular crowd.

Even though Daughter #1 might not admit it, Izzy’s defection bugged her. Eventually, she relented, and Izzy was accepted back into the popular girl club’s good graces, trailing after Daughter #1 all day like a remora near a shark, making mean-girl comments to anybody who walked by (me).

Now, if the cat does it again and I can’t get the stench out, the she will be expelled, or at least placed in some serious detention. But until then, I’ll just keep hovering in the social wings of our pet-centered home, hoping that maybe The Dog will let me have my spot back on the couch.

Here’s the recipe from Animal Planet for de-funking cat pee (it really worked!):

  1. Blot dry or if already dry, get wet with water and blot dry the excess urine.
  2. Soak with mixture of water and vinegar. Vinegar is great for killing bacteria. This mixture is perfect for both old and new stains. Try 1 1/2 cups of warm water and a ½ cup of vinegar. Pour this concoction over the stain and soak for about 3 to 5 minutes. Note: vinegar is not good for marble or stone.
  3. There’s nothing like good all-purpose baking soda. After the water and vinegar solution is dry, sprinkle the area with baking soda. How much is enough? A lot.
  4. You’re not done just yet with the homemade remedies. Mix 3/4 cup of three percent hydrogen peroxide (you know you have some under your bathroom sink) with 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Sprinkle this solution over the baking soda and test a small spot. You need to do this because sometimes peroxide can discolor or bleach fabrics (source). Work the baking soda into the fabric or carpet.
  5. It’s time to let the mixtures dry for a few hours (I did 36 hours). Once the spot’s good and dry, vacuum the excess baking soda. If the stain is extremely tough, repeat the entire process again.
  6. If homemade mixing is not your thing, there are commercial products on the market that work well too. Make sure to look for cleaners that contain enzymes because they work to break down the urine and neutralize the odor (source). Make sure you follow the instructions carefully on these products.
  7. Just because you can’t see the stain, doesn’t mean you can’t smell the stain. Deodorizing must be part of the equation. Once again, baking soda and a mixture of detergent and water will help minimize odors.


Zip Lines & Zebra Suits…The Loterie Farm, St. Maarten

Day Three of Spring Break, St. Maarten:

Today was one of those perfect days you fantasize about when you’re scraping the windshield and cursing the fact that you didn’t get that finicky backseat window in your car fixed before winter hit.

Our intrepid leader Mark and his up-for-anything assistant Stazzi took us to a place called The Loterie Farm (pronounced “Lottery Farm,”), an oasis in the middle of St. Maarten that offers an idyllic infinity pool with cabanas you can rent, straight out of “Who The Hell Lives Like That?” magazine. (This is the genre of magazine that features houses with all-white furniture and carpets, and ads for curtains that cost more than my snow-covered car.) For the more adventurous, there is a network of zip-lines and hiking trails throughout the jungle.

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Before we left, there was the usual 45 minutes of trying to round up seven people and all of their gear for the day:

Me:  “Does anyone have the bug spray? Did you put sunscreen on? No you didn’t—you’re not shiny enough. Put it on—not here, outside! Did you bring sneakers? You can’t zip-line in flip flops…”

Everyone else: “Mommmm…”

Eventually, Mark and Stazzi managed to corral all of us into the rental van. When we arrived at The Loterie Farm, we entered the pool area and plunked our gear down. What a surprise! We were a loud, laughing group of Americans invading a quiet and serene European setting–no wonder they hate us.  A frowning French waiter brought a complementary bucket of champagne, which made me salivate like a dog looking at a steak, but that would have to wait—there was zip-lining to do first.  After all, I do have a little bit of a work ethic.

The zip-lining was as fun as it was exhausting – I definitely recommend it to anyone with a sense of adventure.  After and hour of straining muscles over a ropes course and clipping and un-clipping ourselves to various cables and trees, the tired Fam plodded down the last wooden ramp to the fix-it-yourself rum punch bar—seriously, they had that.  I love Island People. The more athletic and wise among us (Daughters 1&2) made do with water.  Dripping with jungle sweat from squatting and zipping and maneuvering my not-as-limber-as-I-thought body around, I went back for champagne and my bathing suit.

Guess who didn’t bring hers?

Hubby, already in his suit and ready to get into the pool and cool off with a glass of the bubbly, saw me getting ready to FTFO and took me to the Teeny, Tiny boutique that was there just for forgetful people like me, to buy a suit. Everything in that boutique was Teeny Tiny, including The Loterie Farm Dog, a Chihuahua named Felly who periodically got the “zoomies” and ran in circles before collapsing in the grass ( I think I lost 20 minutes just watching him).  The only things not Teeny Tiny were the price tags.  Of course, the Teeny Tiniest things in the boutique were the bathing suits. And Ladies, in case you were wondering, Land’s End tank-inis don’t exist in Europe or The Islands, except on suburban-American moms. We may think we are camouflaging the muffin-tops in them, but the rest of the world can spot us a mile away, and they shrink back in horror.

What I ended up purchasing was a band-aide-sized, black and white bikini that, next to my sunburned skin, made me look like a zebra with a bad case of mange. You could clearly see the tan lines left by my forgotten suit.

Mortified, I wrapped a towel around my waist, trying desperately to ignore the fact that there was air coming down the back of the bottoms because—yes, it’s gross, but true—I’m pretty sure I actually had crack showing. Classy.

But, after a delicious tapas meal and a couple (make that several) boat drinks over which we solved the problems of the world, I was no longer mortified.  In fact, I felt kind of French—I had a too-small bathing suit, lack of inhibitions, and an attitude of undeserved privilege—or is that more like a recent college grad? It’s hard to tell the difference, except for the accent.

Either way, I decided it was a pretty nice way to spend time on vacation; and since Daughters 1 & 2 are closer to graduating than I will ever be again, I’ll just have to become French.  Oui?  

“Mommmmm…”

“I know, I know. Put some more sunscreen on. You’re not shiny enough.”



Things Are Looking Up

Spring break this week couldn’t have come soon enough, after yet another week of missed work, missed school and sleet that no longer sounded like popcorn on the windows, but more like an irritating toddler tapping on the bedroom door while Mommy was in “time-out.” Courtesy of my very generous in-laws, we were invited to spend a few days in St. Maarten.  For weeks I’d been envisioning white sand beaches, tropical drinks and hangovers that mysteriously disappeared with an hour or two of being in the sun.

I also had visions of how I would be looking in my bikini.

Huh.

I didn’t remember I’d have two teenage daughters with me, and that I would be surrounded by other youngsters in their 20’s, with no wrinkles or worn-out-looking skin draping their bodies like Scarlett O’Hara’s curtains before she made them into a dress.

But I wore it anyway. Hell, I didn’t know anybody there.

I also tried to justify it to myself by going for a walk from where we were staying up to a radio tower on top of the “mountain.” Okay, it wasn’t really a mountain, but it looked like one when I was eyeballing it from the breakfast table, with a stomach full of healthy granola trying to counteract the bellyful of pizza and Heinekens from the night before.

My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, and that day, they were clearly bigger than my exercise capabilities.

So off The Fam went, a water bottle in each hand, our pale, prison-term skin glistening in the mid-morning light and blinding the locals.  As we plodded along the congested street to get to the “mountain”, my only thought was, “My goal today is to sweat out the many, many toxins I ingested last night.”  By the time we’d gone about 500 yards, I’d achieved that goal. We hadn’t even started uphill yet.

Our friend and guide to all fun things local, Mark, led us landlubbers through the maze of tiny lanes winding up the hill. Each indentation in the road hid a charming villa overlooking the ocean in a panorama of turquois and cerulean blues that made your heart actually ache, wanting to see that view every day.  In his characteristic speed-walk (large steps, head swiveling from side to side like an ostrich as he scanned for potential hazards), we hiked up the mountain that I had quickly decided was not eroding with time like a normal mountain, but was in fact growing, probably due to some strange up-thrust of island infrastructure-related sewage activity. (For some reason, there was a stench of raw sewage that would come at us in wafts all over the island—random waves of shit-smell that would actually burn the back of your throat until you cleared the area).

St. Maarten hikeTwo-thirds of the way up, I had to take a break. Mama Bear was falling behind, and not in a, “I’ll block the cars from the rear,” protective kind of way. My lungs were on fire, and the hip I busted white water rafting was seizing up in a way no WD40 or bottles of Aleve were going to fix.  Ahead, Mark and Daughters 1&2 were plowing on with heads down and shoulders hunched against the humidity and the the incline. 

Hubby was patiently waiting for me to catch up, the last prisoner on this Bataan Death March.

Eventually, we made it to the top, and the view?  It was worth it—a panoramic view of our part of the island.

The best parts of the whole adventure?

  1. No texting
  2. Daughters 1&2 were impressed with something that, while not exactly life-sized, was not on SnapChat until THEY put it there.
  3. I didn’t have to use my inhaler, and the hours on the elliptical weren’t wasted.
  4. I was toxin-free…
  5. …until I had the three frozen lemonade drinks at the beach bar later on that were GUILT-FREE.



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