Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Secret to Weight Loss

     Ever since I started losing weight, people have been asking me what my secret is to slimming down. I always found that question humorous. Not that people would ask me, more so why they thought it was a secret. It always makes me imagine that I'm a spy that has classified Intel, or more accurately, a Bond villain stroking a fluffy cat with an evil cackle. Cause let's face it, that's more my style.
     So what is the secret? I guess the biggest secret to weight loss is......there is no secret. I think too often we try to find short cuts and quick solutions to achieving our goals. There isn't a miracle pill you can take that will shed pounds from your body. There isn't an app you can download and then all of sudden start dropping fat like a bad habit (see what I did there?). Weight loss takes work, effort, and above all else, determination, in order to get results. Think of it this way, you didn't become unhealthy or chubby overnight. Guess what.....losing it works the same way.
     To be fair, there is a million and one diets out there that you can do to achieve fast results. Keto. Palleo. Deathstro. Mysterio. I may have forgot the names of a few and started injecting 80's cartoon villain names instead. But you get where I am going with this. Regardless.....and not irregardless, because that is not a word, right Megan? Regardless, whatever path you choose, the number one thing that is going to make it work
     At the end of July last year, we got back from our annual trip to Comic Con. I started to unpack the clothing I had purchased and began to get that negative feeling. You probably know that one I am talking about. Where your inner dialogue goes from being supportive to sounding like the people who use to ridicule you in high school? I was staring down at one of the shirts I had just bought, and became immediately disgusted with myself for having to wear a size 3X shirt. This was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. And I had no one to blame but myself.
     Every picture I took of myself that weekend looked hideous to me. It was like I couldn't see the real me. Instead, I saw this chunky, flabby, ugly version of my body. I and hated myself for it. This was me being fat myself. When people say "you're your own worst critic" they ain't kidding. Eleanor Roosevelt said "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent," and I allowed myself to put me down farther than I ever have before. It was in this moment I understood people who developed eating disorders. I use to laugh at how that could never happen to me, because I enjoyed food too much. But here I was, on the brink of tipping into that field, and all because I allowed myself to be my worst antagonist instead of supporter.
     This is where the change happened. If there is ANY secret to weight loss, this is it. Stop tearing yourself down, and build yourself up. Too often do we allow ourselves to take the easy road or short cuts, and then we get down on ourselves for the choices we make. Instead, use that inner voice to encourage and motivate you. It's amazing the things you can accomplish when you stop belittling yourself and instead push yourself to your goals and aspirations.
     And that's exactly what I did. I told myself, instead of being a lazy person sitting on the couch watching TV, I am gonna go to the gym and watch my shows on the treadmill. Forty minutes turned into an hour. One mile walked turned into three. Just treadmill turned into elliptical as well. Pure cardio turned into a combo with weight training. Making smarter food choices turned into modified diets. One day, turned into nine months of progress. 3x shirts turned into XL shirts. 46 inch pants turned into 38 inch. 355lbs turned into 270. And even though I have not reached my goal, I am still internally pushing myself every day.
     The most rewarding thing, has been the people I have influenced along the way. I have friends in other states who are challenging me with their apple watch. I have co-workers who ask me for tips and tricks on how they can increase their exercise. I have people that I rarely see except interactions from Facebook who have begun their own workout regimen, influenced by my own posts. I have 5-10 minute discussions with customers at my store who have noticed my weight loss and want to know "the secret." I even have my parents who are getting inspired to get to the gym.
     Here are the things to remember:
1.) Change is only going to happen if you make the choice to do so. No one else can make this choice for you.

2.) It's far too easy to make excuses than it is to follow through. That's how you got to where you are now, and that's the first place to break the cycle. For example: DON'T say "I've had a rough day, I will go to the gym tomorrow." DO say "I had a rough day....and 20 minutes on the treadmill will make me at least feel better about myself."

3.) Set small goals. It's always good to have a lofty goal, but it's easier to set small goals as little milestones to help with your confidence. For example: I wanted to lose 100 lbs before Comic Con, but set small goals of 10 lbs per month. That way, each month felt like I was accomplishing something rather than chipping away at a difficult journey. This saved me from quitting and was a huge motivator.

4.) Find a buddy. It's hard silencing the inner voice that tears you down. If you have a friend who can help build you up, it makes it that much easier, and helps you feel like you are not alone. Sometimes it is hard to find a buddy. But if you're reading already have one buddy on your side right here.

5.) Believe in yourself. 90% of people fail because they lack the confidence to see it through. And would you rather be the person that gave up on themselves or the person who was their biggest supporter.
     This was not an easy journey for me, but it also wasn't a difficult one either. It has, however, been one of the most rewarding things that I have done. I no longer tear myself down. I have become a lot more positive about other things in my life. At almost 38 years old, I am the most active I have been since High School. I am fitting into clothes I haven't fit into since I was 17. I have new friends messaging me about their work outs everyday and planning gym trips. And all because I decided to be my best critic, instead of my worst.
     So that's the secret people. There are too many things in this world that will try to tear you down. If you're not the one building yourself up......who will?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Guess Who's Back

It's been nearly five years since I have last blogged. To be honest, I couldn't even tell you for sure why I stopped. I could use the excuse that sometimes life gets in the way, but doesn't that happen to all of us? Saying that now almost invokes a response that would be reminiscent to that gif of Boo from Monster's Inc. blinking sleepy eyes. Maybe it isn't that life got in the way, or rather life has provided me with some new outlets.

Since I've been gone, I have discovered two new loves. No, not Kelly Clarkson. I've always loved her. If I were my mother I could use that as one of my new discoveries. Apparently, according to her, Kelly is her new BFF. After catching her on The Voice, she has decided that they were meant to be friends, and the TV had some how magically connected them to some strange relationship that works on some non-communicative level. Did you know that Kelly Clarkson's Mother-in-law and my Mother have the same birthday? I did. As I was told. Several times. By her. But enough about the Clarkson/Huckaby love affair.

The first thing I discovered is I love to cook, or even more so, create dishes for people to consume and then make themselves. I spend a lot of my spare time with my nose in a cookbook, surfing recipes online, or shopping at the store for new exciting ingredients. I cook, on average, about forty different dishes a month. Last Christmas, I put together a cookbook for my friends and family as a gift, showcasing a multitude of dishes they could try and make themselves. After some of the reception from that book, I was told they enjoyed my stories and that I "should get back to writing."

The second, my quest for a healthier me. After coming home from Comic-Con last year and looking at the photos we took, I was not happy. For whatever reason, I had let myself get lazy, plump up for whatever reason, and become the heaviest I ever was. I will save this story for a later date. But what I can say is as I shed pounds and fat from my body, people kept asking me what the secret I was using. After giving them a very long winded answer (cause anybody who knows me understands that brief is not a quality I possess), I was told numerous times that I should start a blog about working towards a healthier you.

Truth is folks, I can't be either one of those people. I have no interest in being a food blogger and fitness self-help guru I am not. I enjoyed blogging before because it was just the random things that came to my mind. I was fueled by the many people telling me how much they enjoyed reading it or appreciated my writing. The best is when I would catch people quoting it or telling me it brightened their day. But that was me just being funny and silly, not teaching or inspiring. How does that work hand in hand?

I discovered the answer from the most unlikely places. Freddie Prinze Jr. That's right OG readers of my misadventures. I took inspiration from one of the ten things I hated. Even more so, I have moved Freddie Prinze Jr from least liked list to most influenced list during my absence. While I could write for days about how this occurred, I am just gonna give you the back of the book description. The Prinze and The Wolf Blog has made me open my eyes to who I am as a person, and who I ultimately want to be. They taught me that when you have a voice and people want to listen to you, that is a very valuable thing. There are not many in this world who take the time to listen to others. But when they seek you out, always remember the responsibility that goes with that.

This got me thinking about all the many people who asked me why I don't blog anymore. Yes Joie, I was really listening. No David, I didn't forget about you. And yes Josh, you have always been one of my biggest fans. And to everyone else, you taught me that I can make my blog whatever I want it to be because I set the rules. The only responsibility I have is to you, and not abusing my platform.

And that is what brings me here today. For the past year, I have been on a mission to make my Facebook page the positive or uplifting outlet that it could and should be. Rather then focus on the negative or complaining about everything under the sun, I turned my posts into something that would make people smile and remind them that everything on social media isn't negative. I actually had people message me trying to figure out why I stopped posting as much or missing segments they looked forward to in their week. So why not have both? Why not bring back my blog, and have it be that positive thing that can influence people to do the same? Even at the least, if it made the difference in one persons day, then I accomplished my goal.

So let me know what you want to talk about. You want some food recipes? I got you. Want me to throw in some tips about the lifestyle changes that made a difference for me? Sure thing. Movie or TV reviews? Absolutely. Crazy stories about my life? I got that in spades. I want to make this blog whatever you the reader wants it to be. Because you're the ultimate reason I am here. Maybe it will brighten your day? Maybe it will spark a change in you like I got from Freddie Prinze Jr. Or maybe this is just something for you to kill time at work. Whatever you want this to be, tell me. And I will keep myself accountable to you. After all, with great writing comes great responsibility.

Yes, that was cheesy as hell. Did you really expect anything different? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Thank You For Being a Friend

I'm coming out of hiding.

Message received. I have been away from writing in here for far too long. It's been nine months since my last post, which you're right, is an epically long time. I had to brush cob webs off my computer, which means one of two things: its been awhile and  . . . I need to clean more. To those of you who have been asking, enticing, coercing, harassing, and threatening me to write another blog, this one goes out to you. Thank you for not giving up on the bag of crazy that is me.

Today marks this blogs third birthday. Before you get all suspicious and ask where the prank is, you can relax. I have chosen to take an April Fool's Day off this year. I know it's hard to believe. You're probably reading this right now and calling bullshit. (By the way, if you are one of those people, I tip my hat to you good sir. You're learning)

I don't know what to tell you. Something has changed within me. Something is not the same. Like quoting Wicked for example. Who does that? If that isn't enough proof for you that I am different, let me give you a list of things that have happened since I've been gone, to show you what I mean.

1.) I didn't celebrate St. Patty's this year. No party. No wearing green for a week. I didn't even drink.
2.) I went to my first wedding since I was nine and didn't have ANY alcohol . . . BY CHOICE
3.) I've started craving soy over ground beef.
4.) I go to bed before midnight and wake up before 8am.
5.) I've started eating pancakes, with butter, A LOT
Are you still waiting for me to say April Fool's? Ask Jason. He will be the first to tell you that all of those things are true. His eyes almost popped out of his head when I started smearing butter on a pancake. I believe his exact words were: "What kind of alien are you and what have you done with my husband?" Ours is a loving and supporting relationship.

Thirty-three has been a very odd year for me. I really dived head first into work and made it a commitment to get promoted within a year. With the work and effort I put in, I didn't really talk or see a lot of you. I know that is what happens as you get older, you tend to drift apart from those you care about. But I always thought that was just one of those sappy things people said in romantic comedies or a life lesson from a Saved By the Bell episode. I didn't actually think it happened.
(This is my new saying, by the way. Move over "Hug from Jesus" and "For the Love of Ray J")
This is just one of the many life lessons I have learned. You can hold on to friendships, but not expect them to stay the same. I am blessed with a lot of amazing friends (you're obviously one of them because this blog is linked to my Facebook that only my friends can see). And what I found is, I also have very understanding friends. They don't judge me for not calling or making plans with them cause they were probably just as busy as I was. They don't put the ball 100% in my court and tell themselves if I cared, I would be the one calling instead of them. They don't see me spending time with someone else and think they have been replaced. They don't get drawn into all that petty crap.
So in conclusion, I need to have my Golden Girls moment and thank you for being a friend. Thank you for being the understanding person that you are. Thank you for being supportive through my weird transformation. Thank you for allowing me to hurdle through my work obstacles and all the help and feedback you provided along the way. Thank you for tolerating my absence and knowing that is was nothing about you or my lack of caring.

And thank you for making me want to write again. I couldn't do this without you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Ten to One

Dear Diary,

I never thought this would happen to me . . . .

No, it hasn't been so long since I have blogged last that I forgot how to write. Today is a huge milestone in the world of me. I have done the unthinkable. I have concurred my own crazy. I have managed to stay in a committed relationship for 10 years.

I know. I am as shocked as you are.

I am not the kind of person you would call "relationship material." First I want to be cuddled up next to you, soaking up all of you that I can. Next I am ready for bed and God help you if any portion of your body touches me while I am trying to fall asleep. At one moment I want to go on a date, maybe to a fancy restaurant. Next I need to go home because using a public bathroom to "evacuate the dance floor" is not my idea of a good time. It's like I am that song Hot and Cold by Katy Perry . . . . on repeat . . . . for eternity. #BeingAGemini

Apparently the stars aligned, fate sprung its master plan, and I cashed in all my dumb luck coupons to meet someone who is just as crazy as I am. The best part is I didn't even want to date at first. Neither of us wanted something serious. And here we are, ten years later, happily driving each other crazy because that is what a relationship is. That is of course, unless you have only been together for a couple years.

You can spot a new couple a mile away, whether it be the visual clues they give you or the things that they say. Some people find it cute. Others find it nauseating. And for those of us who have evolved from that concept, we like to sit and laugh about how we use to be and deny that we were ever like that.

Don't know what I am referring to? Are you yourself in a new relationship? Let me give you some examples:

Year One: You come home to lit candles because your partner has made you a romantic dinner. These moments usually lead to some "brown chicken brown cow."

Year Ten: You come home to lit candles because your partner has "blown up" the bathroom from all that Thai food they had. Suddenly fornication is the farthest thing from your mind.

Year One: While eating dinner, you feed your partner because there is some part of you that finds it cute and adorable.

Year Ten: While eating dinner, you feed your partner because they broke both their arms and can't do it themselves.

Year One: You spot dirty dishes in the sink your partner forgot to do and think its time for a long sit down discussion about priorities and their investment in this relationship.

Year Ten: You spot dirty dishes in the sink your partner forgot to do and you breathe deeply, reminding yourself that they took out the garbage, put the kids to bed, changed the laundry, and whatever else that just doesn't make it worth the fight.

Year One: Your friends want to have a night out, and you decline because you would rather stay home with your partner.

Year Ten: Your friends want to have a night out, and you flock to this like the salmon of San Juan Capistrano.

Year One: Your fights are usually silly fights that drag on for years to follow like: What do you mean you watched Game of Thrones without me? or YOU ATE MY LAST OREO?!?!?!?!

Year Ten: Your fights are usually silly fights that drag on for hours like: What do you mean you don't remember where you put the remote? or YES HUH KEVIN BACON WAS IN FOOTLOOSE!!!!!!!!

Year One: When out with other couples, you don't mind showing public displays of affection and tell yourself that you will never be like "that couple" who refuses to do that sort of thing, and you wonder how many years they have been together.

Year Ten: When out with other couples, you may throw out one or two public displays of affection, but they are always timed correctly, because you don't want to be "that couple" that everyone is staring at and wondering how many months they have been together.

Year One: You celebrate things like: your first kiss, first date and first time we had sex (sometimes all in the same night)

Year Ten: You celebrate things like: got to level 410 on Candy Crush, lost 20 lbs., and took the biggest shidoobie of your life (sometimes all in the same night)

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with Year One couples. The people who tease you about it have all been there before, and the malicious ones are really just being envious. And to all my friends that are reaching their relationship decade or who passed it years ago, their is one thing we have over Year One couples:

Year One: When you get those moments to look at your relationship in your mind, you feel like you have forever and sometimes that feels overwhelming and scary. Sure you may have dated a long time, but there is a lot of not knowing because you haven't been through a lot together.

Year Ten: When you get those moments to look at your relationship in your mind, you feel like you don't have nearly enough time and that thought regularly terrifies you and makes you sad. Fortunately, The trust has grown exponentially because of all the things you have been through (illnesses, family death, buying a house, huge fights, huge make-ups). And when those terrifying moments come, you simply drift your hand across the bed and touch that person you can't see yourself living without, because it may be sad losing that person, but it's always comforting knowing that they are there.

. . . . . unless of course I'm trying to sleep, then all hell breaks loose.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thems the Breaks

I've never been a big fan of Valentine's Day. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, the concept of taking one day to tell someone that you love them seems kind of lame and rather pointless. Whatever happened to taking those random moments to show someone you care? Do we honestly need a holiday for it? Plus, Cupid has to be one of the lamest holiday mascots I've ever heard of. That's right Easter Bunny. You have one up on a winged baby looking thing that shoots heart tipped arrows at people. So take your big pink, egg hiding, booty and get down with your bad self. No Aquaman status for you.

While Jason and I don't subscribe to the Valentine's Day is For Losers Club, we still don't fully invest our time into lavishing the other with gifts every February 14th. We will surprise each other here and there with cute gifts to make the other smile, which is actually no different then any other time of the year. We are big believers in the: "I saw this and thought of you" or "I just wanted to come by and tell you I love you." Which is how our story begins.

The day was February 15th, this past Saturday. I was stuck working all weekend so my boss could have a romantic weekend he had been well over due for. Since Jason and I had no major plans for the weekend, I decided spending it earning a pay check was not the end of the world. After an epic failure of an attempt to get Jason something nice for his office on Friday, I was not in the best of moods. To cheer me up, he had left the party he was at so he could stop by and surprise me. One of those moments just to show me that he missed me. Having already had a stressful morning (our printer decided it hated me and proceeded to crash) I welcomed the visit. And . . . he brought me a green tea from Starbucks, or as I call it, that magical liquid that helps stop me from becoming The Hulk.

As it turns out, my good friend Kathy, had also decided to come visit me at the exact same time. This is one of the things I love about Kathy. We share the same birthday, and thus by that logic, almost share the same brain. Call it one of those twin things. We are Gemini's after all. As Kathy's Topher-sense (much like spidey-sense but way better) led her to me, it was like the fates had known what was about to occur.

Boston, Kathy's son, had begun doing the pee-pee dance that all kids instinctively know. My work is equipped with many things, but public bathroom is not one of them. Being the super gentlemen that he is, Jason offered to take Boston to Ono Hawaiian BBQ next door so he could "potty." This may seem like pointless information, but like any good narrator, I am painting a picture. As Kathy exited my store, purchase in hand, she watched Boston and Jason return from the bathroom.

(The following is a compilation of descriptions from all parties involved because I was inside working. This may be over dramatized, but I am not at liberty to say what is fact or an exaggeration.)

As Jason stepped onto the curb, Venti Iced Latte in hand, something grabbed a hold of his foot. It was like the earths gravitational pull had shifted into that spot, and would not allow Jason to dislodge his foot. By not being able to release said foot, his body was propelled forward by the sheer brisk pass he had previously been walking.

Kathy watched in horror as Jason's body lurched forward. His feet went up into the air as his body angled toward the sidewalk, face first. He looked like one of those cartoon characters when they slip and fall. His latte shot from his hand, exploding onto the concrete in a flood of milk and espresso, barely missing her and her two kids.

As Jason went sprawling toward the ground, he had only one thought: protect your face. Throwing his hands out in front of him, he slammed onto the concrete with tremendous force (from his brisk walking speed). Kathy watched as Jason's body laid spread out on the sidewalk, motionless and unmoving. River and Boston (her kids) cried out for him, afraid that he had met his untimely demise on the cement beneath them.

Jason began to pick himself up, and had managed to save his face, or as he calls it, his "money maker," from being smashed in. What he did not save, however, were his two wrists that he had thrown in front of him for protection.

For those of you who don't know this, Jason is severely accident prone. In the 9 years we have been together, he has:
1.) Fallen off a bar stool while trying to put up fake cobwebs for a Halloween party and "broke his ass"
2.) Dislocated his shoulder from standing on a toilet seat while trying to remove Orlando Bloom from the wall.
3.) Had his knee "fall out" from walking around Comic Con for 4 days.
4.) Dislocated and fracture his wrist from Wonder Woman falling on top of him for a group Halloween photo.

While Jason stood up, Kathy noticed the "not pleasant angle" his left wrist was portraying. Having just healed from its run in with Wonder Woman 4 months earlier, it seemed that the Great Fall of 2014 (this is what I am labeling this incident as), had made it even worse.

Worried for his life, it is Jason after all, Kathy ushered him into her Rav and raced him to the emergency room down the street. One crazy emergency room lobby, one asshole doctor who proceeded to shake Jason's wrist to determine "how injured he was," a painful round of X-Rays, and five hours later, it was determined that he had multiple fractures in both wrists and a dislocated wrist to boot.

I got home to a miserable Jason with two arms wrapped in splints.  Over the weekend, I nursed him as much as I could, and with the help of Kathy (who apparently felt guilty for Jason being hurt over taking Boston to the bathroom) we got Jason in to Orthopedics where it was determined that he will need to surgically have metal plates put in both arms. Translation, Jason can beat himself up better then Wonder Woman could.

As you reflect on your Valentine's Day, and think of what it means to you, I ask you to ponder one thing. Corinthians 13 will tell you that love is patient, kind, not jealous, and a whole mess of other crap. I know. People use it in their wedding ceremonies all the freaking time. But you wanna know what I think love is? Love is feeding your partner, because they can't lift their arms, as you watch your own food get cold. Love is getting up several times during the night to help your partner go to the bathroom, because they can't get their pants off or wipe themselves without your help. Love is stopping what you are doing to itch your partners head, help them blow their nose, or making them a water bottle necklace so they have something to drink because they can't do it themselves.

I won't lie to you. It is frustrating as hell. But these are things you accept when dating a klutz. And I do it, because there is no one else on this earth I love more.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Operation: Christmas Surprise

If you've read this blog before, you're aware that I'm not a fan of Christmas. People look at me weird every time I tell them this. It's very similar to the face I get when I tell people that I still own a VCR. Another thing that I'm not a fan of is surprises, mostly because it's usually a lot of work, and the person is so rarely surprised.

I personally, am a very hard person to surprise. This year, when my friend Lesley made me a "My Adventure Book" from Up for my birthday (Operation: Wet Mess), she told less than 5 people,  in fear that I would pick up some type of clue as to what her gift could possibly be.

So with that...welcome to my personal hell. Operation: Christmas Surprise, where I attempt to surprise my partner of 9 1/2 years. Trying to actually surprise Jason for Christmas is much like Snakes on a Plane, Sharknado, Kanye and Kim, or any other unholy collaboration that comes together under one banner of terror.

I hate trying to surprise Jason. And by hate, I mean loathe to my last agonizing breath.
If you don't believe me, just try surprising Jason sometime. Go on. I dare you. I double dog dare you. And trust me, you will be more frustrated then poor Flick trying dislodge his tongue from that frozen pole.

In order to surprise Jason, you have to become the M. Night Shama-llama-ding-dong of Christmas gift givers. And I'm not talking about M. Night from The Village where everybody saw that ending coming. I'm talking Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis's wife dropping that ring and you feel your soul do a back flip because you have just been bamboozled. You have to come with your A game, and have at least three back up plans if you want to surprise Jay.

If you asked Jay, he would like to say it's because he is so intelligent and observant that he can figure out any type of masterminded attempt to trick or outwit him. But no. It's hard to trick Jason because he is the biggest pain in the ass that you have ever met. And before you go trying to defend him, allow me to share with you a story:

This year for Jason's birthday, he wanted the game Munchkin Zombies. His brother Wayne approached me, and asked if I wanted to go halves on the entire Zombie set. Thinking I was in the clear of any type of paper trail for Jason to "magically" follow, I agreed. Two weeks later, Jay and I went to visit some friends in Temecula. On the way, Jason asked if I would stop at a gaming store so he could "check on some things."
Jason is not very good at following the golden rule of presents. I violated this rule back in the late 90's and Lesley has been reminding me of it ever since (thank you Zebrahead album). For those of you who are unfamiliar with the golden rule of presents, allow me to enlighten you: You are not allowed to buy yourself anything a month before your birthday and Christmas, because there is a large chance that you will be ruining someones gift to you.

Knowing that Jason sucks at this, here is how the conversation went:

Topher: "Ok. But remember that your birthday is coming up and people may have got you something from there."

Jason: "Nobody I know would buy me anything from a gaming store."

Topher: (getting irritated that he is not sensing the tone) "That's not true. There's Brian, Troy, Greg . . . Me.

Jason: "No. Nobody knows I want this. They wouldn't have bought me anything like this."

Upon entering the store, where does he go? Right to the Munchkin section of course, and picks up Munchkin Zombies.

Trying to stay calm I tell him:

Topher: "Honey. I think you should wait until after your birthday to buy that just in case. Besides, we shouldn't spend money right now."

Jason: (sigh of frustration) "Fine."

Topher: "Why are you getting mad at me?"

Jason: "Well it's my birthday. And I want to spend my money the way I want to. But of course no, I can't do the things I want to. It's fine. Whatever. Lets just go."

Topher: "I am just trying to be helpful. I am sure someone really thoughtful got that for you."

Jason: "Oh yeah? Who would even think to get me this?"


(Every nerd in the store turns to look at the two fags in the Munchkin section)

Jason: (Pause) "That was very thoughtful of you honey." (Long pause) "So can I buy Munchkin Bites then?"

And that is just one of many fun stories I have about Jason being difficult to surprise. What you're about to read is the behind the scenes scoop for today's story, and what I went through to get Jason his Christmas gift.

June 13th, 2013 - I walked into work and found two giant signs: XBOX ONE and PS4, pre-order today! Jason and I had discussed that we would be buying an XBOX ONE for ourselves for Christmas. He agreed that he would wait until after his birthday to buy the PS4 since we could only afford one system this Christmas. I agreed, and then started phase one of my plan. The beauty of pre-orders at GameStop (for those of you who don't know) is that you can put down money little by little, and that way, you have your item paid in full by pick up.

I didn't tell Jason, but I had saved $100 so I could put a $50 deposit down on both systems. Low and behold, GameStop had screwed me over and raised the minimum deposit on the new systems to $100. Which sadly meant one thing: I only had enough money for one. Knowing Jason was planning for the XBOX One, and having read Gift of the Magi, the last thing I wanted to do was lie and put the money on the PS4. So I put my deposit down on what we had agreed, and started brainstorming of how I could get myself a PS4.

Enter my little Sri Lankan Angel, Jehan. Right before Comic Con, we were sharing a conversation about the new systems. Jehan had put a deposit down on a PS4, but was having second thoughts about paying that much money for one. Getting struck with brilliance, I told him if he changed his mind I would buy his pre-order off of him. Two weeks later, I got the confirmation that he was not going to be getting his PS4 and that I could have his pre-order. In exchange for his PS4, I paid off some of his other games, and then kept the PS4 under his name so Jason wouldn't pull up our account and see it there.

For the next few months, I never said a thing about buying him a present. It was like it didn't even happen. Behind his back, everyone of his gaming friends knew he was getting a PS4. And by gaming friends, I mean his friends we game with on our Xbox 360 or PS3, not his D&D friends. I purposefully didn't say anything to them because they constantly tell people how consoles are terrible and destroying the world. PC gamers. The hipsters of the VG World. 

Even my co-workers knew. I swore every member of my staff to secrecy. I informed them that if any of them so much as breathed a word about the PS4 in front of Jason, I would have their head. Apparently I am very convincing.

At home, I repeatedly talked trash on the PS4, just to throw Jason off the scent. At work, I started pulling longer shifts and working overtime, just to help pay off his PS4 without him noticing. Every now and again, he would ask me to pay for things, and I told him I was on a tight budget. This worked, because I had an XBOX One and several pre-ordered games to pay off as well. He even started making shitty comments too!

Like when I told him to be nice or I was going to give his Christmas present back. He replied with: "Oh no. I guess I won't be getting more T-shirts and underwear this year." After that comment, I had half the mind to wrap all the parts of his gift in T-shirts and underwear.

At the PS4 midnight launch, we got in 12 extra PS4s. You should have seen the look on Jason's face. He was so butt-hurt that he couldn't afford to buy himself one, but he kept talking himself out of it. His mantra for the next few weeks was "I can wait until after my birthday." Little did he know that I picked up his system the next day (I had to wait until he wasn't with me) and it sat in his mother's closet for over a month because I didn't want to hide it at our house.

The following week I got a phone call from his mother, asking if I could get her a PS4 because that is what Jason told her he wanted for Christmas. Normally I would be pissed that he went behind my back and told his mother to get him something that we'd already planned to get. But it didn't matter. He clearly didn't know that I'd gotten it. Plus, the PS4 was sold out everywhere. What a great, and TRUE excuse. The chances of someone else ruining my gift suddenly became nonexistent.

Occasionally, I would throw out phrases like: "I'm sorry I couldn't afford to get you a PS4 for Christmas" or "Hey, we're at Target. Ask them if they have PS4s. I am willing to go in for half of it with you."

Six months, eleven days, and two hours of: planning, lying, plotting, omitting, and misdirecting finally paid off.
I decided to let Jason open his PS4 on Christmas Eve. Originally I wanted to just have it set up in the bedroom and wait to see how long it took for him to realize it was there. Lesley suggested that I have him open it on Christmas Eve. "He won't be expecting his big gift the day before Christmas and then he gets to wake up and enjoy all of Christmas day, knowing he got exactly what he wanted."

You know, I have to admit, Lesley really is a super genius

(Picture of Jason opening his PS4, Elite Pulse Headset, Killzone 4, Knack, Need For Speed: Rivals and extra Controller on Christmas Eve)

***Note*** I made him read this blog immediately after opening his gift, just so he would know the hell I went through to get here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lies My Parents Told Me

Every time I sneeze, I fight the urge to close my eyes. Odd right? When I was younger, I was told that if you sneeze with your eyes open, they'll fall out. While I assume most children would be horrified by this idea, I was rather fascinated by it. Over the course of my life I have tried to to prove this theory false. Even at 32, I am still trying to stop my eyes from involuntarily shutting during a sneeze. Could you imagine the looks people would give you if you sneezed your eyeball out of its socket?
I blame my parents for this behavior. Much like all parents, my mother and father told me the dumbest things when I was a child. Part of me wonders if it was a tool they used to deal with such an ostentatious child. In reality, my parents are assholes just like me, always seeing what outlandish idea they can make people believe. So for all you gulla-bulls out there that I have tricked before, you can blame Doug and Virgina Huckaby. And if you are want to give them a piece of your mind, their email address is I'm sure they would love to hear about the terror they created.

Not every lie my parents told me were believable. How could Santa always be watching? There was no documented evidence that supported this. Too much television was apparently not bad for my eyes. They just got tired of watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. (On a side note: Anybody ever notice how incredibly homoerotic that show is? Seriously. He "held aloft" his "magic sword"? Who says stuff like that? And I know it's not just me. I even had this conversation with my friend Kathy. I challenge you to turn on your Netflix, find He-Man, and watch one episode. You can even choose which one. Let me know how that turns out for you)

Being the inquisitive child that I was, I started conducting my own experiments to see if there was any truth to these loads of BS my parents would tell me. For example:

1.) Refrigerator Man- I use to keep the refrigerator door open all the time. My mother told me once that there was a little man that lived in our refrigerator that gets mad when we leave the door open. To which I responded, "Wouldn't he get mad at us for locking him in there?" I did go looking for said man, once. I don't know if it was more out of curiosity or fear that he would eat my Snicker Eggs. After three long hours, and one broken refrigerator, it turns out that there was no little man in the refridgerator afterall.
2.) The Pee Shower- I must admit, no child wants to be urinated on. I don't know if that is true for all adults, but that is an entirely other subject that I wish not to get into at this time. For myself, the idea of being covered in urine does not sound appealing. However, there was one time in my life I was willing to sacrifice my comfort in the name of science. I was 8 years old, and my mother told me that if I pee in the shower, it will come right back out of the shower head. After long hours of telling myself she was wrong, I tested it. Turns out she was wrong. Which I have to say, it was a good thing, because had she been right, I would have had a mouthful of pee. No good can come from that.
3.) It's Chicken- I asked a lot of questions as a child. Particularly about food cooked by my Cajun relatives. Whenever I was about to eat something and knew nothing about it, I would ask my father what it was. His go to answer, "It's Chicken." While I admit to believing him the first few times, I did catch on pretty quick. Chicken never changed color, texture, or flavor. It was only until later in life that I learned exactly what I had consumed. I am here to tell you that: Raccoon, Squirrel, Coyote, Alligator and Snake do not taste like Chicken.
4.) It will stay that way- Your parents ever tell you if you make a face or cross your eyes for too long it will stay that way? Mine did. I think they just wanted me to stop making faces at people in public. It didn't really help. I tried to get my eyes to stay crossed for the longest time. I thought it would be hilarious.

I will admit, there were some lies that I should have known where not true. Like what kind of logic is there to the crust of the bread has all the vitamins?  And yes I was a little naive to think I was going to grow a watermelon inside me because I ate the seeds. The Tooth Fairy has to be my favorite lie I should have seen through. When you get $5 from the Tooth Fairy, and your friend gets 50 cents, that should be your first sign. Or when your parents tell you the Tooth Fairy was quote "too tired and left your money on the kitchen table," that's just a poor work ethic, and she would loose her job.

I do have to hand it to my parents. They did feed me a lot of bullshit over the years. And some of it I believed all the way up to my 30's. That's right. Even I can be fooled every now and again.

For my final thought, I would like to direct this to my friends with children. Be careful about the things you tell your children. Hopefully you have a child that is forgiving or even a child that will pass on these lies to their children like some type of honored tradition. But pray you don't have any children like me, for I am plotting my moment for when the tables will turn and I get to show my parents just what type of trickster they have raised.