To the Point of Tears

“Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville…”  That song has been popping into my head off and on for days now. It’s not a broken heart problem, and I can’t have a Margarita, but I’ve got the “wastin’ away” part down pretty good.

Last night I was watching Survivor and noticed how skinny the contestants are lately. I’ve been dropping weight for months. First, I lost a few pounds before having to go gluten-free, then lost more afterwards, and I’ve lost one more in the past couple of weeks after having to make some other temporary dietary changes in an effort to deal with a temporary situation. When I saw the contestants’ bones sticking out, I thought that at least I’m not that skinny.

Later in the evening I checked my back with a mirror. Uh, oh. My spine and my shoulder blades are becoming prominent. So are muscles, not because I’m so strong, but because there is no fat to go between the muscles and the skin and the bones. I decided I look like the Survivor contestants looked last week. It’s kind of scary to see that and think of how my blood pressure has also dropped. I need to look up normal blood pressure for a 12-year-old. That’s probably what mine is right now.

Last week is when this really started to bother me. I was in the grocery store in the produce section, of course, piling veggies into my buggy. I felt like someone was staring at me. I glanced over in the direction of an elderly lady who appeared to be concerned. I imagined that she was thinking, “Why is that woman so skinny? It’s not nice to stare. Is that all she eats? I shouldn’t be staring. What is wrong with her? OK…quit looking at her.”  I’ve never had anyone do that and it really made me feel self-conscious.

I’ve already gone out and bought smaller jeans and slacks. My others were about to slide off. I thought I’d be Grandma with her pants on the ground on the  grocery store parking lot if I didn’t do something. So, I went one size smaller. That was about a month ago and now those jeans are too big.

The day I bought the jeans I also tried on a pair of slacks. I told my friend if I gain one pound these pants won’t fit, so I didn’t get them. I’ve lost a few pounds since that day, so I went back to the store and the pants were still there. I got them. They are a bit loose on me now, but I got them. A friend told me that her mom, who is gluten-intolerant, went from a size 6 to a 0, then up to a size 2. If I come in at a 2 when the dust settles here, I’ll be happy. The pants I just bought may not fit any more, but that will be fine with me.

This morning I was telling my husband my observations about how I stack up against the Survivor contestants’ skin and bones and I started crying a bit. He was surprised by that. It’s not something that I do very often. I don’t think he’ll tell me I look like a starving person in a third-world country any more. He did ask why I’m losing weight and he’s not and he eats pretty much the same things I do. I told him, “Beer and pretzels.” Plus, other things he can eat that I can’t like bread and cheese, but I had to pick at him a little bit.

I have to say, because I’m trying really hard to be thankful always, that we are both glad I feel good. I have lots of energy and it lasts all the way through the day and on into the evening. It’s so nice not to be dragging a protesting body through life any more. I reckon I’ll get used to being skinny. When I was 12, I was this size and my friends called me “Twiggy.” I guess I’ll be thankful and start thinking groovy thoughts and all will be well.

ADDENDUM, April 27, 2012: If you are considering going gluten-free as a weight loss plan, I wouldn’t recommend it. My weight loss started before I came off gluten. My nurse practitioner said what is happening with my body getting skinny is a result of the changes to the body caused from intolerance. I eat like a Hobbit. (That means I stop often to eat a small meal no matter what I’m doing.) It’s not caused from my diet.

When a person quits eating gluten, it’s not a matter of just buying processed gluten-free products to take the place of processed foods that have gluten in them. After all, Coco Puffs are gluten-free. Fresh and frozen foods are the best bet to get the most nutrition from what you eat. Getting proper nutrition can help with weight loss. So, as they say, shop the perimeter of the store and go to the middle for dried beans and grains.

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The Experience That Reminded One of My Sons of an Episode of Seinfeld

The following is a slightly edited version of what I wrote to one of my sons on Google+:

We came out of church Sunday to see a puddle under our truck. It was gas. We stopped at O’Reilly’s to get something to patch or plug it with until we could get it to Our Usual Place on Monday.

The leak was on the front tank which we don’t use because the pump doesn’t work, and/or the float doesn’t work. It was also up under the shield that is on the tank, so your dad couldn’t get to it to fix it. So, we had this drip, drip, drip going on and it was Sunday and Our Usual Place was closed.

We called Sears and Wal Mart. Neither of them mess with gas tanks. We called the gas station where your dad used to gas up trucks (after Hurricane Rita damaged the other place they went to for gas) but they are closed on Sunday. (They have also inspected our truck and done a couple of small repairs for us – windshield wiper motor and horn replacement.)

So then, we – your daddy, your younger brother and I – ran around here like crazy people trying to figure out what to do with all this gas. We couldn’t just let it sit out there and drip all night. They were gathering up buckets to siphon it out into while I was trying to find a way to avoid doing that. What would we do with 12-13 gallons of bad gas? It had been sitting in the tank since at least 2006, so it was too old to be any good.

It finally dawned on me that we could put a small container under it to catch the drips. I had saved a couple of empty dishwasher soap pellet containers from church, so we used one of those. We were letting it drip, but as least it wasn’t dripping on the ground.

Monday morning, your dad called Our Usual Place to tell them what was going on and that we needed the tank drained. He told the man who answered the phone his name, but this guy didn’t know him. The man he was talking to asked someone else about draining our tank, then came back to the phone and said they didn’t have the equipment to drain a tank safely and they couldn’t do it. What?! That made no sense to me because they said they could fix it before when it was just the pump or whatever and they could drain it back then.

So, here we were again not knowing what to do. I got the not so brilliant idea to call the fire department and your daddy was so desperate, he did it. So, here come firemen in the big truck to our house. All we wanted to know was who could do this. Oh, boy. So, I figured they were going to condemn our truck to the driveway until it’s not dripping gas.

While they were on the way, I called the gas station again, since it was Monday. They said they could do that, no problem! So, I went outside and told this to your daddy and the three firemen who were all looking underneath our truck when I came around the corner of the house.

They said they had some stuff to patch it but the leak isn’t accessible. We told them that we had the same problem. We discussed how I just found a place to fix it, and no, it hasn’t dripped more than that inch or so into the container since the middle of yesterday afternoon, and that it would probably be safe to drive it just to the gas station, and how your daddy wouldn’t even drive it a few blocks to visit his dad the day before because he was afraid to drive around a truck with a leaking gas tank, and how I’m like a Safety Officer because I’m a mom and I was always warning y’all about explosives and poison. So, they let us drive it to the gas station.

We borrowed Pawpaw and Granny’s car so we could get back home and took the truck to the gas station. (Thankfully, the one day your dad went in to work late this week was on Monday!) After a while, the gas station called. Your daddy answered the phone and talked to the man. Then he came in the kitchen and told me the gas station couldn’t do it because it would cost too much for the disposal. What?! What do people do with old gas?

Your daddy said since they wouldn’t do it, he guessed he would have to siphon out all that gas into buckets. I said, “And then what are we going to do with 12 or 13 gallons of gas? And the fire department knows we have a leaky gas tank and they have our phone number and address and everything and if they check up on us and we didn’t do this right, you’ll have the EPA and everybody after you!” (Notice how I went from “us” to “you”?)

Then it hit me! Call Our Usual Place and see if Our Usual Man is there and ask him what he would do! So I did, and he answered the phone. I said, “I am SO glad you answered the phone!” He didn’t quite know what to say because that was the first thing I said to him and he didn’t know who he was talking to or why. And I was, and sounded, mighty desperate.

I told him we have a leaking gas tank. It’s the front tank and we don’t use it and we can’t find a place to drain it. We took it to the gas station and they said they could, but now they said they can’t because it’s too expensive to dispose of the old gas. What would you do? We’ve even called the fire department and they don’t know what to do! We can’t drive around town with a gas leak! What would you do? We called y’all and y’all couldn’t do it and we have to do something and we don’t know what to do! What would you do if you had this problem?” I was about to cry. He hadn’t said a word.

Then, he said, “You called us?” I said, “Yes! You were our first choice! But y’all said you couldn’t do it and we don’t know where to take it or what to do. What would you do?” He cheerfully offered to put a new gas tank on the truck. (Yeah. They don’t have the equipment…sure. That’s what your daddy thought. They didn’t want to do a small job and didn’t know it was us who have been going to them for a gazillion years. I think they might have done it if we had just driven up to the place and asked. But I’m glad to know what we learned, so that’s OK.) I asked how much would a new tank cost? He said he could make some phone calls and find out and call me back. I told him two or three times that he couldn’t just put the old gas back in, it would have to be disposed of some way. He never said a word about that.

I told your daddy the man was checking on putting a new gas tank on it, and he said that would cost a thousand dollars! I said that I didn’t know what else to do. Then I said, “I know! I’ll call the gas station since the truck is already over there and compare the price for a new gas tank!”

I called the gas station and the man said he didn’t even know if he could get a tank for that truck any more. He also said he thought we didn’t want to use the tank anyway. I told him we didn’t want to, but no one could just drain it. He said he could drain it. He was just telling your dad that it’s expensive to dispose of the old gas, so that would add to the cost of the job. I told him I would expect that! So, he told me it would be $75.00 labor and $4-$5 a gallon for disposal. I told him that would be great, go for it.

Then I made my last call ever to Our Former Usual Place and told them the gas station could drain it; your daddy and the man on the phone just mis-communicated about the disposal. This mix-up saved me the phone call I was going to make. I was going to call and ask why they couldn’t drain it when they could have fixed it a few years ago and it would have involved draining it. It didn’t take long and the gas station had it fixed and now has a new customer.

So, how was your Monday morning?