The Cranberry Battle

The offending item was dried cranberries. They were expensive, disgusting, and I was NOT going to bring them home with us.

My husband Andy and I have a game we occasionally play at the grocery store (because maturity is overrated). If Andy puts something in the cart that I don’t want, I try to sneak it out without him noticing (and vice versa). You might think, “Wow, how lame. That would be easy.” If you’re thinking that, you’ve clearly never played this game with Andy.

He knew I didn’t want the cranberries (first mistake on my part). He put them in the cart anyway. Game on.

It wasn’t two aisles later that he stopped, looked in the cart, and immediately started a frantic search. He found them by the peanut butter. “Nice try,” he said, “but you’re going down this time.”

I waited about ten minutes, and then I asked him to go get a can of corn that I forgot to pick up. While he was gone, I disposed of the cranberry bag. When he got back – you won’t believe this – he was carrying another bag of cranberries! He said, “I got the corn. Oh, and I picked up another bag of cranberries since I bet you just hid mine.” He looked in the cart and then let out a triumphant, “HA! GOT YOU! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” People started looking at us weird.

A few minutes later, I successfully hid the new bag. We were on our way to check-out. I thought I might win…then he stopped us by a display of Jewish food for the Passover meal. “Wait a second,” he said suspiciously. “Let me check something.” Blast.

“Where are the cranberries?!” he asked.

I had hidden them long ago at that point, so they could have been anywhere. I threw my head back and let out a loud, “MUAHAHAHAHAHA!” Now people were really looking at us weird.

“Fine,” he said. He looked around. “Hey, we forgot to get matzo crackers for our Passover meal, didn’t we?” He grabbed a giant box of matzo crackers and added it to our groceries. It took up literally half of our cart. “And we should make sure we have enough,” he added. He put another box on top of that one.”

“What are you doing?!” I grabbed the box. “We’re not even Jewish.”

“We need more crackers!” he said. He put two more boxes on. The pile of cracker boxes was almost as tall as he could reach. “Tell me where the cranberries are, and I’ll stop adding crackers.” He grabbed another box.

“Okay, okay!” I surrendered. “The cranberries are in frozen foods. I forgot exactly where.” He immediately ran to frozen foods, like someone was going to see them and take his precious cranberries. I started putting matzo crackers back.

We finally got to the check out, and all of the items (including the cranberries) made it onto the belt. Andy got a text, and when he pulled out his phone I realized that this was it: my last chance. My buzzer shot. Now or never. I swiped the cranberries off the belt and put them by the magazine rack. The store was busy, and the people in line on both sides of the aisle must have thought I was nuts. He put his phone away. I smiled sweetly.

As Andy was bagging the groceries at the end of the aisle, he suddenly said, “Whoa…wait wait wait…where are the cranberries?!”

“I’m sure they’re in there,” I said. “Keep bagging. It’s busy in here.”

The Meijer employee spoke up. “Um…I don’t remember ringing up cranberries.”

Shoot. “I’m sure you did,” I said. “Seriously, you’re fine. Just keep ringing.”

“I’m not sure…” he said. “Well, maybe I did. I ring up a lot of stuff. I could have subconsciously rang them up and not noticed.”

“I’m sure that’s it.” I said.

“Hey! Who’s side are you on?!” screeched Andy to the teller. “Where are my cranberries!?” Andy was laughing, but the worker looked freaked out. He put his hands up in defense. “Hey, I’m totally biased here. Not on anyone’s side, I promise. I don’t know about the cranberries, I swear.”

(I ignored the fact that “biased” was not the correct word to use there). I felt bad for the guy, so finally I said, “Okay fine. I’ll get the cranberries.” But, astonishingly, in the two minutes of this exchange, someone grabbed the cranberries from where I left them by the magazines. I’m not kidding. There were a lot of people in there, so it could have been anyone. I started laughing. “They’re gone.” I said. “Seriously, I left them right there. I promise. They’re gone.” Swish! Buzzer shot was IN!

Andy laughed and threw his hands up in a “why me?” gesture. “FINE! I can’t believe you did that!” The awkward teller looked at us, thoroughly confused.

“So…should I keep ringing, or… um…are we still concerned about the cranberries?”

“Nah, you’re good man,” said Andy. “She won.” The confused teller finished ringing up our groceries.

SSUUCCCCCEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

A few days later, I bought the bag of cranberries and left it in the front seat of Andy’s car with a little heart taped to it. I bet they tasted pretty good, but there’s no way they tasted as good as my victory.

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Are You “Fiercely Committed” to Your Recovery?

I like to read the “about the author” portions on online articles. An article I just read on bphope.com described the author as fiercely committed to his bipolar disorder recovery.

This made me wonder – am I “fiercely committed” to my recovery? Are you? If I wrote honestly, my about the author section would read more like this:

“She is recovering, but she frequently sulks about the challenges.”

“She’s doing what she has to in order to recover, but this is super annoying.”

“She takes her pills, but she glares at her pill bottle often as if this whole thing is the bottle’s fault.”

“She’s recovering. Mostly. Whatever.”

“She knows the healthy choices she should make, and she makes them often enough to not go into a full episode (but fudges the rules if she can get away with it)”

“She’s doing what her doctor says, but would prefer to pretend she’s perfectly healthy whenever possible.”

Fiercely committed would look a little different. Case in point: I might be offered a summer internship where the hours could be super weird. My husband said, “Um, that’s a problem…you know an interruption in sleep patterns can trigger episodes.” I immediately said, “No way, I’m fine. I’ll be fine.” *odd look from my husband* “Totally fine. Seriously. I’ve got this.”

Which, who knows? Maybe I would be fine. But does “fiercely committed” go into situations that are clearly hazardous to someone with my condition?

I’ve read numerous articles about the fact that a healthy diet and exercise regimen is essential to mental health for everyone, but especially to those of us with a mental illness.

Here’s the thing: running hurts, and eating cookies doesn’t. Pizza is yummy, and celery isn’t. I would rather sit and read than go “feel the burn” and sweat. Sweating is yucky.

But is any of that fiercely committed? It’s more “let me do the bare minimum to stay mostly stable.” Which, I guess is better than nothing, but…it’s only okay. I shouldn’t settle for only okay.

What have you done to be fiercely committed to your recovery? What inspires you? Because I would need some pretty major inspiration to give up pizza and go running in the snow. Also to turn down that internship (which I am so not going to do if I get it. I’ll be fine. Really).

Looks like I’m not fiercely committed. Hm.

 

Barnes and Noble Hide and Seek

“Hey, wanna play hide and seek?” is an odd question to ask a random adult in Barnes and Noble, but that didn’t stop four-year-old Olivia.

I was sitting there, reading books with my husband, when this Olivia kid came and sat next to me. She had bobbed brown hair and huge blue eyes. She wanted to know about my book, so I told her about it. Then I asked her about her book. Then, well…let me break it down for you:

Olivia: I love reading so much.

Hazel: Good! Reading is really good for you.

O: I can’t actually read, obviously. I look at lots of pictures. Wait! I can read some words. I can read “sam” and “top” and “tip.”

H: Wow, that’s great!

*we awkwardly both go back to reading for about three seconds*

O: Hey, do you wanna play hide and seek?

H: Ummm…we’re in a Barnes and Noble. You can’t play hide and seek in a Barnes and Noble.

O: Sure you can! You could hide behind that column, you could hide behind the trash can, you could hide under that chair…

H: Right, okay, yes. I understand that you CAN play hide and seek here, but it’s just that…ummm…people don’t.

O: We could.

H: Right. Uh….well…

At this point I looked at my husband, and he looked back at me like, “Are you seriously going to turn down little four-year-old Olivia?” I looked around for this kid’s parents, and I saw a haggard lady who looked like her grandma. She gave me a quasi-apologetic look that seemed to say, “Sorry…but at least she’s not bugging me for five minutes.”

So I played hide and seek with the kid.

I’m not joking.

She hid first (behind a display of stuffed animals), and then it was my turn. I asked how high she was going to count, and she said, “I can count all the way to TWENTY!” Whoa. Dream big. I’ll have time to hide in Madagascar with that kind of head start. I hid behind a case of books, but she said my coat gave me away.

Then it was her turn to hide. I said I would count again, but she turned to my husband and said, “I want HIM to count!” Picky picky. Andy asked how high he should count, and she said twenty. He looked sad and said, “But what if I’m not as smart as you? What if I can’t count to twenty?” Olivia channeled some major teenage sass, put her hand on her hip and said, “Seeeeriously?” in a way that clearly meant, “I know you can count to twenty. This is a very serious game of BN hide and seek. We don’t mess around.”

He backed off and said okay, that he would count to twenty. Then he did, but only after pretending not to know which number came next a couple of times. And then I couldn’t find her! Seriously! I was thinking, “Oh crap. I lost a kid. I lost a kid. This is very bad.” Finally I looked at the old grandma lady. She pointed under a low kids’ table, and I found Olivia there. Phewf!

After that, it was (thankfully) time for Andy and I to meet our friends for dinner. We laughed so hard all the way out of the store. I’m sure I looked like a total idiot, but I don’t care.  I think life is a little too serious sometimes; it is probably good to get dragged into an involuntary game once in a while.

Andy’s Sick, but We’re Buying Dinosaurs

My husband Andy is sick. He came home from work today and said he was feeling tired, so I told him to take a nap. He said he didn’t need one. He looked pale and exhausted, so finally he said he would “go lie down in bed for a little while.” (Ahem…that’s a nap)

I walked him upstairs and asked if he wanted any tea or a cold washcloth for his head or anything. He said no. I said I would leave him to his nap, but he said he wasn’t going to sleep (yeah, okay). He asked if I would stay and talk to him.

I talked to him for a couple minutes, but I could tell he was falling asleep. I started to leave, but he asked me to keep talking. Maybe he likes the sound of my voice? I have no idea. He clearly wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying.

Then I started having fun. I said, “I’m thinking we should order the triceratops before we order the pterodactyl, because shipping on the triceratops is going to be ridiculously expensive, but the pterodactyl could probably fly here and save us a lot of money. What do you think?”

He said yes, that he totally agreed.

Then I said, “And I’ve been giving some thought to the T-Rex…I don’t think we should buy that one after all. I mean, the sheer size of it means that it is going to be way more expensive than the others, and we only have a two-bedroom house. Where would we put it? So I think we should skip that one. Is that okay with you?”

At first he didn’t answer, so I tried again. “Andy? Is that okay?”

“Yes,” he said, “I already said yes. Great idea.”

I smiled and tried not to laugh. I knew he didn’t want me to leave, so I sat on the bed for a few more minutes to make sure he was fully asleep. I looked at him a couple of times, but I think watching someone while they’re sleeping is just about the creepiest thing possible.  I mostly picked at our comforter and got disgusted by how many dog hairs I found.

Finally, when I was sure he was sleeping, I gave him a kiss on the forehead and crept out of the bedroom. Now, and hour later, he’s still sleeping.

He was right – he definitely didn’t need a nap. *eyeroll*  Now where can I buy some dinosaurs?