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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Bye bye, Backpack

You may know that I try not to get too attached to things. It's part of my minimalist lifestyle, which by the way, I was doing long before Marie Kondo (although she is more extreme about it and obviously doesn't have hoarder kids).

There are a few things that I have held onto for a LONG time though--like my fraction calculator from 7th grade, my eyeglasses (2001-2019 RIP) and my white terrycloth bathrobe with a hood that Frank says makes me look like a boxer (high school graduation present, 1995).

Yesterday I had to throw out a backpack that I have carried around proudly since 2004. 15 years! It wasn't just any backpack; it was my claim to fame for running a marathon. I did the Austin Motorola Marathon in 2004 and in case you're wondering, I did it in just around 4 hours. That is a very respectable time for anyone who isn't Kenyan or my sister-in-law, Julie. I was so proud of my time that after I ran that, I vowed to never run a marathon again. In fact, I have barely run since then. It's kind of a quit-while-you're-ahead strategy.

After I ran the marathon in 2004, I took up indoor cycling. And in 2005 I started teaching spin classes. It was then that I began using my well-deserved Motorola Marathon backpack to tote my spin gear. Now I have been teaching spin and other exercise classes for 14 years and I have taken that backpack to every single class. It holds my cycle shoes, my mic belt, my wind screens for my mic, a spiral with my class plans, a sweaty towel or two and a plastic mouth shield should I ever have to perform mouth to mouth CPR.

As a rough estimate, I would say that backpack has gone to 1,400 or so classes with me. It has sat on gym floors, on chairs, on stages, in my car, in locker rooms and of course, on my back.

I used to take (not teach) a 5:30am Tabata class at the Frisco YMCA. Sometimes the instructor would contact me the night before and ask if I could teach it for her, which I usually would. One day I walked in to teach the class and I announced to the people that were already there, "Today I'm teaching" and this lady said, "Oh, we can tell because you have your big backpack with you!"

I would have kept it for 15 more years (because who doesn't like to show off that they once ran a marathon sponsored by a now defunct company?) but sadly, it started to fall apart. And then it became so holey that my precious gear (sweaty towels, wind screens, etc.) weren't even protected anymore.

As I tearfully went through my beloved backpack (well, I didn't actually have any tears but I came close), I found some artifacts. I pulled out an envelope called Cycle 16 which had very detailed lesson plans for a cycle class. Now I have NO lesson plans and I can't believe I used to choreograph all of this down to the second. So much work!!

I dug out an ancient iPod, a pony tail holder, some corroded batteries (ew!!) and two still-wrapped Fiber One bars. I am pretty sure I haven't eaten a F1 Bar since 2007 so that was somewhat frightening. Surprisingly, it still tasted great! *

After cleaning out the backpack that has been my companion for 15 years, I unceremoniously threw it into the trash. Now I have no proof that I ran that marathon. I guess I will have to run another one**

*Obviously, I didn't eat that Fiber One bar!! Did you really think I did? 
**No way am I running another marathon! But if there is something easier I can do for a backpack, sign me up! 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The OCD Club

"I'm so OCD. I HAVE to have all my silverware stacked up according to the TYPE of utensil they are."

"If my house is messy, it drives me crazy. I'm so OCD."

"Ew, I hate when my food touches each other. I'm just OCD about it."

Stop it. Just stop. You do NOT have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And what's more, if you did, you would NOT be bragging about it.

You are NOT in the club. You actually have NO IDEA what it is like to be in a club like this. If you did, you wouldn't say it so flippantly.

When you say, "I'm so OCD" but you aren't, you are trivializing a disease that is serious, that is debilitating... a condition that makes life unbearable.

You wouldn't say...

"He is SO retarded."

"Sugar makes me crazy. I'm such a diabetic."

"My hair looks awful. It's like I have cancer."

Yes, it is JUST like doing any of the above.

Obviously I have a strong connection to OCD. Let me tell you what life is like living with someone with OCD. True OCD.

EVERYTHING triggers it. People with OCD CANNOT function in a lot of situations...going to school, church, restaurants, vacations, people's homes...all nightmares for the person suffering, plus their family.

They freak out, make scenes, run away.

The people I know with OCD have had to go to extremes to help their loved ones including taking them to intensive treatment programs. Some people I know have had to send their kids to residential facilities to live FOR WEEKS.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is nothing like you think it is. It doesn't mean you like to wash your hands. But it may mean you HAVE to wash your hands hundreds of times a day until they are raw. It doesn't mean you don't like the smell of vomit. It means that you think someone could vomit at any time and therefore you can't go ANYWHERE or even hear someone cough without having a complete panic attack. It doesn't mean that you don't like the feel of tags on your shirt. It means you have to read the tag on your shirt 100 times or someone you know will die.

THAT is life with OCD. And it completely sucks.

So when you casually say you have OCD, you are hurting those that do. Because when they reach out and say THEY truly have OCD, no one takes it seriously. No one understands the severity of the situation.

The other day I mentioned to someone that my loved one has OCD and she said, "Oh, I know all about that. My husband! He has to have everything clean all the time."

YOU HAVE NO IDEA, is all I can think.

So stop. Please stop. Take it out of your vocabulary. Quit saying that your preference for cleanliness and your proclivity to adjust your picture frames makes you "so OCD."

You don't have OCD and when you say that, it makes you sound retarded.

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Payment Princess

I guess you could call me an online bill pay snob.  If I get a bill and it doesn't have an option for paying online, I curse them. In fact, I boycotted my dermatologist bill for awhile. I saw the bill. Then I saw that I have an appointment coming up in a few weeks. So I thought to myself, I'm just gonna pay it at my appointment. I'll show them. If a sophisticated, modern dermatologist office with three locations can't find a way to offer online bill pay (and I have complained about this before), then they can just wait for their money. 

But then I got a nasty letter. Something about being overdue and some more verbiage about a collection agency. So I paid the damn thing. Sent it in the MAIL. Like it was 1993 or something. 

Then I got another nasty letter which told me that--surprise--the mail takes awhile. Their threatening note and my belated payment must have crossed in this archaic system. I called the derm office just to make sure they received my payment. They did. Naturally I had to tell them why I was tardy or else what was the point of my protest? 

The lady on the other end said they are ALMOST finished finalizing their online bill payment system. She said she was VERY excited about this. I told her I was too. Cause this white girl visits the derm pretty often. So often, in fact, that one day when I had an appt with my regular doctor, I accidentally went to the derm instead. Like on autopilot. They were all, "You don't have an appointment" and I was all, "Yes, I do. It's me. Elsa." And they're like "Oh, we know who you are. Your suspicious moles and mysterious rashes are what pay for our vacation homes...that is, when you pay your bills on time." 

So once my derm gets their online bill system set up, I don't think I will have anymore medical practices that don't offer it. 

But let's talk about people. 

I happen to be in a position where I often collect money from people. The invention of PayPal and Venmo has made this AMAZINGLY easy. I have to collect money for teacher gifts, classroom supplies, coach gifts, bus driver gifts and sometimes just pizza for a group of people at the pool. 

I am getting to the point where I pretty much ONLY accept PayPal and Venmo. I don't want your cash. And I REALLY don't want your check. (Although BofA has made check depositing SO MUCH easier now that we can take a pic of it. Amazing. It blows my mind.) 

So now that I think about it, RECEIVING checks is not all that bad. I more just question a person who is under the age of 50 who doesn't have a PayPal or Venmo account. 

The worst is when I owe someone money and they don't take one of the above. If someone asks for a check, I say, "Seriously? You REALLY don't have a PayPal or Venmo?" And they say, "Um...don't those things charge fees?" And I'm all, "No. It's this super efficient and magical system in which friends pay each other for things. It is so much easier and faster. Also, if you are collecting money for a group gift, you will receive much more money than if you make everyone write checks." And then they say, "Um, could you just write me a check?" And I say, "Ok fine. I'll write you a check like this is 1997. Can I give it to you next time I see you?" And they're all, "You can just MAIL it to me." 

"Great," I say. "I will send it via snail mail right after I write the check, find an envelope, put it in the envelope with a paper around the check for security and a written explanation of what it is for, put a return address label on it from the Humane Society (you're getting an ugly cat one, btw), find a stamp which I may or may not have, put it in the mail, you should have your money in about 22 days." 

Then my hypothetical non-online-payment friend says, "Cool Beans. I'll send you an email when I receive it. What is your email address?" 

And I say, "" 

"Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! You still use a Hotmail account?? Wow, it really is 1997!!!" 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Leo Spielberg

I remember seeing an interview with Steven Spielberg's mom once. I recall that the interviewer asked Ms. Spielberg if her son had shown an interest in movie-making when he was a kid. His mom nonchalantly responded with something like, "Oh, he sort of created things in the living room. I mean, he made a dolly to roll a camera on..."

The interviewer was like, "Um, I think if a kid makes a dolly and pretends to film movies in your living room, that's a sign he is pretty interested in filmmaking."

Now Leo has taken an interest in filmmaking. No, he hasn't made a dolly for a camera, He doesn't have to. He has an iPad. And it has an app. And he has created two movie trailers that are now sweeping the...cul de sac?

Gus asked him if he had turned his trailers into movies yet. Leo rolled his eyes and said, "No, Gus. I couldn't make a movie that quickly. Movies take HOURS to make."

Here is his first trailer:

And here is his second. Typical sequel, not quite up to the standards of the first. But that is to be expected. I mean, how could he top SUPER SMITTY?

I look forward to my interview one day. "Ms. Simcik, did Leo show an interest in movie making when he was a kid?" 

"Oh, I don't know. He used to follow our dog around and film him and create these elaborate movie trailers." 

"Um, all kids did that. They used apps and iPads. Your kid is not that special. Why am I even interviewing you?" 

"Because Super Smitty is the number one movie of 2034!!"