Sunday, November 18, 2007

My "Before" and "After" poster may include a casket

If you've noticed that haunted stare in my eyes lately, it's because I'm starving slowly to death. One, maybe two of you will be sad when I'm gone; the rest of you will cheerfully ransack my house after my demise and steal all my CDs and clothes.

I gained close to 50 pounds during my pregnancy with Child #2 (that's actually her name, check the birth certificate), so I was fully expecting to give birth to a 45-pound baby and then be back in a bikini the following week. When my daughter came out weighing a measly 7.4 lbs, I cursed God. Then I began plotting how to lose the weight.

I know a healthy weight loss regimen is supposed to combine diet with exercise, but since my daughter isn't old enough to go with me to the gym (she'd have to be 6 months old to stay in the Kid's Club while I work out), I'm not able to get to the gym with any consistency. So I devised my special Auschwitz Diet Plan. It totally works! My daughter is three months old now, and I only have 6 pounds left to lose. The only side effect is that at any moment I might snap, and devour the next pet or child I find unattended.

In case you're interested in this incredibly successful diet plan, I'll give you a few of the basic principles to tide you over til my book comes out and my subsequent string of TV talk show appearances begins:

1) Don't eat. Ever.

2) If you feel you simply must eat, follow my Perfect Portion Rule: Don't eat any more food than will fit on the head of a pin.

3) Once you've measured out your food portion on the head of a pin, be careful not to eat the pin itself. You'll be so hungry you'll consider it, but trust me, it only leads to heartache, and copious internal bleeding.

4) Don't watch TV. The food commercials that air every 13 seconds will send you into thrashing, sobbing hysterics that will leave you exhausted and urine-soaked.

5) Don't keep food in your house. Every dieter with a family laments how hard it is to keep from eating junk food when there's so much of it in the house for the kids and the rest of the family. Naturally, the solution to this is not to buy it for them. And since my Auschwitz plan doesn't just involve cutting out junk food, but cutting out all food, that means not buying any food of any kind for your family. Oh, they'll whine and complain and beg for something to eat, but you've got to have a strong resolve--that's what dieting is all about. You should have heard the ruckus my 3-month old made in the first couple of days after I got rid of all her formula. But she eventually got used to it, and I haven't heard a peep out of her in days.

Okay, I'll be honest--I do only have 6 pounds left to go, and I'm not actually starving myself. And 90% of the time, I'm not even urine-soaked. But it's true that I am goddamn hungry. I lost the weight by cutting down to between 1100 - 1200 meticulously-recorded calories per day. When I get rid of this last six pounds, I'll go up to about 1700 calories per day, which will seem totally extravagant by comparison. Then, in February when my daughter's old enough to go with me to the gym, I'll burn enough calories to eat and drink like it's my birthday.

But in the meantime, do not fuck with me. I'm hungry. And do not leave your children and pets unattended around me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Impending doom

Did you ever have one of those moments when you could sort of see your life from an outsider's view, and you didn't like what you were seeing? I'm having one of those moments now. Something terrible is about to happen--something unspeakably horrifying that will change my life in only the most awful ways--and I'm helpless to stop it.

A Wal-Mart is being built about a mile from my house.

Let me just take a moment to compose myself.

Okay, I'm back. Now, I'm certain I don't have to tell you why this is such a tragedy, because it's pretty obvious, isn't it? But I'll do it anyway, because talking about myself is so rewarding.

First, let me say that I don't live in an area thick with retail shopping. I live in a quiet residential area that's a couple of highway exits away from some businesses, but they're things like restaurants, drugstores, gyms, hair salons, etc. There is nothing along the lines of a retail superstore near my house. That means that if I need to buy a pair of socks, an axe, a hair dryer and a change purse all in one handy location, I drive about 8 miles and 6 highway exits away to the mall area, which is where the Target is, along with a multitude of other retail stores. It's close enough that it's quick to get to, but far enough away that I'm not battling shopping traffic every day just to get home from work. There have been times when, God forgive me, I have thought to myself, "I wish there was a big retail shopping center a little closer to home, because I don't feel like driving to the mall area right now." But of course I really didn't mean that--and even if I did, I was envisioning a Target--not a Wal-Mart. Please, anything but a Wal-Mart.

Do you know what's going to happen if there's a Wal-Mart that close to my house? I'm going to shop there. Even if I swear I won't, I will. There will be some late-night occasion when I find myself out of diapers or espresso beans or extra-extra-large condoms, and I will break my vow and go there, because it's convenient. I'll think, "Just this once," but it will happen again...and again...and again. I'll become a Wal-Mart Shopper. And my whole life will slowly unravel.

I'll start wearing baggy sweatpants every time I leave the house. I currently don't even own a pair of sweatpants--but soon enough my wardrobe will consist of 90% sweatpants, which I'll probably pick up at Wal-Mart for $7 per pair. I'll start wearing my hair in a half-ponytail on the top of my head. I'll learn how to deep fry catfish. I'll watch daytime talk shows and drive a mini pickup truck. I'll stock up on beer when it goes on sale. I'll follow every declarative statement with, "That's for damn sure." I'll play bingo on Wednesday nights. Every time I see you, I'll ask to bum a cigarette. When I overhear someone in the grocery store talking in a foreign language, I'll mutter loudly to the person next to me, "If they're going to live in America, they should learn to speak English." A steady diet of McDonald's food will cause me to triple in size.

So say goodbye to the Karla you've come to know and love...the elegant, refined lady who exemplifies class and style. No longer will you look up to me as the epitome of manners and decorum. I'm sad for you, losing your mentor, your spiritual guide. It will be a difficult road for you, wandering lost and troubled, seeking answers from anyone and everyone, never quite satisfied with what you find. Meanwhile, think of me from time to time, drinking discount root beer from a plastic Nascar cup at the makeshift table we will have fashioned from two old sawhorses and a broken door. (I'm not sure what will have happened to the perfectly good table we currently have, but just go with me here.)

I do still have a little time left before this downward spiral begins--construction looks nowhere near finished as of this moment. So if you want to save me from a very bleak future, I'll be happy to consider any suggestions you might have for how to stop this runaway train. Should I burn the place down? Do all my shopping online? Move to Brazil?

Help me.