A True Story About Swimsuit Shopping.

There are few things as panic-inducing as getting stuck in a swimsuit in a dressing room.

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It should also be noted that all swimsuit dressing rooms are rigged.

Their mirrors are always without a doubt the fattest mirrors ever created*, and are hung at a downward angle to make you look four foot six. The lighting is custom-built to shine down upon any dimples in your thighs and cast a deep shadow into each cellulite fortress, all while making your face look at least fifteen years wrinklier than you looked before stepping into The Chamber of Horrors.

* Yes, there are fat mirrors and skinny mirrors and if you don’t realize this you need to immediately change that perception because it could significantly aid your self-esteem if you, like me, are in possession of a fat mirror.

And of course, the swimsuit spandex is extra fresh, ready to capture you and mock you endlessly for daring to try on a size too small in hopes of squeezing your muffintop up under your rib cage.

Tankinis were a huge step forward in the swimsuit industry, solving many pressing feminine issues, such as the awkward struggle to take a wet one-piece all the way off for a mid-swim restroom visit. The process is roughly the same as peeling the skin off a live snake, and the very real fear of the one-piece touching the more-than-slightly slimy pool restroom floor can by itself warrant a prescription for Xanax.

(I don’t know what this “Listeria” is that Blue Bell Ice Cream is so desperately scrubbing out of their factories, but I imagine it looks like the viscous semi-liquid that puddles when moist swimmers are the dominant users in a bathroom.)

But the problem with tankinis is their exceptional ability to trap you, as lycra was not made to come over one’s shoulders. They’re made to fit snugly on one’s chest and waist, making them way too small for shoulder blade travel. They also have an internal underwire contraption that is significantly tighter than it needs to be and a shelf bra holding that in place – as if we needed more spandex in the picture.

Okay. Of course we need more spandex in the picture. But dang if it wouldn’t be nice for spandex to have an on/off switch.

So let’s say you don’t quite know your size. So you pick up two sizes. And you forget the cardinal rule of ALWAYS TRY THE BIGGER SIZED SWIMSUIT FIRST.

And you slip that undersized tankini over your head.

Where it stays.

On your head and halfway down your arm pits.

Because to put on a tankini, you have to contort your arms at just the angle where your muscles are rendered inert, then attempt to use those helpless muscles to shoehorn the top down over your boobs and down to your waist. But if you don’t have enough inertia going into the very delicate procedure, the arms WILL get lodged pointing straight at the ceiling as if you were begging God to send you an Angel of Mercy.

(Which you might actually be doing.)

If you do get the top down to its rightful position, you then have to reach back up and retrieve the under-bra from where it got stuck on your nose and tuck it down into the top, shimmying and shaking as you do so in an attempt to also pull the back of the shelf bra off of your left shoulder, which is always just at the wrong angle to be able to reach.

(Not to mention the laparoscopic surgery that has to be done to get those angry little football-shaped bra pads out of the bra corner that they’re hiding in.)

Once you get everything in place and see how nicely this suit accentuates every angle of your bulges along with your C-Section overhang and how the skort just barely doesn’t cover a single dimple of your preciously highlighted cellulite, it’s time to take the whole thing off and start over.

So you cross your arms and attempt to pull the top over your head, where it gets lodged inside-out with your arms crossed in the air, even more immobile than what occurred on the way down.

The bra portion of the swimsuit, though, is exactly where it is supposed to be – for once. And is not going to be leaving anytime soon.

For a moment you wish you’d let your eight-year-old daughter come in the dressing room with you because you LITERALLY DON’T KNOW HOW YOU WILL ESCAPE. Then you immediately change your mind – as if she’d ever listen to you again after seeing your sad condition.

“Mommy, are you okay?”

Crap. She heard your muffled groans. Why can’t swimsuits be more soundproof?!

You decide to start over.

You pull the top back down and this time, try taking it off one arm first. Now you’ve simply captured one side of your body, but have the good arm to work with.

Scissors. They should have emergency scissors in all dressing rooms.

“Ma’am, can I get you anything?”

BLAST IT ALL! Now the store clerk knows. They know they desperate, flailing sounds of a woman stuck in a swimsuit and fantasizing about seam rippers.

“MM-I’m MM-Finmme. Thmks Thnohg.”

You start whipping your body around the dressing room – left, right, left, right – illogically trying to fling the bathing suit against the wall. You know this won’t work but you’re in primal mode now – like a dog trying to get a cone of shame off his neck.

Finally, the adrenaline kicks in. You get a dose of unreal shoulder muscle and you’re able to Hulk your way out of the tankini.

Freedom!!!!

You don’t dare try on the bigger size and swear off swimsuit shopping for the year. Last year’s swimsuit will do just fine, thankyouverymuch.

Then, as you’re calmly placing the now abused swimsuit back onto the wooden hanger to attempt to appear as if nothing violent happened while the two of you were alone,

you get a splinter in your finger.

A few days later, you have an epiphany that sends you into a kicking-the-furniture fit: you can totally step into tankini tops just like a one piece…and never ever ever get stuck.

Cherries, Take Me Away.

My life has been the definition of “train wreck” lately.

Nothing devastating or life-changing – no worries. Just a constant onslaught of sicknesses and injuries and roadblocks and traumatic doctor visits.

The upside is, they often make good blog posts.

Y’all have read about some of them, but I haven’t written about a lot of things because I have a rule for myself – never write about something until you’re on the other side of it – otherwise, it comes out whiny.

And nobody likes to read whiny.

(A rule I clearly broke with my Printing Woes. But hopefully Sukhad added the humor back in for me.)

Anyway. One very special blog reader, Melissa, from Prosser Washington, picked up on the undertones of my rather unpleasant start to 2015. And she commented after this post that she was going to send me some chocolates, thereby solidifying her spot as my Best Friend Forever [That I Probably Won’t Ever Get to Meet].

Because by chocolates, I knew she meant Chukar Cherries.

I knew this because she had sent them to me once before. AND THEY CHANGED MY LIFE.

They’re made in her hometown, and they’re basically the most luxurious chocolate-covered dried fruits and nuts ever concocted. All the combinations are divine, and the flavors they put together are the essence of chocolate fantasies. The last box she sent me contained eighteen different varieties of heaven dipped in chocolate.

After receiving them last time, I also started getting the catalogs. And with each one, I nearly ordered myself another box (to hide from the children and eat embarrassingly fast), but always somehow intervened before I delved into what was sure to become a serious addiction problem.

So when the Melissa mentioned a box of chocolates, I was pretty intensely elated.

The hope of those chocolates carried me through finishing my Kid’s Market preparation.

They carried me through recovering from a sinus infection.

They carried me through the mothering of sick children, blowing their noses on my pants, wiping their boogers down into my shirt, and hacking all night long.

They carried me through falling while running and injuring, bruising, or scraping every joint on my body, and the resulting physical therapy.

I knew that Washington is a long way away and it would probably take a good bit for them to arrive, but the hope of chocolate covered cherries and berries and pecans and hazelnuts in eighteen different varieties carried me through.

Until I got an email from UPS, telling me that they needed to let me know that a package headed to me from Chukar Cherries had a slight problem.

Slight.

Chukar UPS Delay

WHAT. THE WHAT.

MY CHOCOLATE WAS IN A TRAIN WRECK.

I read that email three times, and then contracted an unstoppable case of the giggles. If there was anything more fitting for my life at that juncture, I could not possibly imagine it. The chocolate I was receiving because my life was a train wreck got caught up in an actual train wreck and I’m pretty sure the space-time continuum folded in on itself.

I started checking the UPS status of my cherries, waiting to see when they would resurface, imagining a UPS worker walking along the side of a train track, plucking chocolate covered cherries out of the grass and placing them, carefully sorted, back in my trays.

Every morning, I checked. Every morning, nothing had changed. Every morning, I assumed my chocolates had been eaten by the roadside chickens and cows before they could be collected and repackaged.

(Because there are totally roadside chickens and cows next to all train tracks, just waiting for derailments and the resulting chocolate spillage. Right?)

The above email came on March 3. The shipping status of my package did not update again until I received this email on March 9.

Chukar UPS Delay 2

My poor cherries, after having been spilled onto a rickety train trestle spanning a crocodile-filled ravine, were now encapsulated by a snowstorm, shivering their fragile chocolate coating off.

Or perhaps, they were stuck in a Sharknado – after all, it didn’t specify the weather type.

You never know.

Until somehow, they weren’t. UPS fought train and snow and sharks flying through the air and my chocolate dropping off the grid for over five days, and still managed to deliver those precious, life-giving chocolates – just one day after they were originally due.

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When the box arrived, my warm tingly heart burst within me.

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I wish I’d gotten a better picture of that big red sticker – it said “Perishable Goods – Open Immediately.” But I didn’t have time for good photography – I had a package to open. I had chocolate-covered cherries to rescue.

They had been through a lot, after all.

I could relate.

Oh, the bliss of discovering that Melissa, Fairy Godmother of the Blog Realm, had indeed sent me that giant box of utopia again – along with a couple of other precious, blissful, renewing treats.

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The endless array of beautifully coated goodness made up for all of the train wrecks – both figurative and literal.

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And that box of cherries took over where the hope of cherries left off.

They carried me through running a half marathon perfectly fine, and then reinjuring myself the next day during my “recovery run”.

They carried me through not being able to walk for two days, then finding out that I would have to go to Physical Therapy 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks.

They carried me through multiple technological breakdowns – including those blogged and those only shared in Facebook comments.

And they’re still carrying me through. And doing a darn good job of it.

So from now on, when my life starts spinning off-balance like a washing machine whose drum came loose and is shaking the house down with its ear-shattering rhythm, I shall not waver at the thought of ordering myself some chocolate covered cherries – because mothers are best fueled by good chocolate. And Chukar Cherries most definitely balance everything out.

(Even if they have to survive their own train wreck to do so.)

If My Life Were a Children’s Book.

Friday

If you want to get a haircut, you ask your Mother-In-Law to come watch the kids.

If your Mother-in-Law comes to watch the kids, your youngest is sure to ham it up and play especially sick.

If your youngest hams it up and plays especially sick, she will tell you he didn’t get off the couch all morning.

If she tells you he didn’t get off the couch all morning, you will take his temperature and decide he needs to go to the doctor – before the weekend.

If you decide he needs to go to the doctor, you will take him in – despite the impending “Wintry Mix” and possible ice storms.

If you take him in, he will miraculously become healed in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he miraculously becomes healed in the Sick Waiting Room, he will have to touch, rub, and become one with all the surfaces.

If he becomes one with all the surfaces, you will become very anxious.

If you become very anxious, he will become further energized by your anxiety.

If he becomes further energized by your anxiety, he will begin jumping and screaming maniacally.

Jumping at doctor's office while

If he begins jumping and screaming maniacally, he will attract the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room.

If he attracts the attention of the other children in the Sick Waiting Room, they will begin to play together.

If they begin to play together, your anxiety will triple.

If your anxiety triples, they will amp up their game to running around a column while rubbing their hands, cheeks, and possibly tongues around it like they were seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column.

If they amp up their game to seeing how many germs it takes to reach the center of a column, you will begin listening to their Grandmother’s phone call to try and ascertain what they’re in for.

If you try and ascertain what they’re in for, you will learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus.

If you learn that their sister is currently being observed to see if she needs to go back to the hospital for her raging and incurable stomach virus, your anxiety will give you a facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room will think you’re winking at them.

If you get facial tic so extreme that the kids in the Well Waiting Room think you’re winking at them, you will try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler.

If you try to mitigate the future germ damage to your household by restraining your toddler, his wiggling and fighting will make the seconds tick by so slowly that you are convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave.

If you become convinced the best course of action for your ongoing sanity is to get up and leave, right before you do, you will get called back (after one hour and fifteen minutes of Sick Waiting Room Seventh Layer of Hell.)

If you finally get called back, you will, in a fit of anxiety-induced-word-vomit, tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room.

If you tell your doctor of all of your trials in the waiting room, you will follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her.

If you follow up by asking her if she happens to have any dissolvable anxiety pills on her, your toddler will once again be energized by your admittance of the A word, and will yell, “All Aboard!!”, because, you see, he is the Train Conductor.

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If your toddler plays Train Conductor with the stirrups, you will stop to tweet the moment, during which your toddler will seize the opportunity to find a well-hidden stray cup of water left by another child.

If your toddler finds a well-hidden stray cup of water, you will nearly break your nose (again) trying to tackle him before it reaches his lips.

At this point, you will begin praying for quick and painless deaths for each of your family members, as it is clear that all of your days are severely numbered.

Later Friday

After a nap (because after that visit there was no way you were doing anything else before naptime), you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription.

If you go to the pharmacy to fill your son’s prescription, the pharmacist will sympathize with you and tell you that she, too, has been sick for a week – with a really difficult strain of strep throat – and will cough, right before she mixes your son’s antibiotic.

If she coughs into your son’s antibiotic, you will again begin praying for quick and painless deaths for all of you – and maybe a slightly painful one for her.

Saturday

Your husband has to go to the doctor and gets two shots and a prescription.

Sunday

You and your daughter fall to illness.

Tuesday, Too Late to Go To The Doctor

Your illness worsens, now including a fever.

Wednesday

Your illness most definitely needs a doctor, but the entire city is shut down for the snowstorm that you’ve wanted all year long, so you tough it out and eagerly look forward to the distraction of a beautiful, thick white snow.

If you look forward to a snow, it will not come. And you will wait for eight hours, blowing your nose on every soft disposable surface in your house, not daring to leave due to impending doom, while it rains.

If you wait for eight hours while it rains, you will watch the wall-to-wall snow news all day long in hopes of an encouraging word about when you will get snow, but all you will see are thousands of happy snowstormees who live ever-so-slightly north of you.

If you see happy snowstormees, you will become not happy. But you will still wait, while it rains.

It gets dark, and it rains.

It gets darker, and your power goes out.

Then it starts snowing.

The children will hurry out in their snow gear, eager to make snowmen and snow angels and snow cream. Meanwhile, you hold the flashlight and jog in place on the porch so as to not let your feverish chills overtake you.

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You get maybe a quarter inch of snow. That will melt by morning.

Meanwhile, you continue to be inundated by everyone else’s amazing snowstorm dreams, while your own dreams are delirious because…fever.

Thursday

If you didn’t get the snowstorm you so hoped for, you will look at the bright side – that you can finally go to the doctor.

If you finally go to the doctor, the exhaustion from the week will overcome you and you will accidentally cry.

If you accidentally cry, your doctor will offer you antidepressants.

If your doctor offers you antidepressants, you will consider asking him for dissolvable anxiety pills for the next Pediatrician’s visit, and then wonder if he could instead prescribe you a trip to Fiji

While you’re wondering if your doctor can prescribe you a trip to Fiji, one of your kids gets all cozy and places their lips near a surface, almost assuredly picking up a new germ.

If your kid picks up a new germ, the cycle starts all over again.

And by the time it’s done, it’s most likely time for you to get another haircut.