And while I would love to say that I succeeded, I probably wouldn't be writing about it if I had. No, it turns out that while I have two slow cookers (one to use overnight for steel-cut oats and the other to fill with bolognese sauce for dinner), one had been languishing on top of our cabinets for God knows how long (because really, who needs two slow cookers?) and was covered with a greasy, icky film that I had neither time nor desire to really attack. So the steel cut oats were put off until tomorrow. I did manage to get the bolognese prepared and put into the slow cooker insert for tonight's dinner, but the mincing of the vegetables took so long that I ended up leaving a few dishes on the counter, dishes that smelled of the vegetable curry from last night and greeted me with a start this morning (this all could have been avoided had I remembered that I have a shiny new food processor just for this kind of thing). During the whole time that I was mincing those veggies, Alice was milling about my legs saying "Mommy, I tire, Mommy, I tire," and I kept saying, "Hold on, Allie, Mommy's making dinner," which really just confused the absolute hell out of her since we had just had dinner. When I finally sat down to get her to sleep, she was well past the point of no return, so she ended up sitting on the couch and eating my Special K crackers and watching Sesame Street while I passed out in bed with my book splayed over the pile of grapes on my chest.
I got up this morning, still with high hopes. But as I slipped into my new pants, I realize that they are just enough too tight to make wearing them for an 8 hour workday a tortuous proposition. The bad thing about where I am right now, weight-wise, is that I am between two sizes. Pants in the next size up are swimming on me by the end of the day, but there is that uncomfortable pinch in the next size down. So as I pulled them back off, I reminded myself that this is what Weight Watchers is for, this is why I ponied up for the service, this is why I intend on making February my TRACK EVERYTHING month. Easy enough, no "I'm too fat to live!" moments. I put on the denim trousers that I love and that I sigh in thinking will be too big by the end of the month if I work the plan the way I should and a cheery tank and a cardigan. Again, yeah, it is a uniform, but it works. And then I cut my bangs quickly and happily, tried some new colors of make-up from the plethora of samples that my Mary Kay consultant gave me, and went on my somewhat-merry way.
I say all this, not to give you an insider's glance at what constitutes a morning in my house (because really, I haven't gotten into the messy tango that is getting my two oldest children ready for school), but really to remind myself, and maybe you too, that perfection isn't possible. You make plans and if they don't get shot all to hell, you find yourself in the tenuous situation of trying to do as much as you can while the quicksand beneath your feet does its best to make sure that doesn't happen. No matter what I plan and what I imagine myself being--a thin-ish girl in black cigarette pants and heels--there is the unknown other that doesn't want that, that would much rather have me eating a bowl full of pasta with butter and salt, watching a Hoarders marathon. And that is my struggle. Perhaps it is yours too.
One way I want to slay this unknown is to really commit myself to Weight Watchers, so starting today, February 1, I am going to try to track everything I eat. I am such a mindless eater--a few of the kid's chips here, a handful of popcorn there, a small candy bar to eat on the way home from the store without even tasting it--and those things never get tracked. So that is my commitment. I also need to drink more water. I also need to plan meals for myself and the family better than I have been doing. Both Monday and Tuesday, I found myself in the grocery section of Wal-Mart at 5:00, talking to my husband on the phone as I walked around pulling stuff off the shelves that we "needed." According to Matt, we needed chips and Ranch dip and that is a perfectly acceptable side dish. When I reminded him about the Weight Watchers, he goes, "And chips and dip are bad? Well, I guess they are...." YOU GUESS? Fried potatoes dipped into sour cream MIGHT be bad. This is when one realizes they are married to Paula Deen, minus the diabetes and with a faster metabolism.
It is so strange to think about creating real, lasting change in one's life. On one hand, you feel that it must be so easy to just finally get your shit together, to create a home worthy of Pinterest pictures, to fashion a healthy lifestyle. But there are reasons why people strive for this and never quite get there--namely, it is hard. All one can do is to keep trying, I suppose, and temper those moments of planned perfection with the slothful moments in a Snuggie. The one victory I see for myself is that I am no longer hit with crazy, wild-eyed depression and anxiety when I find myself unable to measure up to those thoughts of perfection. I roll with the punches more--I go to my denim trousers and my new make-up and fashion myself back into happiness. Perhaps this is the true perfection.