Saturday, July 03, 2004

Dieting for Dummies.

I'm bored and that's bad.

I have very little alone time in my life these days. My house is always filled with kids or Mr. Man or animals or vacuum cleaner salesmen. Although I complain about the chaos on a regular basis, truth be told, I love it. I need the madness to keep my own crazy at bay.

The first thirty minutes after everyone is gone, I behave pretty normally. I try to act like a grown up and sit quietly on the couch watching CNN while the dog sleeps at my feet. I imagine that is exactly what other grown up moms do when they are home alone.

But alas, that never lasts very long. I can't help it. For me, boredom equals bad decisions. Once I am bored, you know I am well on my way to doing something stupid.

Tonight has been no different. As I sit here typing, I'd like you to picture me for a moment sitting at my keyboard in sophisticated lady pajamas and high heel marabou slippers. Got it?

Now shake your head real hard from side to side to clear the etch-a-sketch in your mind and picture the real me.

Earlier this evening, I was missing Mr. Man harder than a goat loves a stump and so I did what I always do when I am missing him. I went to his closet, drug out his clothes and put them on. At this very moment, I am wearing an XXL nuclear security guard t-shirt in prison gray, an extra large pair of blue men's pajama bottoms with that little monocle wearing Monopoly guy all over them and men's Nike socks.

I am the epitome of class.

If all I did was wear Mr. Man's clothes when I'm home alone, that might not be so bad. I'm sure lots of females... and some males with issues, do the same sort of thing.

But, in the words of a late night infomercial selling steak knives, "Wait! There's more!"
Unfortunately, when I am bored and alone, my bad decision making usually leads to some equally bad eating habits.

There was exactly one half of a cake left in my microwave. Normally, I am not what you might call a cake person. I am more of a pie person. Oh, I'll eat cake.  But only if I'm suffering terribly from a lack of other, more desirable sweets and one happens to be available to me.
Tonight, our house is devoid of a more suitable sugar fix, so I had no choice but to eat the cake remains. It was either that or stick a straw in the sugar bowl and everybody knows that people as classy as I am would never resort to sitting around the house sucking granular sugar through a silly straw.

Now I don't know about you, but I think the entire purpose of the cake is simply to have something on which to put the frosting. That's it. Cake in and of itself is really nothing to get too excited about, in my opinion. No matter whether it's chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, the cake part of the cake is unbelievably boring. It needs the frosting to make the whole thing worthwhile. A cake without frosting is like fries without ketchup, pizza without cheese or a war with no weapons of mass destruction.
(For which I totally do not blame Dubya. He's the President. Not Zarmac the Magnificent Intelligence Mind Reader. And there you have your political commentary for today.) 

This one half cake sitting in my microwave was no different. It was a spice cake with Cream Cheese frosting... the Queen of all the frostings as far as I'm concerned. I pulled it out of the black box that is nothing more to me than a Moon Pie melter, popcorn popper and cake protector and I started to do what I always do when I am in polite society and forced to eat cake.
Slice myself a tiny, "oh I have such a small lady-like appetite but I'll try to force this down" piece of cake and then spend ten minutes trying to cut each and every bite so that the ratio of frosting to cake is about 2 to 1. Anything less falls short of the legal definition of dessert.

As far as I'm concerned, that requires way too much of me. What with all the planning of the fork placement, the effort of executing the cut and the inevitable disappointment after the third bite when I realize all the frosting is gone and I am just left with flavored flour, shortening and eggs, I am exhausted.
I don't need that from a dessert.

But as I said earlier, I was being forced to eat this cake due to a severe lack of sweets-planning on my part. I totally deserved this punishment. Had I planned ahead the way any thinking person does, I would have had a supply of Moon Pies on hand and wouldn't have had to stress myself out over the whole cake/frosting distribution dilemma.
Just as I was about to eat this frosting holder in the same old unsatisfying way that I have eaten cake my entire life, I had an epiphany. An awakening. I had an "aha moment", to quote the all powerful Oprah.
I looked around and noticed the overwhelming absence of polite society in my kitchen.

Suddenly it dawned on me. I did not have to choke down my cake the way I had millions of times before. I was alone in the house! I could eat outside the cake box, so to speak.
At least for tonight, I would refuse to eat cake like all the mindless cake-eating drones of this world. There was no one around to stop me! I could eat it the way I'm sure God meant for cake to be eaten when he found out the devil invented it.

I would eat only the top of it!

With my fork, I skimmed under the frosting, careful to pick up just enough cake particles to make me feel as if I were eating like a normal person rather than a crazy home alone woman eating an entire half of a cake wearing men's clothing and giant, yellow, furry house slippers.
It was Heaven. While it lasted, that is.
You might be surprised to find out that eating only the top of half a cake can leave you feeling hungry, but it's true. I soon discovered why you can't live off nothing but cake tops. They don't exactly stick to your ribs.
Within thirty minutes, I was starving. I'd had my dessert, I reasoned. If I ate normal food now, it would all even out. I rummaged through the cabinets and the fridge and decided that the best thing to eat after you finish a cake top is a bean burrito.
And that the best thing to eat after a bean burrito is leftover corn.  And the best thing to eat after you eat cold corn is obviously pork rinds and peanut butter.
And once you've eaten everything in the house that doesn't run from you, you can easily erase all the calories you've consumed simply by drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper.
Of course, throwing up the rest of the night gets rid of calories, too. Unfortunately, I think that's the route I'm going to take.
I should have just put the straw in the sugar bowl.

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Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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