Relationship Tests

Turns out, when you’re recovering from major ankle surgery (my second, on the same ankle, thankyouverymuch), you aren’t really in the mood to write or blog. Or sit up. Or talk to people. Or pretty much anything else. Well, for the first few days at least.

After that, there isn’t as much of an excuse, since the pain was managed 1000 percent better this time around, and I wasn’t nearly as high on painkillers. Which in some ways is disappointing, because there were some GEMS that came out of my mouth last time when I was all hopped up. Two quick examples just for giggles: 1. I told my mom I was growing out my bush, and 2. I growled repeatedly on the phone to the person I was dating at the time, and then laughed hysterically as if it was the best joke I’d ever told.

None of that this time around. Which I guess I should be grateful for, since I live with my boyfriend now and I’m not sure I trust my Percocet-addled brain not to instruct my mouth to say something potentially detrimental or wildly embarrassing. So on that front, we’re good.

It’s been about 2 weeks since surgery, and I’m doing really well – but my aspirations of writing some of my most hysterical and pithy blog posts while on painkillers turned out to just be a fantasy. Oh well. I have something new to write about now anyway. Relationship tests.

Scantron TEST blocks and pencil.

No, not pen and paper or fill-in-the-bubble tests. Although side-note, remember Scantron forms?? And the stress of making sure you had the right kind of pencil? #2? How many numbers of pencils are there? Is my sparkly mechanical pencil a #2?? No, not those kind of tests.

And not those stupid “tests” men and women sometimes like to throw out early on in the relationship either; because no you CANNOT judge me based on what I order on the first date, whether it’s a salad or a burger so rare that it’s still mooing. Or if I’ll sit through a Sunday of football without complaining or just walking away (I won’t). Or if he remembers that obscure flower you love that you happened to mention in passing on the first date (he won’t).

No, I’m talking about real tests of a relationship – moments in time when you face an obstacle you weren’t expecting, and how you cope/communicate/handle it together speaks volumes about the relationship. Depending on the magnitude of these tests and obstacles, some relationships are still standing on the other side – some aren’t.

Well, when I scheduled this surgery, I inadvertently scheduled a relationship test on the side. SWELL. I don’t think I can use my doctor’s note to get out of this one. Nope, not when the surgery in question basically renders me useless for a full 6 weeks. 6 weeks of being completely non weight-bearing and rolling around on a little scooter/walker. I can’t really carry things. Or do stairs. Or get in and out of a car easily. Or run back into the bedroom to grab my phone. Or get comfortable to sleep. Or get comfortable at all, really. I’m on my back most of the time with my legs up, and not in the fun way I prefer to be. Speaking of which, I almost forgot. I also can’t really have sex easily either, at least until the stitches come out.

Now, I know it will get better. We’re only in week 2, and the first couple weeks are the worst, with instructions to basically lay around and have my foot up and iced pretty much constantly. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. Pee. Lay and ice. I’ll get the stitches out soon, and that will make a big difference. But for another month, I still won’t be able to put any weight on it for fear of snapping the giant metal screw that is holding everything precariously together right now. So that means another month of still needing to ask for help with the most basic things and I can tell you right now it gets old. On both sides, I imagine. It sucks.

But I am choosing to look at this little relationship test as a growth experience. A way for us to grow and learn more about each other. I sound so zen, don’t I? Well, I wasn’t a week ago when we were ready to tear each other’s heads off, and seemed to find something to fight about every single night. 750 square feet starts to feel pretty small then, especially when one of you physically CAN’T leave, and the other one can’t leave without being a jerk who abandoned the crippled girl just days after surgery (sorry dude).

So if you’re not ready to talk, you stew. You stew in 750 square feet, and you feel trapped. Which is what we both did, for awhile. Until we couldn’t take it anymore. And then we talked. And really tried to listen to each other.

Which is really the key to every successful relationship. That and sex. But at that point in time, only one of those things was physically an option, so we opted to talk. And I’m so glad we did. We talked for a long time that night. And the night after that. There was some real truth being served, from both sides and I think we both needed to hear it.

We learned a lot about each other, and how the other deals with different situations. How we each react to stress and what we need from each other in those moments. I mean after all, we’ve only known each other a little more than a year. Long enough to know we want to be together, but not long enough to unearth every nuance of each other’s personality. Especially under atypical circumstances. So this really did turn out to be a great learning experience for us, and I’m actually grateful for that.

I’m not saying we aren’t ever going to fight again – we will. But we can walk (or roll…. or hobble) away from this experience knowing we have the right freaking pencil to pass the test – we know how to talk through these hurdles and really try to see things from each other’s perspective. We’ll have to remind each other of these things at different points for the rest of our lives because we’re human, but that’s what interpersonal communication is all about.

Oh, and when you’re all talked out, I’m happy to report that a little creative positioning on the edge of the bed and a concerted effort not to bust your stitches can get you the other half of that equation we all need to get through a rough couple days with your honey. <sighs happily>

Activity Trackers And Me

OK, let me just start by saying I have a bit of a shopping addiction. I have in under control (mostly) but I’m kind of an impulse purchase type of girl. If it’s new and it’s trendy, I’m probably paying attention. You may have seen my post the other day about wearable vibrators … I’m not embarrassed to tell you I pre-ordered mine. I mean, how could I resist?

I’m lucky enough to have disposable income and no hefty financial responsibilities other than myself and my mortgage, so I play it a little fast and loose sometimes. Which is why when the Fitbit Flex was announced in 2012, I pre-ordered one of those bad boys too. I was trying to get healthier and did my research on the different wrist trackers out there – I really wanted one that was compatible with MyFitnessPal and I liked the idea of a bracelet. And even though I think some of the other options were more stylish, I went with the Flex because it met all of my needs.

Only problem was that by the time it arrived, I had shattered my ankle and had major surgery. I was on crutches for three months and in physical therapy for months after that. I wasn’t so much concerned with tracking my steps as I was being able to make them at all.

Fast forward a few months and I finally got excited about my activity tracker again. And by then, the Flex was popular enough that a lot of my friends had gotten one as well. It was a great way to track which days we were really moving enough and personally, I found the sleep tracker really eye opening as well.

They’re not for everyone, I get it. And just because I own one doesn’t mean I’m getting my 10,000 steps a day like I know I should. But it does help keep me accountable. And small changes and improvements are better than no changes at all. As I type this, mine is laying dead and sad in the bathroom – I have been slacking lately and need to throw it back in the charger. Baby steps.

Anyway, I really like it except for the fact that it’s not the fashion statement I would typically choose to make. I ordered the bright pink replacement band, and that helps some. But I’m not ready to shell out the hundreds of dollars for the designer Fitbit bracelets that are just hitting the market and I just wish it looked better sometimes.

And then I saw this pop up in my news feed on Facebook today: Cuff Activity Tracker

I was weak guys. I clicked. And it was kind of awesome. Admittedly, the basic cuff band looks similar to my Flex, but what I’m really excited about are the other bracelet options. Which actually look like – wait for it – BRACELETS. Not just a rubber wrist band, but stylish arm candy.


photo via The Verge

Now that’s not really enough to sucker me into trying this out and comparing it my Flex. I don’t need two trackers. BUT, the element that really caught my attention is the emergency alert feature. Basically, you press a button on the bracelet, and it sends out an SOS.

From the Cuff site:

The Cuff app will alert the people you designate as your “first responders” when you need help. You can program one person or your entire Facebook network as your “first responders.” Cuff will send your SOS to the people you choose, and it will not stop until someone responds. Your designated people will receive your location, live audio, and other relevant information to get you (or your loved one) the help you need.

This appeals to me as a woman. Which I know is exactly what they were going for – just call me the ultimate consumer. I have probably watched one too many episodes of Criminal Minds, but I do think about what I would do in the whole “trapped in the trunk of a car without my phone” scenario. You know, after I peed myself.

For single women out at the bars or walking to their cars alone at night, it’s not a bad idea, even if it was designed as a marketing hook. As someone who carries a taser because I’ve been followed/threatened once or twice, I’m probably a little more aware of these things. But I have to say, it has me considering a test run. If it can hold up to the functionality of my Fitbit while offering more stylish options and a “get out of trunk free” card, I might be switching teams.