Thursday, June 2, 2016

Guess Who's the Worldwide MS Fashion Icon? (Yep, ME!)

Sound the trumpets: I have glorious news to share!!! I've recently been named named myself an the MS FASHION ICON, thanks to a brand-new cooling vest.

I know what you're thinking: the word "VEST" belongs nowhere near a sentence also containing the words "fashion" and "icon" (unless that sentence is "Former self-proclaimed and widely disputed fashion icon Ms. CrankyPants was found in a drunken, disheveled state, covered in her own feces and, tragically, wearing a soiled plaid vest.").

Clearly, I need to explain. As probably all of you with MS know, summertime heat is a bitch. It can make us sluggish, cranky, and weak. Oh, wait -- that's me on a normal day! No, seriously, folks, the heat is terrible when you have MS. Everyone's experiences are different, but I have:

  • nearly passed out (actual MEDICS were called; super embarrassing)
  • had ringing in my ears
  • felt weak to the point of having trouble walking
  • experienced double vision

All of these symptoms are temporary, thank god, but any one of them can make going outside when it's hot suck. ENTER THE COOL VEST! Yes, such a garment exists. And it's literally a vest that provides cooling relief from the crappy sun! How does this little miracle occur? It depends on the vest, as I learned. In an completely unbiased fashion (see what I did there?), I will share the high- and low-lights of two varieties so you can decide if a cool vest is for you!

First, some questions:

  1. Are you comfortable being the center of attention?
  2. Are you a fan of Steve Irwin (RIP)?
  3. Do you love the "Safari Look"?
  4. Would you be okay with being detained for wearing what appears to be suicide-bomber attire?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, have I got a cool vest for you!

Ta-da! Let's go to a swanky outdoor party! 
I am not naming brands, because I don't know if I could get in trouble, but this is what I refer to as THE MOST HIDEOUS THING I EVER WORE ON PURPOSE (TMHTIEWOP). Those red and blue checked pants my mom forced me into when I was four don't count. TMHTIEWOP requires one to freeze roughly 83 packs of ice and cram them into the many, many glam pockets. 
It's fun to wrestle with twisted, frozen blocks of ice!
Not ENTIRELY the ice blocks' fault that I have a minuscule freezer, but I blame them anyway. 
TMHTIEWOP with packs (can't account for the gray blobby thing, which I must have tucked into one of the pockets in a fugue state brought on by extreme heat or embarrassment).

The main drawback of this vest (apart from the obvious) is that the ice melts, quickly, when it's hot enough for you to you say "f*** it, I don't CARE what I look like as long as I'm not broiling hot!" And once that ice melts, you are -- as I was at a festival last summer -- left wearing a heavy, soggy, chocolate-ice-cream-drip spotted vest that security guards and, oh, every other festival-goer look at askance.

Summer is rolling around again, and I was displeased at the idea of relying on TMHTIEWOP to get me through outdoor events. Then! A revelation! I used this thing called "google" to look up alternatives. Guess what? There is more than one variety of cooling vest on the planet! I must have known this at one point (like, when I bought the first one), but perhaps I was unsure that I'd use it, so I opted for one of the more budget-friendly vests. Whatever. The point is -- there's actually an ATTRACTIVE cooling vest you can find using "google."
This is the back side (hahahaha). Seriously, if you have to wear one, how cute is that? 
Look at it! LOOK AT IT!!!!
The front is pretty utilitarian, but the belt thingy gives one a shape that actually resembles a human body.
The Coolture vest (I swear I'm not getting paid) also uses packs to keep it, uh, cool, but they are small and easy to manipulate into the well-concealed pockets.

They look like large-ish ravioli, but their official name is CoolPak.
I'm too lazy to try to rewrite the details, but according to the Coolture website, the CoolPaks are "similar to dry ice...freeze colder than ice or gel, and remain colder than ice or gel." 

Oh! And the Cooling Vest With Graphic variety (the hummingbird is one of several designs) comes with a free cooling headband!
This looks...inappropriate (oh, it's just me?!). But here's the CoolPak being inserted into the headband.
You're going to have to trust me: the headband is pretty cute. And it feels freaking FAB! The cooling part rests at the back of your head. I've been outside for an hour or so with just the headband (OKAY, and clothes, pervs) without dissolving into a whiny, cranky heap.

I read here about programs that help people afford vests. This might apply to U.S. residents only, but hopefully there are similar programs in other countries. The ActiveMSers' reviews of cooling vests helped me choose the CoolTure vest. 

Here's hoping you all stay cool. And, most importantly, cool

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Cat Superhighway to HELL

In our ever-hopeful effort to keep the goddamn cats happy, my husband and I just shelled out a rather large amount of money for some wooden shelves. WAIT. These aren't ordinary shelves; no, sir. They are, in aggregate, a Mother-F***ing CAT SUPERHIGHWAY (MFCSH). So, obviously, they are worth the cost, no matter how exorbitant. That's what I keep telling myself (and my continually-about-to-divorce-me husband).

I saw a setup like these on Jackson Galaxy's show (which is totally not to say what I've done here is at all endorsed by him, so please don't sue me, Mr. Galaxy). The cats on the show -- formerly implacable enemies -- were alternately lounging and cavorting on the shelves. The idea is that the MFCSH gives cats a whole new area to explore and get the hell away from each other if/when needed. Or, better yet, the MFCSH offers a new level on which the cats can race around and chase each other PLAYFULLY. At least, that was my hope. Here are a couple of the shelves after my husband spent hours painstakingly arranging them.

The colorful string is my addition -- a LURE, if you will, to get the cats up and cavorting. 

The detritus on this one is ANOTHER LURE: catnip! Who could resist? 
Okay, empty shelves aren't as good as shelves with lounging/gallivanting cats, so I'll show you the amazing MFCSH in action:

Here come the cats! The arrows show you where they SHOULD be.

Yay! There's Squeaky! She loves the string! 

And, look -- it's Capt. Nap! "MMMMM! Is this catnip?"

Awwww, little Peeper loves to lounge on this MFCSH shelf! 
So there you have it -- our MFCSH is a roaring success. Oh, wait -- what's this?

Why, it's Chewbacca! He's a toy I bought years ago that no one played with. He sits at the launching pad/cat tree, just under the MFCSH. What a rude comment! 
In case it isn't ABUNDANTLY clear, the cats scorn the MFCSH. In fact, here's Squeaky lazing on the couch directly opposite the MFCSH. Yes, she's yawning in my face. Jerk.