Laughing and Losing It

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Birth of Jacob Leonce Arceneaux

Little baby Jacob is now 7 months and already scooting himself into new adventures and head bumps around the house. (He thuds into the wall when he misjudges how far his roll will take him to the left or right).  Much has happened in his young life including a long journey with his family across our great nation.  Because of this burst of activity, I haven't found the time to record the story of his birth until now.  How do I remember?  Well, I took notes (in-between contractions) with a time-table of events.   I can't put together baby books or even scrap books to save my life, but each of my babies have a detailed account of how they entered this world, and Jacob is no exception.   

If you are uneasy about the particulars of childbirth, you may quit reading now.  

My due date was set around March 11 to March 14.  But I was quite done on Monday March 4th and thought from the beginning that the dates were a little off.  So I prayed to have my baby soon.  It was that time in a pregnancy when the house is clean, the nursery is set, the car seat is in place and the only things missing are baby and mom's sanity.  I tried a certain labor induction method in the morning, ehhem, and then went about my day as usual.  I even ventured out with my little almost-2-year-old to get her a few pairs of shoes at Famous Footwear.  I tried to ignore my behemoth reflection in the upward tilted shoe-mirrors because it was really scary.  And the sympathetic/knowing/aghast stares of strangers were mirror enough to say that I WAS HUGE. 

Soon after dinner I started to feel little twinges.  hmmm.   At 7 p.m. I announced to my family, "I'm getting weird contractions, I'll be on the treadmill until this baby is out!"  I start slowly, then think about my predicament and increase the speed.  (I tell you, I could run a marathon right before my baby is born).  I did intense, speed-walking, pregnant cardio for nearly 2 hours.  I stopped when it really started to hurt.  I downloaded an app to track contractions (THere's an APP for that!).  By 10:00 PM they were about 5 minutes apart, but not very intense.  So I decide to bide my time by watching some light-hearted netflix--a documentary about medicated children and diagnosing bipolar.  Soothing. 

The pain increased, and I debate whether or not I should go into labor and delivery.   I turn off the depressing background noise and quietly, yet hurriedly, get things ready for the chance that I will have to go to the hospital. I arrange girls' outfits, car-seats, and the school backpack.  I call the nurse and have to stop talking during contractions.  She says to come in when contractions are three minutes apart.  I head to the bathtub and hum during the worst of the contractions and keep the water hot, refilling the tub when it turns Luke-warm.  Between contractions I laugh to myself about how much my birthing hum mimics a Gregorian chant.  My darling husband needs his beauty sleep, so I was not going to wake him until I knew it was time.  And I hate being sent home from the hospital, so I was going to WAIT  IT OUT!

After an hour or so of bathtub humming, around 1 am, I dry off and pace around the house.  I use the toilet and discover thick, blood-mixed goo.  The Mucus Plug.  It was no joke anymore.  I woke my husband, called my dear friend who agreed to be our night-watch person, and ran around crazy gathering last-minute pillows, and cell phone chargers.  My husband is nervous and my manic grabbing doesn't help, so he orders me out to the car.  Of course it is locked and I do not have the keys, so in-between my contractions I take a moment to absorb my surroundings.  The night was peaceful with a blanket of fog hugging our street.   I breathed in the simplicity of a beautiful night knowing that my life was going to change again forever. 

When we arrived at the hospital, the man at the ER desk asked what was ailing me.  My face twisted with a new contraction and I point to my stomach because I couldn't talk.  "It's time, eh?"  He gets me into a nice wheelchair, which I can't help but notice is behemoth-sized, and I fill out paperwork while they wheel me to labor and delivery triage.  (This is where you go to make sure you are REALLY in labor).  My crazy hormones were worried that they would not hear my baby's heartbeat.  There was no basis for this worry, but as many women know, the hormones that surround childbirth can take over any sane thoughts and create thoughts of their own.  I peed in the cup and put on the most hideous green-print, backless gown that looked like it could have been a wall-paper at the "Max" in an early episode of "Saved by The Bell."  The nurse attaches the belly monitors and I hear a steady, strong heartbeat and I break and cry.  See crazy hormones, you were wrong, baby is fine! 

The nurse assigned to me was so gentle and had a voice like a shy child.  Then it was time for CHECKING.  She dug in and it felt like she was scraping shards of bone from my abdomen.  It will be over soon,  I think, writhing.  "I need someone with longer fingers!!"  I wanted to scream.   So Edna Scissor-Fingers comes to examine me, I actually shriek it hurt so bad, and she declares me a 4 or a 5!  I knew at that point I was going to stay and would soon meet my baby. 

They must have done something in there because after those exams, my contractions REALLY kicked in.  You do odd things when you are in pain.  My coping was reaching for the heavens, like a lady feeling it at a Gospel concert, while making eeewwwwooooooo noises similar to the ones used by the speech therapist on My Fair Lady.  Then I started spouting Mormon-brand swear words really loud.  My husband was getting a kick out of it I could tell, because I am usually a pretty easy-going non-loud lady.  "I thought we agreed to a silent birth," he said.  I started laughing hysterically and he looked a little scared and relieved at the same time that I got his joke.   As soon as they gave me the official news that I would be admitted, I asked about the anesthesiologist and the speed at which they respond to epidural requests. 

Around 2: 40 a.m. they wheeled me into the delivery room.  I was so excited and in pain and weary at the same time.  It was happening so fast.  The nurse administering my IV asked if my husband and I if we were Mormon.  We said yes, and she said she could tell.  (She was a Mormon herself).  "It's cause I didn't cuss during my contractions??"  And we had a good chuckle.  Then another BIG contraction takes over.  "Weeeeeee oooooooo weeeeeeeee ooooooo," I holler.   I put on my makeup because I knew I only had a short window.  I didn't have time for makeup with my last birth.  Doesn't seem important but it made me feel pretty at a time when I was so exposed and so HUGE! 

At 3:30 the anesthesiologist begins the first poke for my epidural.  I am still and completely bent over as she rummages around my spinal corn.  At 3:40 I feel immense pressure, like a balloon inflating in my crotch, then an audible POP!  "Um, I think my water broke,"  I say.  "It's ok, don't worry," said the nurse.  The warm gush of liquid surrounded  me and soaked the entire bed.  "Yeah, but is going EVERYWHERE!  ...sorry!"  I felt like a kid who awoke covered in pee forced to approach mom to tell her the news.  This was my first experience with the waters breaking on their own and I was not prepared for the volume.  "Is it supposed to be yellow?"  I ask.  "Well, usually it is clear, there is likely meconium in the fluid, so we'll have to take a close look at baby when he's here."  Great.  A new thought for my hormones to multiply until I'm convinced that this yellow goo will be the death of me and my child. 

By 3:50 I'm feeling tingly all over and ready for a nap.  And at 3:55 a.m. I have my first pain-free contraction.  Siggghhhhh.  By 4:00, I am 70 % effaced but only dilated to a 5. (to be honest with you, I still don't know what effacement is, maybe I'll look it up before baby 4 comes along).  Scott is feeding me ice chips as I bask in the glory of my epidural and I let out a grandmother-wind.  "Looks like I'm losing control!"  I declare.  At 4:30 Scott heads home to relieve our dear friend taking care of the girls and I request some anti-nausea stuff because the epidural is making me queasy.  I fade into a glorious nap. 

I wake up at 6:35 and talk to Ally, my oldest on the phone.  She says in a sleepy voice, "Mom,  I'm excited, I can't wait to meet my baby brother!!   I'll have to tell my teacher today;  she told me to tell her when my brother comes."  I speak with Ashley and she simply exclaims, "Baby!" At  6:47 the nurses place fetal monitors in the womb to get better readings, and by 6:52 I am completely effaced with a -1 position.  (I am lying if I pretend I know what that means) Scott returns to the hospital at 7:05.

At 7:10 I call my Dad. "Dad, I'm in labor!"  He pulls the phone away from his mouth and shouts, "Mom, Bean is in labor!"  He sounded as excited as if it were his first grandchild, not his 72nd.  (I'll have to check my sources for that number, because frankly, I've lost count).  My heart is full and my mom keeps saying "Ohhh, wow, Bina, wow!"  The nurse checks me at 7:35 and says I am ready to have my baby.

I had to wait with my little boy right THERE until the Dr. came.  It was 20 minutes of excruciating pressure.  I was squeezing the life out of my husband's hand ready for it all to be over!  My Dr. comes in, gowns up and tells me I can push with my next contraction.   In 30 seconds the head is out and my contraction stops.  "Do you mind if I keep pushing?"  He said sure and one push later my baby boy was born. 
I didn't get a good look at him because they whisked him away to make sure he was breathing well enough on his own.  The respiratory therapist was in the room managing the group of about 6 people working on my boy. 

I was frozen in absolute terror for 10 minutes.  When they pronounced him well and placed him in my arms I completely melted.  I held him and I could breathe again.  I sobbed for 10 minutes cradling my angel.  He was here, he was perfect, and my heart changed forever, for the third time.  Welcome to your new home Jacob Leonce Arceneaux.  You are absolutely loved.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


You know you are not cool anymore when you have to look up facebook acronyms on the online urban dictionary.  I have to do this often.  I am not cool.  For example, I had to look up ROFL.  For some reason, I tried reading it phonetically and it came out as RALPH--like throw up.  you want me to throw up about it?  That's not right!  THEN it got me thinking.  Since many people don't really know what acronyms stand for,  (I know there are more of you hiding in the not-cool closet!) why not use them to say things that you wish you could say on facebook, but don't because it isn't polite. Here are a few facebook acronyms I created along with an explanation for when their use is most appropriate.  Enjoy. 

A friend posts a picture of their getaway to some paradise:  "WOW, WIMLMITBTGAFK! YLIBTML!"    Translation--  Wow, I must lock myself in the bathroom to get away from kids!  Your life is better than my life!

When you share something you have accomplished:  "LWICD!"  Look what I can do! 

When someone constantly posts radical ideas (from EITHER side).  "IWICFSY!"  I wish I could facebook-slap you!

You get another invite to play a facebook game:  "IAHAFFG, ICFS."  --  I already have a fun facebook game, It's called Facebook Stalking. 

Your loved one posts a REALLY awkward selfie:  " TID.  T.  ICSTCILY."  Take it down.  Terrible.  I can say that cause I love you. 

When you get some really opinionated responses to a light-hearted comment:  "YNTUYP!"  You need to untwist your panties! 

When you over-post pictures of your adorable baby:  " IOWMKAIDC!"   I'm obsessed with my kid and I don't care!

When you get invited to like an acquaintance from high-school's business page: "YWAOSN!"  You were always obnoxious, so no. 

When you really, really, actually like a cute picture of a friend or their kid: " IMTFLT!"  I more than facebook-like this! 

When you have to unfriend or block someone because of offensive posts write: " IGW.  LNBRFE. "  It's getting weird.  Let's not be real friends either. 

When something amazing happens to someone you really care about:  "AAAAAAAAAAAA"  translated--AAAAAAAAAAAAA

When you are lonely and haven't had any of the little red numbers show up on your facebook page, write on your own wall:  SS  DS A!  Say something,  Do something, ANYTHING! 

When you are feeling just slightly superior:  "MLIBTYL"  My life is better than your life. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dear Yappy Dogs

Dear Yappy Dogs,

I am writing to address our daily confrontation when I walk my daughter to school.  I understand barking the first time we pass, but it has been nearly two months now, and I’m tired of it.  I promise that me, my double jogger, 6-month-old, 2-year-old, and 6-year-old are no threat to you or your household.  Maybe I should share a doggie treat with you.  But maybe your owner only feeds you gluten-free and organic dog food.  I know I get really cranky without my carbs, is that why you bark little dogs?  I know!  Our old neighbor’s dog loved digging in the garbage for fresh diaper-wrapped baby poops.  I’ll throw baby Jacob’s finest poop over the fence, but you might prefer 2-year-old poop—a treat for you that is completely home grown!  They say dogs can sense evil, YOU KNOW ABOUT TWO-YEAR-OLD TANTRUMS!! Or maybe you can tell that some mornings I am stressed.  Can dogs smell stress?  Maybe you know that sometimes when you snarl at my darlings I want to roundhouse kick you across the yard.  And maybe you know that with my current muscle tone, my roundhouse kick would be exactly 1 foot off the ground—perfectly on target to get you right in the mouth.  Sorry.  That wasn't nice.  But neither is barking at small children.  Where is your owner?  If I had dogs who regularly barked at nice people, I would give them serious doggie time outs.  Maybe I should stand beside your fence and wait until your owner takes an innocent stroll to the door and start barking and drooling all over myself when he least expects it.  THAT WILL TEACH HIM!  I’d really like to be friendly, but you are making it very hard. 



Thursday, September 19, 2013

A blog post about a blog post

I've had the idea rolling around in my mind about starting a website with funny somethings on it.  I have this little blog, but I was thinking of a real, money-making, pinterest-faking mommy website!   Then I thought about my babies and how they need me and how I tend to be obsessive about my projects.  Not to mention when you have your own website it is like being in charge of a magazine where you are the publisher, editor, photographer, web-designer, PR representative, quality-control person, advertising person,  writing person, CRAZY person.  And in this click-click-click world of ours, an article can be forgotten in minutes, so you have to POST like a crazy person to keep up with the competition.  Nope.  Not for me.  I'm happy to have this poorly designed little blog where I write my somethings.  But...

It has always been a dream of mine to be a PAID writer.  I started to research from-home writing jobs (you know you are loading viruses on your computer when you click on work-from-home ads).  I even created a profile at  All of the projects posted seemed a little scary and my resume has been blank for the last 6 years (that is if you are with the majority of the workforce who believe child-rearing is NOT a resume-worthy job!!).   So, I nix the Elance staletto-wearing New York jobs and look for something a little smaller, more for a sweat-pants, flip-flips mom in North Central Florida. 

I contact the owner of a couponing blog I have been following about a job opening.  She says I am too far for the job but she may be able to use me to write content.  I wasn't going to let this chance pass by.  I IMMEDIATLY wrote her back with an article proposal.  She gave me the go-ahead but said "The key to good recipe posts is good pictures."  AAAAHHHHHHH!  Self, you can do this, forget about all of your ipad snap-shot, grainy photos and step up to the plate!  Sooo I dust off my husband's camera and foot-long lens which cost 2x our rent in dental school which he used take gorey pictures of patients' mouths.  Not this time camera, no more shoving you into the scary mouths of strangers, you're going to make us famous!  

I pull together a little recipe using Pillsbury crescent rolls and literally PRAY that it will taste good.  The first try was dumplings with crescent roll dough--it was spit-out terrible.  DONT GIVE UP...THINK...THINK...THINK!  Something savory.  Something that is easy to make and relatively inexpensive.  I combine a few classic casserole recipes swimming in my head and come up with Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites.  I THROW it together, writing my measured ingredients on a grease-stained scrap paper as I go, and again PRAY that it will taste good.  They did! It has to look good too.  Egg wash!!  My sisters, many genius cookers, inspired me with this little one.  You wash the pastry with a little egg white/water mix to make it look SHINY!  It worked.  Meanwhile I am still mothering.  Jacob poops, Ashley poops, and I wash my hands in-between ingredients and poop thanking heaven that readers couldn't SMELL in the picture.   Chicken Cordon-Poop Bites aren't usually a reader favorite. 

Then I take pictures.  Luckily husband left the camera on auto focus otherwise I's have blurry Chicken poop rolls.  The pictures turned out ok.  It needed something.  Dear Top Chef, I've wasting many hours watching you, now it's your turn to inspire a D-blogger.  A SPRIG, I NEEDED A SPRIG.   I didn't have anything leafy and bright green, I only had the questionably-dated green onions I used in the recipe.  These would have to do.  I start husking them, like corn.  Pulling away layer and layer of nasty until I found the perfect little artistic flare of an onion sprig to accent my plate.  snap. snap. snap. 

I manipulated the final crescent roll so many times to deem it inedible.  But the audience would be eating with their eyes!  You can find the final photo at  !

My hat is off to those moms who have blogs with perfect everything.  It takes hard, hard work to make things look nice.  And you really have to earn an audience's my little bun that looked like it was vomiting ham-goop would not gain their trust.  OR inspire them to cook.  So I tried, and tried again.  Until I had something nice to look at.  I sent my pics and my quick recipe to the blog owner and she said it was perfect.  Just what she was looking for.  Wheewwww.  The money would be in my PayPal account by nighttime.  Wow, I am tired, my kitchen is a mess, and there is a little ham-goop on pricey camera, but guess what guys, I'm a PAID writer.  Dream big, start small...that's the lesson for today. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


When Ally was 2, I bought a Santa sleigh craft kit which would serve as a great mommy-daughter activity and be an excellent little decoration for Christmas time.   It was one of those kits that came with 100s of little foam stickers and larger pieces that would be put together with careful attention and a little bit of glue.  The package said ages 6+ but I didn't think they knew MY daughter.  When I dumped the supplies on the cleared table, Ally quickly reached for the glue.  "No, no we have to wait and see which pieces go together.  First let's decorate the sleigh parts with the stickers, then we will glue the sleigh together," I corrected.   I applied the gold sparkle swirls that accented each side of the bright red sleigh.  As I moved to other pieces, Ally was stealthily pulling off the long, golden swirlies that I had just applied and stretched them into the air.  The sparkles shed from the foam and eventually the coils snapped.  "No, we need to keep those stickers on the sleigh," I encouraged.   She looked at me like "Stretching the stickers is more fun mom!"  I reverted her attention to the little bottle of white glue that came in the packet.  "Here Ally,  We will use this to put the big pieces together. "  I helped her place little dots of glue in the joints of the sleigh.  She did pretty well at first, then became transfixed by the squeezing of the glue and how it poured into a glob on whatever surface she held it over.   "Please don't do that with the glue."

She lost interest and went to something else.  I guess she could tell that this was MY craft and I was insistent on doing it MY way.  After I spent 1.5 hours putting the whole thing together, I felt bad and asked, "Would you like to paint the sleigh?"  She gleefully accepted and dipped the brush into puddles of blues, reds, yellows, and purples until the sleigh looked like a camp craft that had been dipped in warm poop. 

I have learned to KISS!  No, not the lipsmacking kind, or even the band with the scary makeup and tongue faces.  I'm talking about a little acronym I learned from my sweetheart husband.  K.I.S.S.  "Keep It Simple, Stupid."  When I have something I want to accomplish, especially when it involves small children, just keep it simple.  It has taken three kids and a few years to learn this.  My children don't care about the glitter, they care about spending time with mom. 

It has been hectic at home.  When I feel stretched to my limit with everything I have to do, and the guilt settles in that although I've done the dishes, laundry, feeding, clothing, I may have not really CONNECTED with my children that day, I do one simple thing.  I get down on the ground to see them at eye level.  Then we do, just, whatever.  Today Ashley and I played a game of catch with a baby toy from a yard sale.  I helped her load her little box with all of her precious things she calls her "Colors," which include nail polish and an array of highlighters.  And Ally just likes to talk.  She drew some pictures and told me about her half-alien-half-octopus creature who had a half-spider-half-dog for a pet. 

The girls really do like crafts.  So we do them, but I don't get upset when Ashley unwinds the ribbon, and when Ally veers off the path of bow-making into something else--I just stay on the ground and enjoy. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Mama Proud

I have a confession to make.  I have purposefully withheld certain pictures from facebook because of, well, let's call it what it is: VANITY!  When I was pregnant with my second child I even ASKED a relative to remove a picture because I looked so huge.  I was contemplating my other blog post about bad pictures being beautiful, and I had some acute cognitive dissonance.  How can I tell my daughters to be proud of their individuality, and even their imperfections when I hide pictures of myself because I am afraid of what an acquaintance from high school might say about my size?  It does not compute.

I find the way our celebrity culture handles pregnancy and baby weight absolutely appalling.  Headlines like "Dumped at 200 lbs!", "Kim can't stop eating!", "BABY WEIGHT BATTLES" (NEXT TO A PICTURE OF KATE MIDDLETON!).   Some celebrities gain weight when they are pregnant, because they are REAL, HUMAN, PEOPLE!  They are not immune to imperfections and baby pounds just because of their ridiculous status in society. 

I don't think it is right to be unhealthy or lazy--the risks of pregnancy hypertension and gestational diabetes are real.  But each body handles pregnancy differently.   I don't get  a cute basketball protruding from an otherwise slim frame.   I get wide, I get lumpy, and I have several roadmaps of stretch marks to show for each pregnancy.  And after the baby is born?  I usually gain 10 pounds while breastfeeding.  But I get to have children-- a dream that many woman save, sacrifice, and only hope for. A changed body is a slim price to pay for the beauty and joy of meeting my baby for the first time.  

So here I am.  Nine Months pregnant with my third child--on the treadmill trying to induce labor.  I wasn't trying to be funny with my mid-rift, it was how my exercise top fit me at that point.  I am no longer ashamed of how I look, but I am NOT an exhibitionist!  Hence, the little shade-shirt addition (added with professional photo software Microsoft Paint).  
This photo is for you ladies who do not fit into maternity clothes at the end of your pregnancy or after your pregnancy, for those who are asked if you are having twins with 10 weeks before baby is due, for those who work their butts off (a year or longer) to get even a PORTION of their old body back, and for those who think they are the only ones who don't look cute pregnant.  Remember that you are beautiful, you are not alone, and everything you have gone through is absolutely worth it.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Green Apron Ladies and The Big UGLY Mishap

There was a new coupon for Bath and Body Works.  So I loaded up my kids with a few saved pennies ready to buy some delicate smelling loveliness.  THIS HUMID SUMMER IS INHUMANE, and let's just say it makes me look and SMELL anything but delicate.  A girl still wants to feel like a girl in this jungle called Florida!! 

We were a little disheveled to say the least.  Ashley had crusted something on her face and I wasn't about to have the hair-brush fight with Ally to go to the mall (we save that fight for school and church).  And Jacob, my sweet handsome baby boy, is perpetually covered in spit-up.  They are my babies and I love them no matter how goobered, and everyone else will love them too!  I didn't even look at myself in the mirror because I am a good person and super charming and it doesn't matter what I look like...

We run to the back of the store where the little-bitty bottles of hand-sanitizer are stationed in glorious, overflowing Plexiglas bowls.  Sparkles, scent-beads, and shimmer dotted the maze of bottles  in every girl color you could imagine.  "Ok, you can each pick five," I tell my little ladies.  As they ogled over all of the possibilities, I noticed several workers looking up from other duties to inspect us in the sani-corner.  I smiled at each of them, and they turned away.  Ok, fine. 

"We need BAGS mom!"  Ally says.  We were going to make this a complete Bath and Body Works experience with mesh baggies for each shopper!  I hand a bag to Ally.  "No MOM! THESE bags!"  Ally says holding up the cute paper-handled bags for which Bath and Body Works is famous.  They usually give the bags at the cash register when they wrap product in pretty paper, but these were just sitting in a pile, next to the lotions so I figured why not.  The girls frantically put their beautiful sanitizer gels in their own little bags.  The stares intensify.  And then I feel the woosh of green aprons converge upon us.     

A 50-something employee woman with an angry-looking, tight-curled, boy-short haircut looks at my Ally square in the face and says, "Have you PAID for those!?" All of the weird stares finally sink in.  They think I'm a shoplifter!  They think I'm using my babies to steal stuff!   I laugh at her misunderstanding and say, "Oh no, we are about to, the girls are so excited to have their own bags!"  The evil look in her face and formidable stance between me and the store exit said she was not buying it!  "OK girls, We are making people nervous here," I say with emphasis toward angry-haircut-lady, "Let's put the bags away so people know we are NOT stealing."  They obey knowing something is serious. 

All the other apron ladies look on.  I want to scream "I'M GOING TO THE CASH REGISTER TO PAY FOR MY STUFF WITH MONEY I EARNED, MONEY I EARNED HONESTLY!  I WENT TO COLLEGE!  I WENT TO MORMON COLLEGE!  I DRIVE A TOYOTA CORROLA! "  Instead, I say, "Ok girls, time to PAY for our stuff."  Boy-bouffant woman seemed satisfied and huffed away.

I complete the transaction with a less-scary college age girl.  "I have to ask you, I know this is a little weird, but do you guys get a lot of shoplifters in here? You guys were all staring at me really closely."  She says that they actually do, and it is difficult to prosecute because the store is so crowded with many little things people can just pocket.  "We can tell who they are though, so we just watch them really closely..."  AWWWk-WAARRD.  "Um, well thanks, have a good day," I offer.  Ashley starts screaming because Ally is grabbing her bag (SANCTIONED bag this time).  The scream scares Jacob and he starts to cry.  The nervous apron-people stares become agitated stares, and I shout "THIS TRAIN WRECK IS LEAVING!"  I was out the door with my integrity, and a little less of my dignity. 

That was so wierd, I think to myself.  I can't look THAT bad.  When I get home I check myself in the mirror and crack up in laughter.   A bit of charm was not going to help me that day.  The people thought I was a shop-lifting meth-head because I looked like a shop-lifting meth-head.  It was a perfect moment to spruce up, with paid-for Bath and Body Works goodies, and feel like a lady again.