Been A While

I am a snowflake.  I melt easily.  However, it was not Trump, who overheated me but Hillary. I was ready to give up blogging entirely if her kleptocracy came into full power. If that happened, I felt I should basically  live like mole.  She was not elected. All was not safe, but I am peaking out of my hole, and maybe will do what I think this blog can do. If you feel this way now that Trump won, I want YOU to know I understand that fear and concern.  I have felt it for the last eight years as what I cared about was degraded and disrespected more and more, so that wearing a cross or a miraculous medal to a public pool or even to a grocery store became a controversial situation.  I have been looked up and down, and sneered at and snorted at by an imam who was in my grocery store to wave his hand over the on sale chicken. (I have no understanding of what he accomplished or disrespect for his prayers.  I do resent being snorted at for possibly my obvious medal. )  But still just being who I am bugs some people.  As fat woman, I know that. As a tall woman, desperately trying to be a normal size, I even knew it.   Now please don’t hate me just because I was one of the about 50 percent in the country who did not vote for Hillary.  She scared me.  I am sorry if you are scared of Trump.  Do not be scared of the rest of the people in this country.   We all want a good country.  We all hope for a good country. We will all watch him, and the rest of the federal government like a hawk.  We must.  We Should.  We will.

I NEED to blog now and blog about my need to survive and thrive despite weighing in at a weight other people would not believe.  Somehow I allowed the anxiety of my concern for the future to block my perception of what was happening with my eating. I gained a lot of weight since I quit writing, which for me is a medical problem.  Getting healthy will require attention, and writing will help it.  It will also require me to stay sane and hopeful in this world slanted against large sized people. Why do we battle people for things that are quite difficult to change, like the religion they were born in, or the obvious issues with obesity they suffer, or even worse, the length and width of the DNA dictated Bone Structure they have.  (You will be okay if you only would lose twenty pounds they told my younger, undernourished to the point of hormonal irregularity self.)  I hope this NEED of mine to write, will help others with their own battles. And I hope it will help me find clothes that fit and chairs that work with my knees.

Honorah Mellarick 2017

Home and Thoughts on Flying

3-8-16 Home again and the return trip, thanks to Spirit’s the Big Front Seat was much much comfortable.  First of all my trip was great. The warm weather there and coming home to the snow melting and spring birds chirping is wonderful. You all have read that there are people who have hidden in tiny boxes and endured suffering in travel to escape a miserable situation.  Flying Spirit to Florida, I have sympathy for what they endured for a chance of  better things! In fact maybe the PAIN makes the promised land sweeter, maybe?  The rewards were great- the beach will inspire me forever. It is worth it to go to Florida.  Probably worth it to go other places like the Islands or the west or even Europe.  It was a suffering.  First of all I was patted down by TSA again, as the x-ray obviously is concerned my abdominal adipose is contraband.  I swear it is fat, and if you want it, you can lipo it!  The Fort Myers TSA agent was kind and full of gentle explanation.  She was very good at making this embarrassing irritation non-intrusive, despite the public situation.  It is small and gentle kindnesses that really help the world out, and I will remember her sweet southern charm.

Tall Man relaxes on Big Front Seat
Only the front seat on Spirit is for Tall or Large people.

The big front seat on Spirit is worth it, IF you truly get the FRONT seat and not the second seat which is sometimes labeled big.  They overcharge for the second seat however, which is worthless, and is not perceivably better than regular tiny seats.  The front seat however was wonderful. On our flight home, the plane was larger, an airbus, and the second seat was only two, instead of three like on my flight down, so perhaps a half inch or so wider.

Tall man crammed in Row 2
Row 2 is a not a big seat for a Tall man.

There was a very large though  short gentleman in the window seat row 2.  It would be seat 2A.  Despite the hopeful but in-observable tiny possibility his seat was a bit wider than mine was on my To Vacation Flight,  his leg room was horrible.  He had short legs and he was suffering.  Sometimes he breathed so heavy I thought he was going to have an asthma attack, and I could do nothing but pray for him. I cannot understand how the stewards and stewardesses can take looking at their customers in pain like that.  On the way down, my 17.5 inch seat was very crammed. It was not just awkward, it hurt.  It did not just hurt-it caused bruising on my leg I had to see when I swam the next week.  Since then I have met three other people who were on the heavy side who claimed to have serious bruising FROM THE ARMRESTS.   I have a picture of the bruising, and I believe it is made by the end of arm rest jamming into my legs. The picture below shows the armrest pressing in my leg and it is a square shaped bruise. I have two bruises, of the same size, spaced about an inch apart, probably for ascent and descent.  (Even astronauts are not supposed to be that bruised up! If a representative from Spirit would like to contact me, I would be happy to send the pic. ) On the way back with the Big Front Seats, the seats were much more luxurious, in the front, 22.5 inch wide.  Lots of leg room and lots of depth in the seat. The seats could recline on this airbus, which sure was not great for Row 2 and we out of respect, did not recline.  A reclining front seat was part of the suffering endured by the man in 2A. Spirit is prejudiced against larger people in a way that should be legally challenged.

Leg room and seat width in row 1 of Spirit
Leg room and seat width in row 1 of Spiritan in seat 1d, the big front seat-wonderful!
uncomfortable Spirit Airline seat
The belt buckled but legs were in pain and could not move- seat 2A

My tall man says bathroom was a fail.  He could not stand up making matters difficult.  I found the shape big enough for my width but it took all my nimbleness to turn around with the door close.  My round friend seemed upset leaving the bathroom. May have even been stuck in it somehow for a while.  Might be better to turn about BEFORE closing the door. On the way back, we used better planning and less fluids to avoid the necessity.  I joined some kind of Spirit club when making by flight plans, and closed my membership after I was safely home.  I am expecting better out of other airlines.  Spirit needs to understand that Greyhound buses are much more comfortable than their flights.  Actually  even the local bus system is much more comfortable, cleaner and polite. The programmed jokes made by their attendants are tasteless, and worse a second time around. Does Spirit have much repeat business?

In short, they will deliberately put a woman inquiring about seat size into the worse seat on the flight so they can get her to refuse to fly when the booking is tight.  Spirit will overbook and has the worse record for reimbursement for compensating bumped passengers. In addition the extra financial cost for being large on the two trips was approximately 100 dollars for reserving large seating going down, which was bumped for my CPAP and cane need, but nice to have on the BIG SEATS coming back.  It was an additional 60 dollars for both of us to share a suitcase, as it is impossible to fit large clothing, including large shoes and sandals, in a personal bag even using the best of packing tricks.  There was a total extra 160 dollars for size fee paid, or a 160$ fat tax, despite not having any extra seat available to sit next to for money or “charity”.  I still have bruises from the down flight and it isn’t an experience that encourages a flight this summer to a wedding I am invited to. In other words, it cause this heavy person to prefer NOT flying, which is the worse business model ever.

IDEAS FOR  NEXT TIME:

  1. There needs to be pages of information collected on all airlines for heavy people. In forums I have heard the idea that the way the large consumer is treated at airlines is basically BAIT AND SWITCH.  They are sold an airline flight for one price, and then forced to pay even twice as much to make that flight.  The way a large sized person is treated is an important need to know subject.  No one is helping large sized, tall or overweight consumers with this issue, certainly not the airlines.  It is not the customer that should be ashamed. The general size of the American consumer should be considered in planning accommodations.  What with all the TSA scans they certainly should know the dimensions of the average traveler, and with a little foresight they would realize that MORE large people would choose air travel if the accommodations were not so uncomfortable.
  2. If you are heavy, allow even more  time for TSA.  Their machines actually do seem to see something in fat pads and rolls. NEVER wear sparkly or gold and silver painted clothing through TSA.
  3. An empty water bottle goes through TSA in the carry pack quite fine, and can be filled up on the drinking fountain after. On the other hand, staying dry has it’s advantage.
  4. Hand wipes or other sanitizing for tables, armrest and upholstery and your hands before lunch are important. Really helps mentally to rest on the surfaces you do have.
  5. Having a lomotil, anti diarrhea pill handy can help a queasy stomach, or excessive need for lavatory. Chewing them helps faster.
  6. If you are in the front seat of the plane, as in Spirit’s Big Seat, you are not allowed your personal bag on your lap, or underfoot while the seat belt use sign is flashing which is most of a short trip. Book or small electronic can be stowed in the pocket for easy reach.  I think I will have a plane entertainment bag, similar to my front pocket on carry on for this situation.
  7. Spirit had about five belts for extending seat belts on the flight.  Tell the Stewardess as you walk in.  “Hi, I am concerned I will need an extender. I am in seat blank.  Will you help me in a little bit? ” Then she can ask you later if you need it.
  8. There is no real bigness to the seat in row 2 on Spirit, despite charging extra and a diagram that makes it look like first class, and being only two seats instead of 3.  The plane slopes smaller  in the front and they do not allow much extra room at all.   Only ride on Spirit if you have a confirmed booking for Row 1, or can be helped by the 10 inch extended leg at the exit which is still a tight  17.5 inch seat, on the center emergency exit.
  9. Of course on Florida flights, the Spring Break time is heavily booked and the weekends are the worse.  Better luck on Tuesday and Wednesday and odd hour times.  Also the end of the month and the beginning of the month are busy to Florida and other popular vacation places, because of snowbirds and vacationers renting by the month.  The end and beginning of terms in university areas may be similar.  Peak time information is critical because there is no possibility of an empty seat, for fat tax or for free, next to your bottom spilling out of a 17 inch space on an overbooked flight.
  10. There are E-copies of documents outlining the rights of passengers bumped by airlines, or otherwise poorly treated. However it says nothing about compensation for bruising people who are hurtfully seated. Download to your smart phone this:   http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/flyrights.htm
  11. There are also federal guidelines for disabled passengers.  http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/publications/horizons.htm  For instance you are not charged extra for a cane or breathing machine or other medical necessity even if it does not fit in your allowed personal luggage. If you need help in the airport what they have to do is spelled out, but it is still easy to be warehoused in that wheelchair waiting.  Once in that chair you have no choice of what to do and when to do it.  I used the wheelchair service one way. I found it made TSA more difficult, not easier.  I also was terribly embarrassed that they seemed to look around and select the 80 pound woman to push me even though they had some hefty people on their team.  This was both in Sarasota and Detroit Metro.   I do not know if it is a game for tips, or a nasty joke on the chair pushers, but it was ridiculous and humiliating enough I did not use the chair on the way back despite my knee injury. So less jobs for them and no tip.

HONORAH

Vacation Freedom

Siesta Key is a wonderful big beach
Siesta Key is a wonderful big beach

The beach is cool and easy to walk in the morning. What a beach!  Any attire is okay, even street shoes and slacks. Of course it isn’t boiling hot – “just” 70f. The beach people have such strong muscular legs, all of them.

When we sunned enough, we walked the art museum at Ringling galleries. The original paintings donated by the circus magnate came with a requirement that people could view for free once a week. In an ordinary day, the beach would have been enough but I probably walked another 3 miles of gallery trudging and parking lot. I was Art Overdosing!  Reuben and Rembrandt in glorious bright colors and in giant gallery size murals.  Sculptures copied from Europe.  A probably full size copy of Michelangelo’s David in bronze. Seventy three statues on the courtyard rooftop and another maybe hundred in the courtyard.

There were many women painted by the greatest artists ever who will never wear a size twelve, let alone eight, even if they were tiny short. They were generous, beautiful and very sure of their sexuality women – going along with the many athletic statues of men without significant clothing. It was an amazing celebration of the human body and it wasn’t crude or lewd at all. I met a “reader” of this blog in the corner of a Dutch Master room, who gave me her opinion of worries about being heftier than most women of her day. She had loved sitting for her portrait, despite her sore possibly gouty finger.  I think her portrait was done by the Rembrandt company. She whispered a few little comments to me about feeling good about my God given body. I am living a wonderful life -as I am today. I am happy as my friend.

Portrait of a Largely Tested reader at Sarasota's Ringling Art museum
Portrait of a Largely Tested reader at Sarasota’s Ringling Art museum

What Happened to Friendly Skies?

At least the view was thrilling
At least the view was thrilling

2-27-16 Florida, near Naples, was recently voted the healthiest city in the world. No one down here loves flying. Most may sympathize with my airline complaints but  they probably have no idea how painful my experience actually was. At the end of the ride, the stewards and stewardesses hold a credit card promotion for a MasterCard to help you collect air miles. I was motion sick, cramping and utterly in knee and back sharp pressure pain. At this point of pain, roughly comparable to unmedicated back labor, the idea of hoarding flying miles on a credit card was laughable. I kept my face as non- hostile as possible. I remembered 1) I was maybe in need of these stewards to haul my potentially paralyzed from the waist down body off the jet at the ground in Florida and 2) I will need to make a return flight. Thankfully on the way home I sprang for the reserved front seats of the plane, so I anticipate having a more comfortable chair- I hope. On the plane I was on there are no other seats for me to choose.
Did I tell you the sky in Florida is beautiful and the weather is lovely? I need to focus on gratitude and peace before I think about what happened yesterday too much
I also got the full pat down at TSA- in public. Do not wear a sparkly shirt! it set off pings like a Christmas tree.  That was the start of problems. Thank you God, I was wearing an sleeveless tank top under my long t shirt just to keep warm in the north in a sweatshirt. That means when they made me whip off my sparkle shirt, I still had clothes on though my bra hung out of that shirt. Still it was a layer and I will wear an undershirt under my shirt back! Possibly the public crotch pat down and pre-flight abdominal and breast massage was another side effect of having enough adipose to look like I am smuggling contraband. I hope that does not ever happen again. No sparkly shirts!!! I say when they offer a private room just take this personal attack in public and do not go off into a separate room without your husband. If they are going to get rude make them be rude in front of others. They cannot shame me! This is my body. They are the ones defiling me and they should be ashamed! Besides I do not want to volunteer for a gynecology exam from the lady in the purple gloves. I wish I had not been so red faced, holding my mouth shut. I think the appropriate response would be something like ” I never did this with a woman before, in a crowded room, with the lights on like this, with a uniformed officer.”  However, that would have delayed things, right! It could have been worse!
Florida is dry and sunny and breezy and warm- it is beautiful and I choose gratitude! I like Florida.  I am not doing the airline satisfaction survey in my email until I am safely home!

Measuring Up

2-23-16   When you wake up scared at 5 am that is too much anxiety.  Would I fit the seat?  Doing web  research I had plenty to fear.  If you don’t fit a seat , you are bumped or forced to buy a new seat at expensive last minute prices.  One woman said the whole thing is a big bait and switch game that airlines are pulling on the many large butt passengers that fly. She may have a point. Finally today I talked to Spirit. There is so little information previous to boarding. No help and it will likely be a fee. So I went to a nearby auditorium that I knew had seats that were sometimes really tight on me and I brought my measuring tape. People with small behinds do not know how long people of size remember terrible evenings of discomfort in good clothing. Most of the seats in this uncomfortable auditorium are 18 1/2 inches wide which is the size of the large big butt seat on Spirit Airlines. Trust me these seats are not so great for the students who usually have lectures here. They are not comfy for most and this is the generous measure. Almost all seats were at least 17 1/2 inches and but one was still the painful 16 1/2 inches I recalled. I could squeeze into it, uncomfortably.  It literally hurt but I guess I will be taking pain pills for knees anyway. They are going to have to pry me out of my seat in Florida. Our trip is a go,  but it might be terrible and uncomfortable. My dear husband and I will be snuggling so I hope we are in a good mood. Intimacy with him is one thing but someone tall no doubt reserved the aisle seat. For this I am spending most of my discretionary income for the next couple months!  Oh well.

The truth is our freedom!
The truth is our freedom!

Up, up and away

Sunsets and warm weather, Florida flight!

2-22-16  Okay, I am scared.  I want to be all positive and happy about who I am and how it is to be large but I am anxious exactly about fitting.  Last week my husband and I decided to go visit someone we love in Florida.  He has a new job and not a lot of time to be away.  I booked two round-trips at pretty much the last minute as cheaply as I could.  Been terrified ever since.

They are Spirit Airline, and the airline is not very specific about things like how to get help with maybe a wheelchair to the gate, MOSTLY because I do not want to stand in line an hour at TSA check.  They are not specific about the width of the seat, though I finally found great and scarily specific information on the  Cheapair.com website. This link is from 2013 so there is a chance it is not current, though it says it is updated.  There was no information on how to get a seat belt extension which I am pretty sure I will need,  on the Spirit website or elsewhere. What size is this extension?  Will it work for me? Why do they not make this plain and simple on a website?   By the way the Cheapoair.com webpage had a great term to describe the people LargelyTested.com is written for, “People of Size.” From this webpage, but not from the airline, I learned that Spirit seats are 17.8 inches and the extra size seats are 18.5 inches but seem to be separated apart a bit.  I already have purchased the seats with ten inches in front of them, knowing we would need this space. This will cost us 72 bucks extra.   I am now trying to manufacture a box of 17.5 inches to see if I can sit in that chair space.  I already am aware that 16 inch wide seat would cause bone rubbing pain, because I am unable to sit on a stool ladder of 16 inches so I know it will be an issue. I so wish I ordered my flight from an agency prepared to hel me as a customer. However seats this late are hard to buy.

This is kind of stuff people of normal size cannot even fathom.  There were amazing comments on the above website, rude people saying things like “just lose the weight fatty”.  (Should I tell them to just grow taller, shorty?) The thing is being a certain weight MAKES NO DIFFERENCE when bones are large, hips spread, whatever. I am quite sure that should I magically remove the 100 lbs I hope to from my frame, I will be MORE comfortable fitting but still not quite fit.  I will never be small.  I am not even a dude with big shoulders and a frame that is more than 6’6″.   I am not one of the athletic and slim young ladies at the gym who are at least as tall as my 6’3″ husband. However, I have the same inseam length as my 6’3″ husband, and a inches of padding in the rear he doesn’t have, so I actually need more legroom back to toe, always have and always will.  I wonder how these ladies fit without amputating their legs? Every ten pounds lost makes things blessedly easier, but weight loss, after a lifetime of dieting, is tough.  It takes me two months to lose ten pounds, and about five days to gain fifteen; permanent loss and permanent gain.  That is my life and that is how it has always been and that is likely how it will always be. Going to Florida is part of getting healthy for me.  I will do this flying thing even if I am considered oversize like a too heavy suitcase.  I will let you know how it goes.

Twenty Four Six

2-21-16

Look Up! It is Spring!
Look Up! It is Spring!

The internet prides itself on being open 24/7. Since ancient history, this schedule is only supported by slave masters and those who are somehow enslaved and “have to”.  God started a day of rest where we refrain from buying and selling, shopping and making others work for us. There are more important things in life than money and stuff.
Here is where you can read today’s scriptures.  USCCB is a Catholic site, but most of the more established church bodies have a similar “lectionary” or order of scriptures for services.  They are carefully chosen, as it was someone’s full time hopefully 6 day a week job.
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022016.cfm
Have a beautiful day!

HONORAH

Swim and Sweat

2-20-16 Interesting  that I started this blog with a swimwear section.  I guess it because with a difficulty in my knees, the water is the only exercise I really can do, let alone enjoy.  I think if the years it was hard for me to go swimming basically because of body shame.  However I am German.  I do not sweat except on my face and hair. The water is where I and my family has migrated to every summer for generations.
Physics and the fact that bone material structure is the same pretty much whether you weigh 140 or 400 lbs, means many big people are at risk for various skeletal injuries. When I was involved in a weight loss study my doctors advice for exercise was “just do not injure yourself”. Swimming is the cure for back issues, and joint disease. Teach your large boned children to swim and do not give up your own right to the water.  It requires you to have swim wear and I say bring swim wear along on trips and in the car in the summer. Keep your getaway bag packed. A strong body is worth it!  
When I was young, I was painfully aware I was showing off my body and felt like I was failing.  What a relief to be over that!  Walking a half mile in the pool is the pleasure, and a balance game on a noodle is a delight.

Swim and Sweat's nonstop chemical resistant, attractive suit.
Swim and Sweat’s nonstop chemical resistant, attractive suit.

My favorite suit ever bought is from Swim and Sweat made of their no fade Kringle cloth.  The sizing is generous but the material is so stretchy I can lose 20 lbs, or gain as much.  It pulls you in and makes you feel curvy!  There is a tall version if you are not a plus size, however the length is generous enough for me. These suits are the only one to keep a bright color in our pool’s heavy chemical. Women have worn them for years where my regular suit severely faded in three months.
Swim and Sweat is only direct order.  Call them if you need sizing coaching. Their sizes are generous.  Honorah

Men’s Swimsuits

2-17-16 Swimsuits have changed, in my mind, for the better. You do not know how relieved I am that men no longer wear Speedos, except one really old dude at the Fitness center who thinks he has a hot body circa 1980. YIKES. The young guys all wear real long swimsuits, almost to their knees. Most exercise in the gym in their swimsuits, also. At the same time, women and men are realizing it is more comfortable to be modest rather than naked. Women have noticed that the lady the guys watch at the swimming pool is a shapely Muslim woman who wears a hooded suit that covers her from wrist to ankle. If she can wear that and turn heads, no one needs to be naked to feel okay.

I am sure these men swimsuits are easily available at the local box stores and discount houses, but what if you are a bit larger than XL?  Well if you have Amazon Prime shipping, there are decent selections of all kinds of men’s swimsuits, size 4x and 5x for about 25 dollars, on Amazon. Most the heavy men wear the Kanu Surf type style, that look like surfboarding type shorts.

Kanu Surf style suit -5x Big
A SolarTex Jammer in 7X

 

Some of the better and “cooler” men swimmers are wearing a tighter, form fitting almost wetsuit tight swim suit usually referred to as a jammer, which do not look so bad on bigger people though are less available. The above is from a non-Amazon website called SolarTex .  They also have swim shirts and things for easily sunburned swimmers. One shorter pool swimmer had his shorts so tight, he kind of bulged his stomach over it. Too tight clothing is never attractive, and it most certainly doesn’t conceal a bulgy abdomen. This man needed at least two sizes larger.   I wonder if he accidentally ordered Asian clothing on the internet.  An Asian XXL would be an L (large) in the USA, a Asian L would be a S(small) in the USA. Amazon Prime carries products from distant locations.   Be careful and check for Asian sizing. Men and women wear “jammers” and I was surprised that the links are for both, unisex, especially in the plus sizes.

I have noticed a group of women at the track wearing mens swimsuits to work out in. One woman, when questioned said she buys swim tops on sale at the end of the summer. She buys mens swimsuits because they are less expensive than the bottom half of a woman’s suit. She buys a lot of them on sale and “stocks up” and works out in them on the track and fitness machines in a T-shirt,. Then in a moment, she can shower and swim. Her suit would be a very short swimsuit on a guy, but was much more modest than most women swimsuit bottoms. Creativity is needed by everyone to survive the swimsuit game, whether you have a standard body or one that is unique.  Men, for instance, may find shorts that work better as swimwear than actual suits.

There is an inseam length given in catalog sales of shorts and swimsuits. The old short short style men swimsuits were about six or eight. Women can have very short boxer short inseams, even 3 and 4 inch. Men should look for long inseams if they are tall and want shorts to their knees. At least ten inches, hopefully 12 or 14. You can measure this in actual inches, so just don’t assume.  Measure your leg and your favorite pair of shorts or boxer inseam.

With Amazon Prime, and the internet on your side, you have what you need. Figure out what you want, and go find it. Just do not be afraid to get some real honest measurements, with a tape measure, before you order. Most swimwear ordering has a suggestion for measurement. If you happen to have any measurements that are larger than standard 48 inch tape measures, there are inexpensive 60 inch tape measures at fabric stores. Have someone help you with a variety of measurements. For men you should know your neck and sleeve for shirts, waist and inseam for shorts and pants, and sleeve length.  Sometimes a good men’s clothing shop will help you measure, say if you are fitting up for a wedding. Write your numbers down on a wallet card, or on your  phone note.  Update them when your body changes. This will help you with online shopping. An effort at accurate measurement WILL save you cash wasted on badly fitted clothing.