The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily of the Davis Clipper.
Have you been to one of the new soda places that have migrated up here from St. George yet? You know, the ones with the big soft sugar cookies, and every flavor concoction of soda you can imagine? For a sodaholic like me, those places are dangerous. Especially since I work right smack in between the two places in Bountiful. And especially because my co-workers are manipulative addicts. And ESPECIALLY since I discovered the wonders of mango in a Diet Mountain Dew. Oh my goodness, the wonders a simple beverage can work on a boring weekday afternoon. At my work, we can, and too frequently do, drop everything we are doing for a quick soda and cookie run.
This is a bad habit. A really bad habit. I mean, it's not manufacturing meth in your basement bad. But still, it's bad enough that I am about to make a major life change. And this is why:
A few weeks ago, I was at my dentist for my semi-annual cleaning and check up (hello Lakeview Dental! Hello Dr Stanfield!) when the hygienist (Hey Natalie!) asked me if I drank diet soda. I really wanted to lie, and say, oh yeah, one or two a week, but I figured if she was asking, the truth must be obvious. So I fessed up, that yes indeed, I do drink diet soda. Every day. All day long. I grab one on the way to work, have some more with lunch, and then again on the way home. And usually more at night too. It's embarrassing, really. It really doesn't help that I work in a place that sells it cheap either. So then the hygienist went on to explain to me all the reasons it is bad for your teeth to be sucking down soda all day long. What are you talking about, I thought to myself as I nodded politely at her. It's sugar free! And I brush and floss every day and I don't smoke and I eat- well, okay I eat crappy too, but really, diet soda is my only big vice and now you are telling me it's ruining my already fragile teeth? Yep, she says. You should stop drinking it so much she says. Great, I think, I don't smoke. I don't drink. I don't gamble. I don't manufacture meth in my basement. And now you are telling me my one vice, my only crutch, my security blanket, pacifier and significant other all rolled into one has to be eliminated from my life? Or at least drastically reduced? No way, I thought. Sorry teeth, I thought, but my diet soda is much more important to me than you are. I made a little vow to cut back, but all the time, I knew I probably wouldn't.
What is it about diet soda anyway? If my group of friends is any indication, pretty much the whole Utah universe is addicted to the stuff. There are so many varieties, and everybody has their own preferences, and everybody swears all the time that they don't drink that much, but let's get real. You have one in your range of vision right now, don't you?
Anyhow, on top of a gentle chewing out by the dental hygienist, a week later, all of our appliances started dying. The ice cream in our freezer went soft. A glass shelf from the refrigerator spontaneously shattered into a million tiny pieces that we are still finding in the corners of our kitchen. The clock on the stove is unreadable because all the digital numbers have lines that don't light up anymore.The dishwasher keeps making this funny noise and leaves this weird brown stuff in the dishes on the top rack. But what do all these crappy old appliances have to do with diet coke you ask? Well, I started to dream about new refrigerators with all their shelves intact and ice makers that actually made ice. And we started looking around for fridges and found all kinds of pretty shiny things we could buy to put in our kitchen. And then we found this great deal on a whole group of new appliances, so we decided we better take a look at the old budget, and see how we were going to squeeze some appliance cash out of it. At some point in all this nasty talk of money, the issue of how much we were spending on soda in the course of a month came up. And the answer was too damn much. Between my husband, kids and me, we are drinking the equivalent of an over- the-stove- microwave every month. Or a car payment, depending on how you want to look at it. That is ridiculous. Add in my dental bills and this habit suddenly got too pricey for my taste.
So last night, as I was lying in bed trying to coax my caffeine-addled brain to sleep and calm my poor overworked bladder into shutting down for the night, I made the decision:
THIS FAMILY IS NOT DRINKING ANY MORE SODA.
I didn't even consult with anyone.
This is not the first time we have attempted this. The hubby and I, who is as big of an addict as I am, actually gave up soda altogether about four years ago. Then we started slipping just a little here and there, and now, we are both worse than we have ever been. Last Sunday, for example, was a typical day of diet soda consumption at our house.
After church, I had a nice cold diet coke from the fridge while I worked on a few things on the computer. A little later, the power went out so we went for a drive and it felt like a great time for another Diet Coke. When we got home, I had to figure out some financial stuff before Monday morning hit, and to get me through the stress, I decided I needed just one more Diet Coke. Then I went to bed and laid awake for four hours, cursing the fact that I was not sleeping. Hmmm, wonder why? It couldn't be from that day-long infusion of caffeine and carbonation could it?
So, at three in the morning, in the desperate throes of insomnia, I vowed to change my evil ways, and switch to water.
Hubby is on board, at least he says he is. The four kids don't know yet, but they WILL be on board, seeing as how the ship they are sailing on has already left the dock.
But of course we aren't crazy. We aren't banning it forever. Just for three days. Just until Friday. We are starting slow, because. I think I can live until Friday. If we can all make it to Friday, maybe we will celebrate with a trip through the McDonald's drive thru. And THEN, maybe next week we can shoot for FIVE soda free days in a row.
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
Four days without soda might not seem like much to you, but to me, it seems like an eternity. I am trying to psych myself up for this. I am buying a bunch of bottled water. I am buying Dasani drops. I am stocking up on gum and mints to get me through this. And Excedrin. I'm sure we will all need some of that.
I really think I can do this though. I come from a long line good strong pioneer stock who made it across the plains, without any soda, I might add. My dad gave up cigarettes about 15 years ago. My hubby comes from a long line of gamblers and alcoholics, but there must be hope for him as well. Surely together we can give up a little thing like caffeinated, carbonated water, right? Right?
We will see.
Swig, I will see you on Friday.