The Non-Facial Facial

I went for a facial last week. I haven’t had a facial in over twenty years. My pores have got to be as big as Lake Eerie. But I wouldn’t really know, so don’t pack your swimsuits yet.

You can’t tell from this photo, but my face is on fire.

I was expecting to be criticized by the apparent lack of time I spend on my skin.

I pictured in my mind what was going to go down between me and the esthetician:

Her: What do you do to take care of your skin?

Me: Oil of Olay cleanser and moisturizer. Twice a day.

Her: **faints**

But that’s not how it went. More on that in a moment.

When I entered the room, she told me to get undressed. I then had a choice to put on the wrap-around terry-cloth thingy or get under the covers naked.

Since I couldn’t figure out the terry-cloth thingy attachments, I opted for nude. I don’t have a problem being nude when I go for massages, so why should it be different for a facial?

When she re-entered the room, she gasped when she saw the terry-cloth thingy sitting there.

Her: “OH, you chose to go NAKED! Ummm, okaaaeeee then???!!!”

Well damn, lady. You gave me a choice. Don’t make me feel bad about it. I’m pretty certain I’m not the only nude person you “facialed” in your lifetime.

She never asked the question I was fairly certain she’d ask. Instead, my face was immediately accosted by a 50,000 watt light bulb and scrutinized by something that must have been equivalent to the highest powered microscope legally allowed on the market.

Her: Oh honey, do you wax?

Me: I used to but now I don’t because it’s all grey and you can’t see it. 

Her: Oh honey, I’m looking at black hair on your lip. Your face is the first thing people see. You really need to clean this up. And your eyebrows. And oh my, your CHIN!

Me: Wait. What? I don’t have hair on my chin!

Her: Oh honey, you do.

I know I’m starting to go through the change, but come on. Enough WAX-ABLE hair on my CHIN? I’m still trying to deal with this new bit of information.

I may need several hours of psycho-therapy.

She then proceeded to tell me I should get contact lenses. I suppose to be able to see my facial hair. If I need to get contact lenses just so I can see my hairy chin, then I believe I would really need to have my mental stability looked into.

Next on her agenda? Her interest in my diet. I should eat greens. All kinds of different shades. Every chance I get.

The words “I exercise,” came out of my mouth. I don’t know why.

“Oh, honey, eating greens is MUCH better than exercise. How can you expect to lose weight?”

Come on, lady. I’m not THAT fat! I may be nude under here, but you didn’t actually get a peek.

The insults kept on coming. When she told me I don’t want to look like my mother, I nearly took my naked self out of her room.

Instead, I informed her that she didn’t even know my mother, and told her I know how to eat thankyouverymuch. I’ve been eating since 1967, after all. A lot longer than her. But of course she may just look younger. Because you know, she gets facials…and eats greens.

Anyway, she could give me a nice wax right then if I’d like. But it will cost me $15 per section. 

Yup $45 to wax parts of my face. Oh, what the hell. I was having a day at the spa with my girlfriends. Suddenly I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

Off came the hair.

Of course, I’m very sensitive to waxing and so my face looked like a flaming cherries jubilee for three days. But hey. I have no facial hair at the moment. And that was the purpose of that exercise after all. I suppose I should call this a “Win.”

The next item on her list to conquer was the issue of dryness. “Oh honey, your skin is so dry. For $25 I can moisturize you and it will be wonderful. You’ll feel like a new woman.”

Yes. You heard that right. Twenty-five dollars to slather on some lotion. It could have been Ponds Cold Cream for all I knew.

I sat there trying to quickly calculate this twenty-five minute “facial” that really was no facial at all. I initially laid on her spa bed for $75. We were, at that moment, approximately eighteen minutes and $145 into it.

Again, I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

I should have had my tongue cut out. It would have been cheaper.

As she slathered on the $25 moisturizer that I was hoping was not Ponds Cold Cream, she informed me that she had no time to give me an actual facial.

But she could massage my hands and arms.

It’s a miracle. 

If this ordeal and exchange of whatever the hell I just paid $175 for, including the 20% gratuity this “spa” took upon themselves to gift this judgmental, pushy, wax-hungry, over-moisturizing member of the gestapo, wasn’t so comical, I’d be pretty pissed off.

Instead we all laughed it off at the hotel bar with some margaritas and my hairless, red face. Shall I mention that I had a lime in my drink? I think my esthetician would have been proud.

Next time I’ll stick to tweezers and my Olay. Although, that place did smell really good. Oh, what the hell. I’ll throw in a lavender candle, too. I think I have one in my junk drawer.

Amazon Is Amazing

How did we live without Amazon? This is a serious question.

How DID WE LIVE WITHOUT AMAZON?

Well, ok, so we actually DID live without Amazon. Just like we lived without cell phones, caller ID, WiFi, and Xbox.

We had no choice. And if we couldn’t find what we were looking for, we went without. Or we stayed home and didn’t go to the store because it was too much work or it was snowing, and we didn’t really need whatever we were looking for that badly anyway.

But with Amazon, whether we need something badly or not, we can get it with the touch of a button. And if you are a Prime member (which is totally cheap if you have a college student — another reason why college is so important), you can have all kinds of nifty things delivered to your door step for not only FREE, but in most cases THE NEXT DAY!

Just so you know, Amazon is not paying me to say this. They don’t even know I exist, except that I spend a really large portion of the money we make on stuff I can get on Amazon that I really don’t need.

Christmas this year came in an Amazon box. Actually, it came in several Amazon boxes. Gobs of Amazon boxes. If I weren’t in such a cleaning frenzying state of mind last Saturday, then I would show you a picture.

But alas, they are well on their way to the city dump, or incinerator.

This is not my exact pile, but a very good representation. Look how cute they are, though? Such happy little boxes.

Actually, I hope they are on their way to the recycling place because that’s where I want them to be, but who knows if we can trust THAT system.

CAN we trust that system? I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Anyway, you’ll just have to take my word for it. I could have stacked the Amazon boxes beyond the roof of my house. Oh heck, I could have stacked them halfway to Venus!

I mean, come on, I have eight great nieces and nephews to buy for. I also have six direct (first generation?) nieces and nephews I still buy for who haven’t reached the age of “no longer buying gifts for unless it’s a really great occasion, like a marriage, or baby, or graduation” yet.

I also have parents, and a mother-in-law, and a husband, and a daughter. Not to mention the many children of my cousins (2nd cousin? Or would that be 2nd cousin once removed?) that I buy for because I want to.

Yes, it’s out of control. I realize this. But it’s not up for discussion. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact.

I probably shouldn’t say this out loud because DH might see. But I just looked on our Amazon account and checked out 2018.

Collectively (when I say “collectively” I include DH and The Kid, which means that I am not the only culprit), we placed 69 orders.

In one year.

Before you judge me, please keep in mind that The Kid orders many of her college textbooks through Amazon. They are used, and although they are expensive, they are less expensive than buying them new.

She also rents them through Amazon. Not that that matters. I just wanted to put that out there for those of you who have college students and didn’t realize this little tidbit.

Some of the things, aside from textbooks, that were ordered from this household via Amazon this past year. In case you were wondering:

  • A Zoodle maker that I never used
  • Mouthwash
  • A comforter set
  • Coffee
  • Vitamins
  • Car crap, lots and lots of car crap
  • An under the desk portable heater because I get very cold at work but yet sweat at night like a monkey in heat
  • A Gregg shorthand book because I plan to reteach myself this skill just ’cause I can
  • Gift cards…lots and lots of gift cards, but much more fun than car crap
  • Toys
  • Books that are fun; aka NOT textbooks
  • Games
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Whiteboard magnets
  • Miso & chili flakes (I don’t know)
  • Mason jars
  • Baby Foot (the foot treatment not the real thing)
  • Flasks disguised as suntan lotion bottles (???)
  • Markers
  • Planner

And last week I was proudly the first person in my family to order an Amazon goodie in 2019. (The Kid DID rent some books for second semester, but does that really count?)

I decided my heels need to be smoothed out, and since I abhor pedicures (I never said I was normal), I had the inclination to, at 10pm, search Amazon for a resolution. And within about a minute and a half, I ordered myself an Amope Pedi Perfect foot file thing that I was the new owner of in less than 48 hours (it’s amazing by the way – the Pedi thing in addition to Amazon).

I may have a problem.

Do you think Amazon sells books on how to cure an addiction to Amazon? Let me go look. I’ll get back to you.

The Widening of the Hips and Other Ailments

I am an administrative assistant by trade. My “trade” was referred to as a secretary once upon a time. That is no longer acceptable. I don’t know if it’s politically incorrect or demeaning, or what. But don’t call an administrative assistant a “secretary.” Or you might get punched in the eyebrow.

I have a secretarial “degree” (aka “certificate”). I went to a secretarial school. Now they are as extinct as the pterodactyl. It seems these days you need a degree to be a secretary.

Ahem…an administrative assistant.

Some companies will only hire you if you have a two- or four-year degree. While others will hire you based on experience. You know, as long as you started working around the time Eisenhower was in office.

But then you’re too old.

Vicious circle.

I got lucky. I found a wonderful company to work for. I have no four- or two-year degree. And I’m kinda old. Ok, so maybe not dinosaur old, but I’m no spring chicken either. My twenty plus year secretarial/admin experience is acceptable.

Anyway, my profession has its perils, believe it or not. And I’m finding out quickly what those perils are.

Back in the day, people would complain and warn me about the dreaded “Secretarial Spread.” It sounds obscene (don’t google it, because what popped up would have made even Hugh Hefner blush). But it’s not what you might think.

The official definition according to Urban Dictionary:

“Secretarial spread means sitting down for a long period of time while the hind-end spreads outward in order to accommodate the chair. “

Sounds awful, right?

Well, it is.

Back in the day, I didn’t worry about it too much. I was young, I exercised and moved a lot. I wore high heels and ran in them.

No, seriously. I did.

Now if I so much as put on a pair of heels that measure higher than half an inch, I run the risk of being hospitalized.

Fast forward 30+ years and there are all kinds of reports and studies on what can happen if you sit all day. In a nutshell, it reduces your lifespan. The instructor at the gym referred to sitting as “the new smoking.”

The only time I touched a cigarette was back in 1982. And I didn’t even inhale.

I swear. 

No, I wasn’t hanging out with Clinton.

Since working back in the profession for which I was trained after a very long respite, I’m comprehending what they meant by the “Secretarial Spread.”

I’m comprehending big (no pun intended).

When I wrote the first draft of this post months ago, I was sedentary.

“Sedentary.” A word I never thought in a million years I would use to describe myself.

But yet, that’s what I was.

I got up to go to the bathroom or the water cooler during the day.  When I got home, I took off the bra, put on my “non-yoga” yoga pants, and moved my ass to the couch.

That was it.

Ok, so I still get home, take off the bra, and move my ass to the couch. Because I’m tired. I’m just TIRED.

But during the day, I’ve been exercising. I go to the gym at work, I do stretching exercises, planks, push-ups, what have you, in the morning before I leave for work.

And it feels great.

But the sitting has caused me to develop hip flexor problems. Oh.my.god. Does that hurt! Had I not been “sedentary” for so long, I don’t think that would have happened.

This hip flexor situation has since given me lower back pain. You know, because my back is compensating for the job my hip flexors aren’t doing.

I think. I mean, I’m no doctor, but this makes sense. Right?

My abdominal wall is also weak. Which is not helping my cause. But I’m working on that.

I’m working on getting myself to a good place health-wise. It’s time. I decided a wheel chair, or even a cane, would not be a good accessory for me.

I mean, I don’t really accessorize anyway, so why start now?

One more thing…

The second part of that definition, according to Urban Dictionary:

“It can be changed with exercise, and activity away from sitting down on one’s spread for too many hours a day.”

I had this thing called a “Veridesk” installed on my desktop at work. It has levers and allows you to lift the thing up so you can stand while you work. It’s a pain in the ass to pull up, but the way I see it, I’m also getting some upper body strength training in.

Getting into shape at work. That brings the expression “multi-tasking” to a whole new level.

If I save one person from the dreaded “Secretarial Spread” then I have done my job.

You’re welcome.

Resolutions Schmesolutions

As I sit here on this second to last day of 2018, I reflect on all the year has brought. I will not hash it out, because that’s what my Christmas letter is for (if you missed it, it’s not too late to catch up by clicking here).

I will say 2018 was pretty uneventful, which is good. But bad in the way that I did nothing to better myself in any way. It was another lazy year that I wish to not talk about.

But as I sit here reflecting, I also think about 2019, and the endless possibilities the coming year may bring.

Speaking of 2019, I saw something, a meme or whatever they are called, that reminded me that 2019 will be the last “teen” years for most of us. That totally freaked me out. I don’t know why. I wasn’t a large fan of my own teens, so I’m not sure why I care so much.

Anyway, a few couple of years ago, I realized New Year’s Resolutions are a complete waste of time. Statistically speaking, 80% of all resolutions fail by February. Thanks again, Google.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I got through high school without Google. It sure is much better than those grocery store Funk & Wagnall Encyclopedias our moms would get when they purchased enough olive loaf, Twinkies, and cherry Kool-Aid to earn a single volume. It took a year to get the entire series, and by then they would be outdated.

ANYWAY, I’m not making resolutions this year. What I AM going to do is make better decisions and conscious efforts to be a better person. To live the life I should be living, that I want to live. And because I am a cliche…be authentic.

These may sound like resolutions, and look suspiciously like resolutions, but they are what I would like to refer to as “Getting My Shit Together and Stop Being a Sloth Once and For All.” Or simply “Life Adjustments.”

All of this has been a long time coming, and honestly, would be happening if it was January 1st or May 19th. It’s time and the new year really has nothing to do with it. I joined an online fitness course a couple of months ago and it really has opened my eyes to what I wasn’t doing. Sometimes, we need a little push and a serious punch in the face.

I am fifty-one years old. I will be fifty-two in less than four months.

FIFTY-TWO.

I realize that fifty is the new thirty.

Or is it forty?

My point is people are living longer and living better, more productive lives. Lives that are filled with quality.

Quality. My life needs to be “quality.” I’m not saying I don’t have a good quality of life. Because I do. I am married to a wonderful man, was blessed with the best daughter anyone could possibly ask for, and pretty much want for nothing. And my health, although I could feel and look better, is pretty good for the most part.

But in this case, when I talk about “quality” I don’t mean what you think. My life has become chaotic. If that’s possible. I never know where anything is. I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I’m disorganized, disheveled, and not always doing what I truly want to do.

I feel like crap because I eat crap. And I look like crap because of the crap I eat. I’m not writing as often as I like, I’m not reading as much as I should, and I’m not exercising like a person who wants to live a better, longer life.

I bought a planner for the first time in my life, and some stickers, and a nice set of pens. For the first time in my life I intend to plan out what I want and need to do. I will plan out my meals, my exercise, my writing sessions, and anything else deemed worthy to be added. Which in my case, is pretty much everything.

I need to start making myself accountable for myself. I need to stop being lazy. Laziness just fosters more laziness. It’s a spiral that I don’t want to be on. And besides, it’s making me dizzy.

Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 6

It’s that time of year for our family Christmas letter. I’m a little late because I suffer from a major case of something called “Procrastination.” I’ve added that to my New Year’s resolution list in the past, but I’ve always procrastinated working on my procrastination. So, I replaced it with “exercise more.” That one at least lasts halfway through January.

2018 was the year of ailments.

I am now into my fifties and my body knows it. It did not need a memo, reminder, or even a gentle nudge. Some things are just very reliable. I should be proud.

My knee is giving me more problems and the other feels like it needs to follow suit. I guess it has “FOMO” syndrome. Thanks to my twenty-year old daughter, I know FOMO means “Fear Of Missing Out.” My body may be old, but my brain is young and cool. Although, if I didn’t have a twenty-year old kid, that may not be the case.

Hmm, it makes me wonder if my life has just been a big sham the last seven years or so.

I threw out my back recently which is something I’ve never really done before. I’m not sure how I did it. I do know I was in the basement after my twelfth trip from bringing Christmas decorations up the stairs when the pain struck.

There’s nothing like a limping, bent over fifty-one year old woman, who pees her pants with every sneeze, giggle, and cough. I should have asked for a cane and a case of “Depends” instead of an iPhone for Christmas. Oh well. There’s always next year. But by then I may need a walker and bladder reconstruction.

I had a kidney stone episode this year. I thought it was ovarian tumors at first and went and got poked and prodded, tested and scanned by at least three different specialists. The bills for all that are just now arriving. The gift that keeps on giving. Thanks, Santa.

DH is good. If you recall, he lost the peripheral vision in his left eye a couple years ago. The downside is he can’t see my loveliness when I’m standing to the left of him. The upside is I can do amazing tricks, like flip him the bird when he’s pissing me off. It’s really quite fun.

He had his very first kidney stone episode this year. He now knows what childbirth feels like. Hearing him say, “how do women have more than one baby,” while doubled over the toilet bowl from pain-induced nausea was a proud moment.

The Kid got the flu at the beginning of the year. Even though she had the flu shot. She recovered from that after some motherly love and care. That was not fun for me. Seeing your kid suffer doesn’t have the same satisfaction of watching a man in kidney stone hell.

Oh, did I just say that out loud?

DH gets more handsome every year. What kills me the most is his pant size. That hasn’t changed in twenty years. Umm, can I pray for another kidney stone attack?

The Kid is doing really well in college. Can you believe she just finished her first half of Junior year? And I thought my knees made me feel old. I think I should start letting my hair go grey so I can get the full effect.

I started to bond with our German Shepherd. Finally. After four years, he no longer looks at me like I’m a pork chop. Now I can sleep with both eyes closed without worrying he might want a midnight snack.

We went on a nice holiday again this year. Two years in a row. Ireland was our choice this time. I’ve been before and fell in love, so I couldn’t wait to show my family how beautiful and green it was.

But like Turks & Caicos last year where it rained the entire week when it never rains, Ireland was in the middle of a drought when it never has a drought.

I was really upset when DH proclaimed that Ireland reminded him of New England in August. if you’ve ever seen New England in August, then you’ll understand what he meant. I argued with him and told him he was wrong, but brown is brown no matter what country you’re in.

I believe I need to stop planning vacations. It just doesn’t seem to work out for us. Next summer it will be feet in the kiddie pool on the back deck.

I just realized we never put the deck furniture away for the winter. Chores. They are the bane of my existence.

Speaking of chores, I pretty much got out of all of mine. I hired a house cleaner, use a grocery-delivery service, and DH decided he likes to cook so there is dinner on the table pretty much every night when I get home. Having a husband who works from home certainly has its perks.

That about sums up 2018 for our family. I gotta close this letter as I have presents to wrap, cookies to bake, and…eh. There’s always tomorrow.

Snowpooling

I’ve been waiting two years for someone from our town to go to The Kid’s college. Why, you ask? To ride-share, of course.

I mean, it’s not that I mind the six hour round-trip drive. Typically, I love to drive. I always have. It’s just that that trip can be a bit trying on, well, everything. From my ankles to the ends of my hair.

Ok, so my hair doesn’t really hurt. But you get the picture.

And I pretty much do it alone. Since DH has lost most of the sight in his left eye, he has terrible night vision and really can’t, shouldn’t, drive once the moon comes out. And most of the time I’m coming back from getting her from school when it’s dark.

When I found out a girl from our town — whose mother is a friend of mine — was going to be going to The Kid’s school this year, I jumped up and down for joy so hard I peed my pants a little.

Someone to carpool with. Finally.

I realize it won’t always work out with schedules, etc. But it will work out sometimes. Even if just once or twice. And that is good enough for me.

Luckily, this Thanksgiving is one of the times it worked out. My friend was doing the retrieving, and I am doing the returning.

Except my friend kinda got the short end of the stick. For her retrieval, “they” were predicting a snowstorm. But hey, she’s tough. I knew it wouldn’t ruffle her feathers much. Besides, it wasn’t going to be all that bad. We’ve had worse.

Except this turned out to be one of the craziest snowstorms we’ve had in a long time, this early in the season.

The three-hour drive took exactly twelve. Door-to-door. No lie.

46492327_2188611901173284_3306288957154656256_n
Smooth sailing at 1.5 hours. Little did they know what lurked just ahead. Makes you want to scream at the screen, “don’t go in there, DON’T GO IN THERE!”

The storm they were predicting came on us strong and fast. No one was really expecting the velocity of which the snow and ice bore down in these parts. I don’t believe anyone, including the highway department, was prepared.

Roads quickly turned to sheets of ice. From what I was hearing, all the highways and byways pretty much from Virginia to Ohio to Connecticut transformed into “Disney on Ice” within minutes. With Cinderella being played by the Snow Miser.

Before she knew it, my poor friend, along with her passengers, were at a standstill.

A more-than-five-hour standstill.

Stuck. With thousands of other commuters. On the roadway to a major bridge. One that had shut down due to multiple accidents.

There was nowhere to go. Nothing to do. But sit. And sit. And sit some more.

As the mom of one of the occupants of this vehicle, I was a little anxious. I trusted my friend whole-heartedly. It wasn’t her driving I was concerned about. I was concerned they would run out of gas, get stuck on a snowy highway, and freeze to death (yes, I watch too much television, read too many books).

I had a daughter who was a bit distressed and sending anxiety-ridden texts to me. “Mom, I’m never getting home,” “It’s freaking me out,” “I feel trapped.” And finally, “I want tacos.”

Twenty-year-old people and their appetites. Ne’er shall an icicle, snowflake, or semi-crisis keep the hunger away. Stomachs on Kriptonite. There should be a superhero named after that.

My friend, who is amazing, kept the mood fun and light, spirits high. They broadcast their adventures via Facebook Live, which, let me tell you, was quite entertaining. Saturday Night Live had nothing on these three and brought a whole new meaning to “Carpool Karaoke.”

If they weren’t already on the road, I would have suggested they take their show on, you know, the road. Ba-dum.

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 5.15.41 PM
A clip from their “Live” session…my amazing friend (left) with her gorgeous daughter (right), and mine (back), trying not to lose their minds. I’m guestimating this was around Hour Eight of the total “drive.” Hour Three of the standstill. (Permission was granted to use this photo by the inmates, err, passengers)

They were pretty resourceful on this trip. My friend’s daughter, using the highway to void. Because when you gotta go, you gotta go. Whether that toilet is on the inside of a bathroom, or on asphalt. Nature is nature and does not discriminate.

All of them figuring out how to turn half a bag of chips into a gourmet meal. Rationing water like they were lost on the prairie. Skills that will carry them throughout their lives.

What I found most humorous was the conversation they had with the man in the car next to them who was smoking a “blunt.” I suppose that’s a good way to deal with a situation like that. Although, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Just so you know, in my day it was called a “joint” or a “doobie.” There is nothing else in this world that shows my age more than having to ask what a “blunt” is. All this contemporary lingo got me like, “gag me with a spoon.”

Finally, they made it home. I think there was a little bit of each of us that wasn’t sure when it would happen. They were tired, a little worse for the wear, and totally freaked out. But they were safe. My friend is a rockstar. All of them are rockstars.

And those tacos? Have you ever had them at two-thirty in the morning? Me either. But I’m told they were pretty good. No blunt necessary.

Mama Was a Rolling Stone. Or Just Old.

“Ooh ouch,” I said to myself a little over two Tuesday mornings ago when I opened my eyes. “What the hell now?”

I’m getting accustomed to all that mid-life has thrown at me. All the changes in my body and face. But sometimes it’s just disconcerting. I don’t want to mid-life anymore. I just don’t.

I know. I know. What’s the alternative? Umm, how about being thirty again? Not possible? Well, in this day and age you’d think they’d come up with something to turn back time without all the work that goes into trying to turn back time.

Anyway, the pain seemed to be stemming from my left ovary. The pain was going down my leg and around to my back. It was not that bad as far as pains go. I mean, I child-birthed naturally and collected a few kidney stones in my lifetime so I’m no stranger to it.

It was just uncomfortable. Until it wasn’t. You know, just uncomfortable.

By the time I got to work, my pain went from about a three to a nine.

So, I decided it was time to pay the office nurse a visit. I always wondered if she was bored anyway so I figured I’d just be doing her a favor. So big of me, I know.

I threw back a couple of Advil and headed three flights down. By the time I got there, my face was white and I was fairly certain I was going to pass out. At that point, my pain was at an off-the-charts fifteen. I didn’t have to say a word. One look at me and the nurse knew something was wrong.

“Omg it’s my back holy cow it hurts so bad do you have a heating pad or maybe a knife to kill me with?”

Because she’s a nurse and knows more than I do she brought me an ice pack — not a knife — and within minutes the pain was gone. POOF! Vanished Into thin air.

But I still had pain in my ovary. I started thinking it must be a cyst that burst or something because diagnosing myself is what I do best. And because I am who I am (Hypochondriac Extraordinaire) I made an appointment with my gynecologist for the next morning.

A quick exam and it was determined I had a distended bowel. He couldn’t really see my ovary from all the distention, but he wanted me to come back again the next morning for an ultrasound.

I know. This is getting ridiculous, right? So, the next morning I went in for an ultrasound of the inside of my lady parts, then went right up to an examining room where I was to wait while my doctor read the results.

And wait. And wait. And wait some more.

Like, a really long time wait. Do you know what happens when Hypochondriac Extraordinaire sits in an examining room too long waiting for her doctor to read the results of her ultrasound?

She panics.

“OMG I’m dying. He’s taking a long time because he is consulting with all the other doctors, confirming I have cancer and it’s gotten into my bones because surely that’s why my hips and back have been bothering me lately. I won’t see my child graduate college or even meet my grandchildren. I’m not ready. I want GRAND-BABIES!”

No, seriously. I’m not exaggerating. I had worked myself into such a state, I legitimately frightened myself so much I started to shake.

So embarrassing.

Finally, he returned. *GULP*

“Sorry it took so long.” Seriously? I nearly stroked out waiting to hear what I was dying from, and you’re sorry it “took so long?” Anyway, bottom line was he thought it was my bowels being all distended. You know, like he already said.

“Go see your gastro.”

PHEW. I’m not dying. At least not from ovarian cancer.

I go see my gastro. Who tells me I don’t have a distended bowel.

What now? I’m given something to alleviate the bloating even though I’m not really bloating, and sent home to wonder what’s really killing me.

Over the weekend, I suffered in silence and took stool softeners, all while my symptoms completely changed. I no longer had ovary pain, I no longer had abdominal discomfort. I now had pressure wayyyy downtown. Like the kind that makes you feel like you have to go pee. All.the.time.

As if I don’t already have that problem.

So, once again, Hypochondriac Extraordinaire self-diagnoses herself with a UTI — a Urinary Tract Infection.

What doctor is next? You got it. My urologist.

What’s funny about being mid-life is you have a specialist in practically every specialty and you have all of them on speed dial. Is it a perk? Yeah, maybe. I guess it’s all on how you look at it.

I go to my urologist who figured it out in two seconds. Kidney stones. And the pressure way downtown? Not a UTI. That is called “Tunnel Syndrome.” Which occurs when stones get stuck in the ureter.

Why I am telling all of you this? Does this get ranked under “Too Much Information?” No. No, it does not. I am telling you all this in case it happens to you. This is a public service announcement.

You’re welcome because I may have saved you a future office visit, anxiety, and $250.

Anyway, I was sent for a CT scan and an X-ray. Let’s just say I have enough radiation in me to be Radioactive Man for Halloween. Too bad I’m a two days late thinking of that one. Story of my life.

The diagnosis is right on the money. She was correct about the ureter, but she also discovered a  stone in my right kidney which is weird because my right side was never an issue this entire time.

Prognosis? Wait it out. I’ve gotten good at that. Except now, I know I’m not dying.

So, to make a long story even longer, what was the moral of it all? There are a few. 1) Don’t self diagnose yourself; 2) Don’t panic, you may actually hurt yourself doing that although I didn’t really hurt myself but I’m sure I lost a year; and 3) drink water — lots and lots of water.

Flying Purple People Pleaser

Image courtesy of Cosmopolitan -- thanks Cosmo. For being my 2nd favorite drink and for having the perfect image for my blog post.
Image courtesy of Cosmopolitan. Thanks Cosmo — for being my 2nd favorite drink and for having the perfect image for my blog post.

I’ve always been a people pleaser. Always afraid of saying the wrong thing. Hurting someone’s feelings. God forbid if I say “no” to somebody. I don’t sleep for days.

The same thing goes for responding to texts, Snapchat and Facebook messages, phone calls.

I always feel the need to respond immediately. Any and all my friends and members of my family know they can text me any time of day and they will receive a reply from me fairly quickly. The only things that would keep me from responding is if I’m being mauled by a mountain lion or am dead.

And since neither of those have happened to me yet, that point is moot.

Some of my friends — actually, MOST of my friends — don’t live by my rules. I have friends who I will text and won’t receive a response from for days. Sometimes weeks. And on the very rare occasion, never.

When they do finally respond, my invitation to go out for drinks has expired. Or the news I wanted to share has been forgotten like the name of my first grade teacher.

I know my friends are there for me when I need them. If I texted my bestie, “I need help now,” she’d promptly reply with a concerned response and one foot in her car preparing for the worst, to help me off a ledge if need be. I not only know this because these are the types of people I surround myself with, but because it’s happened. On more than one occasion, sad to say.

Do I take it personally? Oh heck no. If I was that sensitive, I’d be curled up with my blanket in the corner, sucking my thumb. I gave that practice up in 1974.

Why do I do it? Does it go back to my earlier statement? Because I’m a people pleaser?

Maybe.

Here’s part of my problem, or at least what I’m blaming my nimble texting fingers on: I am one of those mothers who thinks if she hasn’t heard from her child in more than two hours, she most certainly must be in a ditch somewhere. Bleeding profusely from her big toe on her left foot because she was propelled from the car she was driving and said car is now crushing it.

The problem with this scenario is she doesn’t have a car at school. Also, she wears her seatbelt. So, this image that pops up in my head is, in actuality, next to impossible. Not to mention a waste of my time, energy, and adrenaline.

Anyway, my point is that I always have my phone with me so I can come to the rescue when and if the time comes. Which translates to being there for everyone else. Including those pesky telemarketers who have now learned how to speak Chinese.

Whatever it may be, I don’t want to do it anymore. No one else does, so why should I? My life is just as busy. Which really isn’t the point, I’m just being sensitive.

So, I’m not doing it anymore (maybe). There. I’ve said it (kind of).

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner. With my blanket. Sucking my thumb. My phone will be close by though. You know, because…ditches.

Airplane Food: Not Quite Fit for a Flounder

Have you ever eaten something so deplorable it shouldn’t even be considered edible, let alone pass the stringent testing of the FDA?

I have. And more than likely, so have you.

My family and I recently came back from a trip to Ireland. Everything about our excursion was amazing.

Except for one thing.

The airlplane food.

I have flown dozens of times in my fifty-one years of life. Starting when I was a little girl at the age of four when my dad would take me up in his rented Cessna 150.

I love to fly. I find it exhilarating, freeing, and beyond all else, adventurous.

I love that one short flight can take you to places you’ve read about in books, and dreamed of in, well, your dreams.

I love almost everything about it. Except one thing.

The food.

It’s a well-known fact that airplane food is not good. This is nothing new. Whether you’ve flown or not, everyone knows this to be true. Airplane food has a bad reputation.

And for good reason.

I’m not sure if it’s better in First Class as I’ve only flown that way once when we were coming back from Orlando, Florida. That is a long story that ends with one happy husband who found this to be the highlight of our trip.

You either love Disney, or you hate it. There is no middle ground. I suppose you can take a gander as to the direction DH went in.

Anyway, who taste tests this crap? A barnyard pig? Because that’s what it reminds me of — slop.

We booked a flight on Norwegian, a very budget conscious airline. They are no frills. There are no screens set into the backs of the seats, there is no place to plug in your earphones, they don’t have music. There is no place to pay for wi-fi.

I get it. We got round-trip nonstop tickets to Ireland for a really good price. They have to cut expenses somewhere. We don’t get a movie. So what? That’s what Kindles and iPads are for.

We certainly weren’t expecting food. So, when they announced that the flight attendants would be serving dinner, we were quite surprised. And to make matters better, we had a choice.

On the menu that fine evening was Chicken with Spinach, and Stuffed Shells. Wine was included, with a refill. I was in my glory. “Free” wine with dinner. What could be better?

The food, that’s what. The food could be better. But that’s already been determined.

The Kid and DH asked for the chicken. I requested the stuffed shells. The good thing about airplane food is you don’t have to wait. The bad things is — say it with me — it sucks.

As we removed the foil tightly wrapped around our culinary delights, the smell hit us like a boy’s locker room after a Friday night football game at the local high school.

There are two things in this photo that are good. Can you name them? Hint: one is wine and one is a book.
There are two things in this photo that are good. Can you name them? Hint: one is wine and one is a book.

My shells had enough sauce to feed a small family of fireflies.

As for the chicken?

All I can say is at least I could muster up the energy to take more than one bite of my meal. The chicken was inedible based on sight alone.

I could actually hear the collective gagging of the passengers. Even at 30,000 feet, over the loud humming of the engines.

I had the pleasure of catching a glimpse of the boy child across the isle from us as he took a bite of his chicken. The look on his face was pure disgust. I laughed in spite of myself. You know, because it was sad funny. It played out like a bad dramedy.

Ahh, life. It’s just so complicated. Especially when airline food is involved.

All I can say is, thank god for the wine. Wine fixes everything. Even slop.

How Lowe Can You Go? Part 2

If you missed Part 1, please click here. You’ll need to catch up. I’ll wait.

This is it. This is the exact poster that hung on the back of my door.
This is it. This is the exact poster!

I dropped my arms in total disbelief. This couldn’t be happening. I had to take matters into my own hands. After all, I had a huge poster of him on the back of my bedroom door. He was the last person I saw at night, and the first person I saw in the morning.

I was his biggest fan and I had every right to take matters into my own hands. I just couldn’t let him get away.

“YOOOOO HOOOOO!!!”

I yelled in the loudest outside voice I could muster up, my arms swinging in the air. I looked like one of those air traffic control guys. Except I wasn’t on a runway.

And, well, I wasn’t an air traffic control guy.

Anyway, if you know me you know I have a good set of lungs. I could put Jamie Lee Curtis from “Halloween” fame to shame.

“ARE YOU WHO I THINK YOU ARE???”

He stopped at the corner where his limo driver was waiting with the back door held open.  With his left foot inside the car, he turned to look at me (remarkably, I might add) and nodded his head.

“Yes.”

That’s all I needed for confirmation. Right there in the flesh was good old Rob Lowe. Just like I thought.

At that, I turned on my heel. And as fast as four inch heels in a skirt that allowed as much leg room as an economy seat on a Spirit airline flight could go, I ran.

I ran like my life depended on it.

I ran as if I was Speedy Gonzales going for a pound of the fanciest Swiss cheese this side of the Alps.

You would be impressed.

From where I stood, I could see the shock on his face, the lifting of his eyebrows, the mouth turn in a large “O” shape. I’m pretty sure he could have fit ten Havana cigars in there.

He leaned down and jumped into his limo, but he wasn’t quick enough. I gained on him so fast, his driver didn’t have time to close the door. At that moment I was more proud than when I won a stuffed snake during one of those water race games at the local fair when I was twelve.

I never learned how to dive, but there is a first time for everything. I threw my arms over my head, and with clasped hands, elbows to ears, and chin tucked, I dove into that car better than Greg Louganis during the Olympic games of 1984.

And then I said it. I said those words no self-respecting young woman should ever utter:

“TOUCH ME!!!”

(My hand. I wanted him to touch my hand.)

I asked this of him as my body was stretched across the seat, my shoes hanging out of the car door, pointing to the blacktop.

To my chagrin, there already was a young lady seated next to him, and I was laying across her lap. Rob was at the time engaged to Melissa Gilbert, so I was none too happy that he had another woman with him.

I accusingly ask who she was. I had a right to know. Me and Half Pint went way back and I owed her that much.

He ignored my question, and with his head pressed against the far window, he stuck out his right hand to shake and then very impatiently asked me to get my friends and get in, or get out of his car.

My parting words to him were, “We will NOT go to your party because you are rude!” You know, because having a twenty year old jump into your car uninvited was perfectly polite.

But damn, I worked so hard to get there.

Once I wedged myself out of the backseat of his limo, straightened my skirt and fixed my hair, I looked up to see my three friends staring at me in utter disbelief.

It was their turn to pick up their jaws with the roller end of a Bonne Bell Lipgloss.

And that, my friends, is the story of the night I met Rob Lowe. It is a thirty-one year old memory that will last a lifetime. And quite honestly, one that just never gets old.

It’s amazing the ridiculous and idiotic things we do in our youth, without a care in the world.

Would I do this now? As a fifty-one year old, mature woman?

Of course not.

I can’t run in heels anymore.

(Edited to add after publication):

There are a number of reasons I did not go with Mr. Lowe on this particular evening. #1) my friends apparently were not interested; 2) It did not feel right and felt kind of icky, even though I threw myself at him; 3) He was known to be a bad boy and had a bit of a drug habit. I had at least some sense to hang back. In retrospect, I used his bad attitude to get out of it. I really did just want to shake his hand!