“Paper Towels Paper Towels Paper Towels” — A Short Story Involving Menopause Brain

That’s me repeating to myself what I need to get from the pantry. On the way to the pantry I stop to pick up a random leaf that has blown in from the back door that, in turn, requires me to turn around and throw in the kitchen trashcan.

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While I’m at the kitchen trashcan, I notice it is full so I pull out the bag and reach under the sink to grab a new one. While under there I notice we are running low on sponges. I go to the junk drawer for a slip of paper and a pen to start a grocery list.

I can’t find a pen, so I head upstairs to my office. While in my office, I see that I left a bill on my desk that needs to be mailed. I grab the envelope to bring out to the mailbox. When I get back downstairs, I realize I have to go to the bathroom. I stop in the bathroom and notice I need to replenish the toilet paper.

I head back upstairs to the hall closet and realize I never made my bed. While in the bedroom, I see there is a glass on the side table that I need to bring to the kitchen. On my way to the kitchen, I stop in the upstairs bathroom because I need a hair tie.

All this running around has made me hot.

I go downstairs again and stand in the kitchen staring at nothing in particular. What was I doing? I don’t remember. I’ll retrace my steps. That will help.

On my step-retracing journey, I notice an empty water glass on the sink in the upstairs bathroom, the hall closet is wide open, my bed is half made, the garbage can in the kitchen is in need of a bag, there is no toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom, there is an unstamped envelope in my hand, and my hair is tied up.

How did that happen?

I’m sure it started with that walk to the pantry. But what was it that I needed? Paprika? Or was it sponges? Oh where was that grocery list I started? That’s right. I don’t have a pen.

But first I need to wash my hands.

Dammit. We’re out of paper towels.

“Paper towels paper towels paper towels,” I say to myself as I walk toward the pantry.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up sweeping out the garage.

The Drink

(NOTE: If you think you are an alcoholic, please seek help. This post is not meant to poke fun at anyone who has a serious drinking problem and needs help quitting.)

It’s no secret that I enjoy drinking. I don’t enjoy getting drunk and I most definitely do not enjoy a hangover, especially at my age. But I do enjoy a glass of wine. It is a part of my nightly routine. You know, like brushing my teeth and washing my face, except more fun.

My problem is it’s not just one glass of wine. It’s two or three. And if I’m going to be really honest, sometimes it’s four. I know my limit. I know when to stop to avoid the dreaded hangover.

Before the pandemic, I made a “no drinking on a work night” rule for myself. I stuck to it for a while. But true to form, I gave up and gave in. I am a social creature and love to hang out with friends and it was always the “let’s meet Tuesday night for pizza and wine,” or something like it that would undo me.

And then the pandemic hit. No more Tuesday night pizza and wine with friends. I may have not been physically with them but my brain didn’t get the memo. Also, the Happy Hour Zoom and Houseparty calls did not help.

It seemed to be the trend (it took me five seconds to find out that alcohol consumption went up by 78% in 2020). That was a trend I could get behind. It was the perfect excuse to drink every single night if I wanted to. After all, everyone else was doing it, so it must be ok.

image courtesy of @ marriage.meme

After about seven months I decided the drinking was out of control, so I reinstated my rule of “no drinking on a week night.” I was tired of being “off” the next morning. Exhausted and groggy and full of regret. After all, I was doing so many great things for myself like eating right and exercising. Alcohol didn’t seem to fit in with all that.

On October 5th I stopped drinking during a weeknight. Again. But this time it stuck.

Also, I did a little research. Apparently, one glass of wine a day is fine. It even has some heart healthy benefits. But more than that? Not so much.

Did you know eight alcoholic beverages a week for women is considered heavy drinking? Me either. During the early months of this pandemic, I was probably drinking close to twenty drinks per week.

Do you know what else drinking can cause? High blood pressure, liver disease, cancer, and memory problems, just to name a few. Bottom line is drinking did not fit in with how I pictured my current and future self and I desperately needed to make some changes.

Enter “The Empowerment Experience” Stage Left. It’s run by a pretty badass woman and made up of some pretty badass women. And for lack of a better way to describe it, it’s a “course” that basically helps you to get your shit together. I know I could have backed off the drinking on my own eventually if I pushed myself (maybe), but this group really helped me to commit, be accountable, and sit through discomfort.

Every week we choose one challenge for ourselves. It doesn’t matter what it is. Making the “no weeknight drinking” rule held me accountable. We check in with each other every single day. Some of us have a little setback. That’s life. Sometimes we take two steps forward, and one back. My point is I truly believe this group is what made me want to finally make it stick.

But I still had the issue of the weekend. I was treating them like a free-for-all and for all the work I did during the week, I just reversed it by the time Friday night arrived. So, I did something I never in a million years thought I would or even could commit to.

And it’s call “Dry January.”

I never thought I could do this. I have learned how to sit through discomfort. Nine times out of ten, the feeling of wanting a glass of wine passes.

So far it has been eleven days. That included two weekends and even a very small, safe gathering with a few girlfriends, and I am happy to say I haven’t had anything but tea and water. Oh, and a little sparkling white grape juice.

Every morning I wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to face the day with no regrets.

I do not typically do affiliate stuff. It’s just not my thing. But this is something I really want to share because it works and I feel very passionate about it. Otherwise, I would not be here talking about it.

If you are in need of a change in your life — it could be anything from needing to exercise more to losing weight and anything your heart desires in between — and are ready and willing to put in the work, this program is for you. Unlike my “morning after” you will have no regrets. (Click on image below to get started — you’ll be glad you did)

The Empowerment Experience

229 Minutes

That’s how long I was sitting in line to get tested for Covid-19 this past Saturday. 229 minutes. For those of you who don’t feel like doing the calculation, or if you’re like me and are not good at third grade math or just don’t have the ability to run numbers in your head as quickly as Sir Isaac Newton, that computes to three hours and forty-nine minutes.

Nearly four hours to receive a covid test. It takes less time to run the Boston marathon. Or to take a round trip flight to Wisconsin from New York. But don’t take a trip because we are in a pandemic. You probably shouldn’t do any marathons either. This pandemic is a killjoy.

I could have saved myself four hours

Long story short, I wanted to be tested because Friday night I felt like I was coming down with a cold and woke up Saturday morning congested and headachy and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that renders you incapable of doing anything outside of rolling over.

I also had a dream that a friend’s cat was talking to me.

I know many people who came down with the dreaded ‘rona and it started out the exact same way…cold-like symptoms and weird dreams.

Unfortunately, there was not one single appointment at a local walk-in clinic or pharmacy inside of 72 hours and my PCP doesn’t have weekend hours. My only option was one of those places you see on the news where the cars snake around for what seems like miles.

Every time I see this madness on the evening news I am astounded. It always reminds me of one of those apocalyptic movies where people are trying to get out of dodge en masse. I swore that would never be me. But there I was. Stuck in a line of cars, but without an apocalypse or zombie to be had.

What does one do for four hours while deliberately waiting for someone to shove a ten-inch Q-tip up your nostrils?

In my case, I spent an hour talking on the phone with my parents, did a little Facebook scrolling, texted some friends complaining about the injustice of it all, and enjoyed a little people watching.

In 229 minutes I saw a car overheat and get towed away, I saw a man walk up the long line of cars with a red gas can. Not sure if he was selling gas or if he just simply ran out. But darn. That’s not a bad side gig.

I myself only had a quarter of a tank of gas leftover from when I filled my car in September, so it could happen. There are stranger things. I mean, I was willingly waiting in line for 229 minutes to have my brain tickled. Saturdays sure aren’t what they used to be.

Where was I? Oh yeah, people watching.

I watched the teenager in the car in front of me get out of the vehicle, walk down the hill, and come back with food an hour later.

I saw a man get food delivered to his car. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that. I was so hungry by the end of this, I was close to exiting my vehicle and start grazing on the fir tree to my right.

I did panic a bit when I realized that if I had to go to the bathroom, I wouldn’t be able to. Turns out there was a bathroom at the three hour mark, but it also turns out there was a note on the door. Not sure what it said because I couldn’t see from my vantage point, but my guess is it wasn’t, “Welcome all who could potentially be infected with the Covid-19 virus, please come on in and sit a spell so you can continue to spread your germs all over the universe.”

After three hours, one of the nice volunteers came up to my car to scan my online registration, thanked me profusely for doing so, and stuck a Post-It note on my windshield with my test number. She told me I was almost there with “only” about another hour to go.

When I got close enough to see the front of the line, I started timing how long it took for one vehicle to get through the actual testing area — anywhere from a minute and a half to two minutes. When I pulled up, I was done in well under a minute.

In other words, register online for these things if you can, people. It will save a lot of time for everyone.

The lady who administers the test and looks as if she is going to do a mold remediation on you instead of a simple nose swab, greeted me with what I could gather was a smile on her face even though she was working her butt off in the wind and cold all alone to test 400 people. I appreciate her.

But I wouldn’t blame her one bit if she lost her mind and ended up shoving that Q-tip all the way to the temporal lobe and killed us all. Wow. That took a turn. I’ve been watching too much Netflix. Maybe Disney Channel would be a better choice.

The Verdict: The specimen that was collected from the deep recesses of my face on the end of that ten inch Q-tip has determined I am Covid-19 negative. Should have done the cover test (see meme above).

Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 9 but really 8

I am aware this Christmas letter should be Volume 9 but I don’t know what happened last year. Either there wasn’t much to report or I was just lazy. I vote for the latter.

Move away from the tequila, 2021. Meme courtesy of Malicious Women Co.

Happy “Thank God This Year Is Almost Over” to you all! 2020 was a complete cluster-fart. How could any of us have imagined that we would be in a global pandemic by mid-March? The one good thing about that is I didn’t have to follow through with my New Year’s resolutions. Not that I would have anyway, but I feel like I had a valid excuse this time. I can’t remember what exactly that excuse was, but I’ll get back to you.

The Kid graduated from college in May. She was supposed to graduate with the traditional pomp and circumstance of a proper graduation. But, like everyone else who had a graduation this year, the pomp was cancelled due to the circumstance. It was quite disappointing. There were enough tears shed to cause a second flood. And that was just from me.

Instead it was moved to our driveway and included strangers walking by and a thing called Facebook Live. A pitcher of white sangria and some balloons made it feel less driveway-ee. My graduation speech was way better than what Oprah would have said probably. Just ask my parents. They were so proud. Oh wait, this isn’t about me.

DH is doing fine and dandy. We are both lucky enough to be able to work from home which brings on a whole new meaning to “spending quality time together.” The good news is no one is dead. We do have our own separate office which helps. I just need to stop screaming to the other room for him to bring me my lunch. I should probably invest in a cow bell.

DH is one year closer to retirement. I guess I’m one year closer to retirement as well, but there is quite an age gap between us so he’ll get there much sooner than I will. I remember how fun it always was that I was the younger one. No one warned me about this new development.

It was just DH and me for Thanksgiving as it will be for Christmas. We are playing the Responsible Citizens of the World by keeping our circle closed. I made a turkey with all the fixings for Thanksgiving. I’ve never done that before and I have enough leftovers to feed the entire Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I would invite you over, but we are in a global pandemic. Also, the turkey is starting to smell funny. My New Year’s resolution for 2021 should include “stop making science projects in the fridge.”

Aside from my science projects, I have started a new hobby called Watercoloring. Like knitting, I thought I was going to rock it. You know, because according to me I am naturally gifted in all mediums of art stuff. But like knitting, my work looks like a five year old did it. I apologize to all five year olds out there for being offensive. You shouldn’t be reading my blog anyway. Hell, you shouldn’t even be reading yet. If you can, then may I suggest “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss? That was a good one.

I started out 2020 going to the gym everyday after work, but then Covid hit and the gym shut down. Oh, I think I just thought of my valid excuse from paragraph #1 and I’m sticking to it.

I spent the first three to four months in quarantine eating all the things and drinking all the drinks that my car now knows how to get to the liquor store and the local bakery all on its own. I am currently trying to work feverishly to catch up on my 2020 resolution of losing weight before the new year hits. I thought I was doing pretty good, but it turns out my underwear are just stretched out.

Oh, I did want to mention a positive from this past year: For ages I’ve been trying to figure out how to check my breath and just like that — BAM — put on a mask and I get my answer. There is a silver lining to everything.

That just about sums it up. For the record, 2021 will not be my year. I said 2020 would be and look where that got me. This is called “nipping it in the bud.” I just remembered being proactive was one of my 2020 resolutions. Actually, no it wasn’t. But it’s never too late to change. Just ask my stretched out underwear.

The Year of the Pity Party

I am a self-proclaimed Party Animal but these days the party is more of the pity type. I used to “party” as they say, but something by way of a pandemic has put a stop to that.

Who am I kidding? Lately, the animal in me has been of the taxidermic variety anyway, but it felt weird saying Party Dead Animal.

Oh never mind.

Ok, so it’s not just MY party but I was invited against my will so that gives me the right to cry about it. Credit for meme goes to weheartit.com. Also, yes I see the typo.

With the exception of the first ten, maybe eleven weeks of this year, 2020 has been a complete asshole. Aside from the obvious, there have been more things cancelled than any of us care to discuss.

In my own personal life the first thing to go was my only child’s graduation from college. It was disappointing enough not to be able to see her walk, but then not seeing family and having to cancel our swanky rooftop restaurant reservations just added to the frustration.

I sent the event coordinator at said restaurant an email stating, “I’m sure this will be over in a couple weeks so let’s discuss then.” If an email could collect dust, I can assure you it would look like those stuffed animals your mother always complained about.

Anyway, it wasn’t over in a couple weeks. It wasn’t over in a couple months. In fact, here we are over eight months later and not only is it not over, but I feel like we are going backwards. We are nearing December and there is no proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not necessarily afraid of the dark, but tunnels scare me on a good day, forget it if the lights go out.

What was I saying? Oh right…cancellations.

Then there are the birthday celebrations. Perhaps not as heartbreaking since we all get a birthday each year, but still disappointing nonetheless. I was going to put my pandemic birthday on the list of things to tell the grandkids one day, but it turns out we will all have a pandemic birthday. Some of us will get two. If we get to three I’m leaving. Although there really is no place to go except the middle of the ocean or the moon.

Seeing that the only thing that will keep me above water is a weak doggy paddle and the fact that space travel scares me more than dark tunnels, I’m kind of in a bit of a situation.

Weddings had to be cancelled, postponed or relegated to a field with the happy couple and an officiant with a bullhorn.

Ditto for funerals. Except without the happy couple and bullhorn. The non-funerals make me sad most of all and does nothing but conjure up thoughts of Eleanor Rigby.

Then we had some cancelled holidays.

Easter came and went without so much as an Easter bonnet. Our traditional family gathering was cancelled. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus had to be contained to a 12″ computer screen and chocolate from our stash of leftover Halloween candy.

The Fourth of July for us consisted of catching a peek of some dime store fireworks the neighbors lit off. And that was only if we were lucky enough to be looking out the window at the right time.

Thanksgiving would be normal, right? Wrong.

Another large family gathering cancelled. I was not happy about this development because now I have to cook Thanksgiving dinner for the first time in my life. I don’t even know how to defrost a turkey. Is there such a thing as Thanksgiving chili? I’m pretty good at that.

Then to add insult to injury, after much deliberation and anguish, the only child I was speaking of earlier had to be uninvited to come home because it was too much of a risk. That brought on many, many tears from me. Sure, some of my emotional distress could be blamed on menopause. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Finally, we have the mother of all holidays — Christmas. The resurrection of Jesus had to be put on the back burner, but no way will we still be in this pandemic for His birth. Or will we? I guess there could be a Christmas miracle. A Christmas miracle in the form of a vaccine, perhaps?

I could go on and talk about New Year’s Eve, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We rang in 2020 and look where that got us.

We’re Lost In a MASK-uerade

If you told me this would one day be our reality, I would have believed you about as much as I believe there are martians. It still blows my mind every time I leave my house. It’s like an apocalyptical mask event (I don’t even know if that makes sense, but I feel like this year is a free-for-all for nonsense).

I think we all remember our very first mask. Mine was sent to me in a panic by a friend back on the 112th day of March. It is practical, pinches at the nose, fits perfectly, and alleviated some of my anxiety those first few weeks.

My second mask was made by a friend and features…what else? Photos of ladies drinking wine. I enjoy that when I’m eating at a restaurant al fresco with the hubs or meeting a friend for…umm, wine. Of course. Well, I don’t drink or eat with it actually on. My secret talent is coloring inside the lines, not figuring out how to eat sushi through cloth.

During these past ten months that really feels like ten years, I have collected nine masks. Of those nine masks, only the two above-mentioned fit. The others just flop around on my face like a mackeral that was washed ashore. If I were to rob a bank in any of them, my identity would quickly be revealed.

I actually did go into the bank recently and had to bite my tongue to keep from joking with the teller about how I felt like a bank robber. She probably would have done one of two things: pushed the panic button under her desk or told me to come up with something original.

Anyway, before I digress into places I can’t return let me continue.

I am amazed by how many people have really nice fitting masks. I usually come home from running errands with a touch of mask envy. “Mask Envy.” How is this even an emotion?

So, it has been determined by me that I have some ill fitting masks. That poses the next question, “how effective are they?” Do I need to have them tailored? I mean, that can’t sound any crazier than the whole of 2020, now can it?

Aside from the obvious, there are some advantages to this mask wearing thing. The obvious being it’s said to lessen the spread of disease. Or does it? I don’t think anyone really knows. But I’m not taking any chances.

Another thing I like about wearing a mask is I don’t have to smile at anyone if I don’t want to. I’m not saying I don’t like to smile at people, I’m just saying after being a smiler for over fifty-three years, it’s nice to get a break.

I’ve tried smiling with my eyes, but I usually just end up looking like a certain fictional novelist who loses his mind and terrorizes his family.

photo credit goes to slate.com

My resting bitch face is quite happy and that’s all that really matters. What else do I like about wearing a mask? Well, this is terrible and I probably shouldn’t say it out loud but seeing someone you might know out in public and pretending to not see them.

I know, I know. I realize I just bought myself a seat in Hell.

So, I have discovered during the writing of this pointless essay that I don’t really like smiling, may or may not have robbed a bank, could be deranged, and that I like hot places. Talk about discovering yourself.

Also, could there be martians? We’re matching our face masks to our pocketbooks, so anything is possible. This is the year 2020 after all.


Random Is What Random Does

As I sit here on this 130th 145th 158th 182nd 221st day of hiding out from Covid-19, I have had a lot of time to think. Actually it’s not “thinking” per se. It’s more just weird and useless crap that worms its way into my brain and settles there until I get it out of my system.

Besides work and Netflix specials, there isn’t much else to do. I mean, I guess I could clean out a closet or two, but you know…Netflix.

Here I go:

  1. The way 2020 is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if it killed Santa.
  2. You know you’re lazy when you don’t want to take the time to flip over when laying out in the sun. This past summer my body looked like a reversed mullet — party in the front, business in the back. I even have the lingering handprint just below my left knee to prove it.
  3. Is it true the powers that be are adding “irregardless” to the dictionary? I don’t know anyone who is happy about this. Except my hubby. He likes that word and is quite pleased with himself to be part of “the movement.”
  4. Even though I am a self-proclaimed extravert, I do not like people in my personal space. Thank you, Coronavirus for making this possible.
  5. The pen I was using when I started working from home on March 12 is finally running out of ink. Two thumbs up to the Hilton Garden Inn’s writing utensils.
  6. Paying over $500 for a pair of sneakers that have zip ties attached to them is about as dumb as spending $200,000 to go to Mars.
  7. I seem to be spending more time on Google looking for cool masks to match my yoga pants than I do actually doing yoga.
  8. I’ve noticed when I don’t shave my legs, my legs stay crossed. It’s like natural velcro.
  9. Why can’t I look as good as my Snapchat filter?
  10. I decided I’m going to throw all the mirrors in my house away. Except the one in my bedroom. That one makes me look like my Snapchat filter. Disregard random thought #10.
  11. Remember when we had the threat of murder hornets?
  12. What murder hornets? I don’t remember any murder hornets.
  13. First it was toilet paper. Now it’s paper towels. What will be the next unattainable thing? If it’s Netflix, I may have to reconsider that trip to Mars.
  14. When you resort to wearing your retainer all day to stop yourself from snacking, you probably should seek help.
  15. My dog can’t wait for me to go back into the office so he can continue to lick all his private parts in peace.
  16. I never thought I’d be as excited as I am these days to go down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. Finding Lysol wipes is as exhilarating for me as reaching that ever elusive itch in the middle of my back.
  17. I don’t care what side of the fence you are on, you have to admit these fly memes are kinda funny. Come on, they are.
I don’t know where this originated from but thanks to “People I Want to Punch in the Throat” I now know it exists.

There really is so much more where that came from, but I have run out of time. I have to go do something productive. Like look for paper towels. Or at least figure out how to make them.

Pause the Meno

It’s like a cruel joke on the human female body. Generally, I love being a woman. I think we’re smarter, more logical, better looking, we have better clothes, and can have babies, just to name a few. But this nonsense of menopause is just a bit over the top, don’t you think?

Not to get graphic or anything, but the majority of us start with the menses at an early age. I know the reason for it. I don’t need a theological or health education refresher. I get it. But why for the love of all things sacred does menopause have to last longer than an unwrapped Hostess Twinkie?

By my unscientific calculations and some early grammar school math I will have suffered, from beginning to end, for over forty years. That is if my menopause lasts for as long as a recent study determined it can last for — fourteen years. Fourteen years. The magic number when I became a woman. How ironic.

Since November, when a blood test confirmed my current state, and since the last time I complained about it, my “symptoms” have increased exponentially. How, you ask? Oh, please allow me to do the honors…

Perfect example of menopause brain. I don’t know anyone who can drink from their eyeball, do you?
  • I trust my menopause brain about as much as I trust gas station sushi.
  • My thermostat works as well as the 1980 Fiat Strada I had when I was seventeen.
  • I not only feel like an old jalopy, I’m starting to look like one, so to speak. Just take a look at my unmaintained hair. I have more grey’s than a cloudy day.
  • I am sleeping almost as much as a bullfrog, which is zero in case you didn’t know. File this under “random things you find on the internet when you can’t sleep.”
  • God help you if my mood changes and you’re standing directly in my path. You would be safer outside during an electrical storm. On your roof. Holding a metal rod.
  • Random itching during the most inopportune times. It’s like the tooth fairy except instead of money, she’s leaving little droppings of itch dust directly on my skin. I wonder if that is the bullfrog’s problem?
  • I went from not needing to wash my hair for four days to my roots looking like they took a dip in a McDonald’s fryer after two.
  • As a typically extroverted person, I am amazed at how introverted I have become. Oh wait. That’s because we’re in a pandemic. Never mind. Phew. That was a close call.
  • I am alarmed at the amount of hair that falls out and into the drain during a shower. The good news is the one lone chin hair that has been sprouting for years has magically disappeared.
  • During a flush, my face could be used as a steam iron. Black & Decker has nothing on me.

I feel like I have been spending the last few months complaining about this, but I believe I have earned the right. So, buckle up. It’s going to be a long ride. Ten months down. Only 158 more to go.

Spanx Me

Image source: NatalieDee.com

Remember back in the day when we could go do fancy things and wear fancy clothes? Like, for a wedding or formal dinner? Ho hum, me too. I sure do miss you, any year before 2020.

Although I have to say I have grown quite accustomed to wearing yoga pants and not wearing a bra or makeup — with my hair up in what I call a messy bun, but may look more like the home of a black-billed magpie to you — I sometimes long for somewhere decent to go besides the McDonald’s drive-thru and ShopRite.

Somewhere to go where I can actually take the time to put on makeup and look presentable enough to see the Queen. Or at least her housemaid.

Unfortunately for me, the little black dress requires some extra help these days. And it comes in the form of the household name called “Spanx.”

The Spanx I do not miss. Although it does lie in wait for me — sharing a drawer with my most private undergarments — I do not look forward to shoehorning myself into those items again anytime soon.

One of the last weddings I attended was that of a nephew. This was before I lost weight (and gained it back again, as I do). I took the time to curl my hair with the same hot roller set my mother used in the ’70s, and applied my makeup with such precision anyone could have confused me with Michelangelo during the painting of the Sistine Chapel, I’m sure of it.

Everything looked good from the head up. In my opinion, anyway. Now to do something with the below-the-neck portion of myself. I couldn’t very well go to this event bodiless now, could I? No, that most likely would have stolen the bride’s thunder.

I couldn’t help myself. Photo courtesy of sites.psu.edu

My little black dress fit like a glove — you know, of the O.J. variety. If it didn’t fit, then why didn’t I quit? Because, like I said, I had something in my arsenal that I hoped would help.

Enter The Spanx, stage left.

Now, of course, like most women in my situation I have more than one to choose from. I have the high waisted brief, the bodysuit, the shaping cami, the thigh slimmer…just to name a few.

Now, to make the excruciating decision of which garment to wear, umm, under my garment. I tried on several and quickly discovered that just one pair of Spanx wasn’t going to cut it.

It was made abundantly clear there was only one way to tame the beast. And that was to double up.

In the end I decided on the bodysuit and the high waisted brief (yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds). The bodysuit OVER the high waisted brief to prevent the brief from rolling down my body like a roller shade.

Brilliant.

Except it wasn’t. You know, brilliant.

Have you ever worn armor? The kind that is made of steel? Me neither. But I imagine it must be pretty darn close to what I created for myself that day. It was total torture.

Don’t let the smile fool you. I was crying on the inside..

Once I got everything pulled on and pulled in, I thought I looked pretty good. But what I didn’t factor in was sitting down, bathroom breaks, the damage I was potentially doing to my internal organs, and umm, living.

I’m not really sure how the ladies of the 18th and 19th centuries survived this nonsense. It’s a wonder the corset survived more than a day let alone several hundreds of years.

Also, I don’t know who came up with the cliche, “beauty is pain,” but she should have her tongue cut out.

Fun fact: Can you believe a woman invented the first corset? She probably died of internal bleeding.

Not a mere few hours prior I was channeling Michelangelo. Now I was channeling a pregnant women overdue with a literal village. Bending at the waist was a near impossibility. It was not going well.

Trying to use the facilities was a whole other story. Although unintentional, I was suddenly a physical comedian. Lucille Ball had nothing on me. Unfortunately, the show was wasted on the inside of a 2’x2′ bathroom stall.

Anyway, I survived the night. Mostly because I gave up and pulled the darn things off altogether. I could hear the collective deep sigh of relief from my ovaries to my liver.

These Spanx may not have fit nicely under my little black dress, but they sure did fit nicely in my little black bag.

Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

When I was in the throes of teenage-dom, you couldn’t pull the phone out of my hand without the assistance of a grizzly bear with a crowbar. This was during the hormone-induced-boy-crazed stage of my life where every ring of the telephone meant the difference between life and death. I’m sure I burned more calories running for that 1982 telephone than I do during HIIT class.

The rotary phone wasn’t easy to talk on either. Ours was stuck to a wall which was a challenge all on its own. The dial was what nightmares are made of, and the handset was attached to the base by a curly cord that would twist up into itself. Unless you took the time to unfurl it, the basic act of moving was a near impossibility.

But that curly, twisted-up, wired cord was my lifeline. And I was dead without it.

I got that cord so stretched out, I could practically talk in any room of our modest little home. My favorite was stretching it from the kitchen to across the hallway and into the only bathroom we had. I would lock myself in there and talk until a member of our five-person household was banging the door down.

I would talk for hours upon hours on that phone. So much so that my ear would sweat itself into hives. More often than not I would be interrupted by the sound of an operator coming onto the line with the news that my mother was trying to get through. Anything short of a natural disaster did not an emergency make.

I nearly died and went to heaven when the push button was invented. Then the party line became a thing where you could have three people on the phone at once. That right there was just short of orgasmic. To make things even better, the cordless came along and changed everything.

Of course, that was followed by the digital phone where you could actually see who was calling. I think they call it “Caller ID.” That was almost better than the invention of bread.

Obviously, the telephone has evolved over the years. Enough to want to make Alexander Graham Bell roll over in his grave.

What we didn’t see coming was the invention of the car phone. Everyone remembers their first. Mine was no lighter than a baby seal and came in an attractive case that resembled an oversized toiletry bag.

Now we have cell phones that are so small they fit in our back pocket, and are smarter than most people I know. They have the capability to contact someone without actually calling them, order dinner, book a vacation, count calories, teach CPR, and take better pictures than a Nikon camera.

These days you don’t even need a landline. The cellular phone has taken over.

Poor Alex.

Like the telephone, I too, have evolved.

I am no longer a fan of talking on the phone, unless it’s to my daughter, parents, or a friend I haven’t spoken to in a long time. And even then it’s questionable.

I’m not really sure what happened. Perhaps it’s due to my overuse of the thing when I was fifteen and the novelty just wore off. Or it could just simply be because I’m sick of talking.

It sounds like an oxymoron of sorts allowing those words, “sick of talking” to pass my lips. If there is one thing I have a gift for, it’s the gab. Although, mostly that gift is put to use during a movie, long car rides, and inopportune times that have forced people to ask me to close my trap. Can you imagine?

Anyway, these days I prefer texting to calling. It’s more convenient, faster, and not such a time suck. Sure, I run the risk of misspelling a word or using the incorrect use of “your,” but that’s a chance I’m willing to take. Even if it is blasphemy.

I guess my point is don’t call, text.

Just kidding. You can call. 

Just text first.