Category Archives: Middle Age/Aging

I’ll Take One Cardboard Box…er, Microwave Oven, Please

What happened to the good old days — days that existed before I did — where everyday household appliances lasted longer than Betty White?

I know this to be true because my mother-in-law gave us her old Electrolux when we first got married. You know the kind. It had a turquoise blue canister that you dragged around behind you. The only reason we don’t have it anymore is because we were tired of dragging it behind us.

But that baby sucked. And good.

About six years ago, we renovated our kitchen. Gutted it to the studs. It was past due by about two decades. The flooring was this weird blue or gray or Blay-something linoleum with a mystery burn mark from 1989.

The cabinets were resurfaced so many times, veneer was being held together by Scotch tape. Want to know how many pieces of Scotch tape? I can’t tell you because I can’t count that high.

The ceilings were made of popcorn. Not the kind you eat. The kind that is ugly. The “kernels” of the ceiling were unclean-able. But this post isn’t about my ugly unclean-able popcorn ceilings.

Or the cabinets.

Or the linoleum.

Which were all replaced anyway in The Great Kitchen Makeover.

With our new kitchen, came all new appliances. A fridge, dishwasher, oven, stove top, and microwave. Beautiful, gleaming, stainless steel, gorgeous appliances.

Word to your mother: Stainless steel is a pain in the literal ass. I love it, and there really is nothing else I like better. But dang, don’t touch it or you’ll be sorry.

The microwave started to go last fall. Or winter. I don’t remember the exact timing. What I CAN tell you is it was one month past the five year extended warranty we purchased with the, umm, purchase.

Want to know what DH was told when he called? “Well, sir. This is why you should have bought the 10-year warranty.”

This guy was the start of our troubles -- not the towel, the towel is great -- the microwave.

This guy was the start of our troubles. Not the towel. The towel, which was a gift from a friend of mine, is awesome and if I knew you were coming I would have ironed it. So, no. Not the towel. The trouble I speak of is this here microwave.

Yes, he said that. He basically implied, in so many words, that this happens. The lifespan of an appliance is five years. Five. Cinco. Fem. Five.

You know what lives longer than this microwave? A fire ant.

That’s embarrassing.

He then proceeded to inform us that we were basically shit out of luck. You know, in so many words.

Unfortunately, this man doesn’t know my DH who does not take “no” for an answer (legally, of course). After many phone calls, going into the store that shall remain nameless countless times, emails and more phone calls, it finally got fixed. Albeit, six months later.

Or maybe it was longer. When you are in microwave-less hell, time marches on like waiting for a sloth to cross a six lane highway.

I mean we had to pay for it. You know, because our five year warranty expired. But for unexplainable reasons, we had to just about sell our first born to get someone out here to repair it.

That is just as big of a mystery as the burn hole in our 1989 linoleum.

It wasn’t easy either because the microwave is set into the wall. But I don’t need to explain the specifics because I don’t really care. It’s fixed. Although I will add that every time we get some kind of electrical storm, we have to turn off the power that runs to it so it doesn’t get fried.

It’s great fun running into the basement to pull the fuse when we hear thunder in the distance. Remember that old trick we used to do when we were kids? Counting between thunderclaps to see how far away a storm was (one one thousand, two one thousand…)? It’s not so fun when your life –I mean, microwave — is on the line.

We spent a lot of money on these appliances. We could have paid for a trip around the world for one. Ok, so that’s an exaggeration, but we definitely could have gone to Disney World. Twice.

Next to go? The dishwasher. My treasured dishwasher. The dishwasher I cannot live without. I do not do dishes. Even emptying the dishwasher is a chore. I cried for a whole month when The Kid left for college. Not necessarily because I missed her (I did), but because that was her thing.

Not by choice, but because I made her.

I’m an awful mother who hates manual labor and all kids should have to pay their dues anyway, you know?

But I’d take emptying the dishwasher over washing dishes any day. I sometimes wonder if, in a previous life, I was horribly mauled by a wild boar while leaning over a river washing dishes.

Anyway, I think the dishwasher must have felt the same way about washing dishes as I did. It would run. It would SOUND like it was doing something. But it wasn’t, sad to say.

Note: only buy a dishwasher that loves — no, LIVES — for washing dishes. One word: Research.

The next thing to act up was the lower left burner on the stove top. We can turn it on, but can’t turn it off. Well, we can with a swift smack of your hand in the middle of it by someone who has enough power to knock some sense into it, but that requires third degree burns and a high pain threshold.

I really liked that burner too. It’s the kind that you can connect to the back burner to make it one long burner. Perfect for those big griddles to make pancakes and such.

Next? Our oven. Kind of. It hasn’t actually died. It has just slowed down. In it’s heyday of 2013 it would heat up faster than a rocket being shot up into orbit. Now it takes forever. I can probably build my own fire in the backyard, cook up a gourmet meal for ten, wash my dishes in the river, and it would still be warming up.

I’m afraid to say this out loud, but the fridge is the only guy standing. It’s still going strong. Until tomorrow. Because I’m superstitious and that’s just what happens. (Knocks on wood)

So, what do you think? Is this the biggest conspiracy since the whole “Elvis is still alive” thing? Maybe. I mean, I’m pretty sure I saw him in Shop Rite last week.

 

Weight For It – A Random Tale of the Girl With More Than One Chin

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere

Courtesy of Pinterest somewhere (Dobardor.com to be exact)

I am at an all time high in the weight department.

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Me in Florida a few weeks ago. I’m wearing a fat suit on my face. I’m sure of it.

See? I told you.

See? I told you.

Ok, so I was about 24 here. Why can't I look like this again? WHY????

Ok, so I was about twenty-four years old here. But why can’t I look like this again? WHY???? God, if you let me look like this again, I’ll…oh, never mind.

I had never really had a problem with weight. When I was in high school, I could eat my lunch, all my friends’ leftovers, go home and eat Steak-umm sandwiches and Twinkies washed down with cherry Kool-Aid and still only weigh ninety-eight pounds soaking wet.

Well, it seems those days are gone.

I can no longer eat Twinkies — it turns out there isn’t a food group for chemicals anyway.

Why can’t I eat them? You know, aside from the fact that they are made of ingredients that are virtually unpronounceable, and umm, soap?

Because now they just take a detour to sit on my stomach, upper arms, and anywhere else they are not welcome.

Practically everyone I know is on Weight Watchers. I have always avoided the big WW or any other kind of weight loss program. I’ve always been in the camp of “just eat right and exercise” and you will be able to lose weight.

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Smack in the middle of my running days

Just over four years ago I did just that. I lost thirty pounds. I took up running and I journaled every single morsel of anything I put in my mouth.

A chocolate kiss? Twenty-two calories. A single potato chip? Fourteen.

I ran. The one thing I declared that I would never, ever do. Yet, I fell for it. Hard. I loved it. But it didn’t love me back. After a short few months into my new hobby, my meniscus tore in two places.

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Look ma, no Spanx!

After my surgery, I would cry tears of frustration whenever I would pass a runner. Aside from step class in the late eighties, running is the only exercise I actually enjoyed.

Anyway, I was in the best shape of my life. It took me a year to take off the weight, and a mere months to put it all back on, plus an extra five pounds for good measure.

Do you know how hard it is to lose weight once you hit fifty? Also, something happens to your middle. It grows and well, sags. It gets in the way of doing simple daily tasks. You all know what I’m talking about.

I don't know what this is, but be assured I ate it.

I don’t know what this is, but rest assured I ate it.

So, I kind of joined Weight Watchers. No, I do not go to meetings. Meetings have never been my thing. I have the app on my iPhone and I have been following it for almost a month now. They actually have pretty good recipes. DH is also on Weight Watchers, he just doesn’t know it.

And I’m down four pounds.

If I'm at a restaurant and I don't finish it, I always have to take it home. "One doggy bag to go." Except it wasn't for my dog.

Waste not, want not. And I wanted it.

The point of my blog post here is to say that I ate. I ate a lot. I always ate way more than DH does. The way I piled food on my plate, you’d think it was my last meal. Or that food was going to go out of fashion. Or a shortage was coming. Or an apocalyptic event.

I love bread

My love affair with bread.

I’m not talking vegetables and boiled chicken either. If I had a hankering for a plate of nachos, I would make some. I would stop into a McDonald’s on a whim. Not smart for someone who has struggled with genetically high cholesterol since 1986. Don’t lecture me. I know. My doctor is none too thrilled either.

When I started WW four weeks ago, I would bet I cut down my intake of

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips.

This was Buffalo Chicken dip. I made it on a whim and ate the entire thing. In one sitting. With tortilla chips. .

food by a pound or two a day. Seriously. If I had a scale and actually weighed what I ate, I would be able to prove it to you.

For now, you’ll have to settle with eye-witnesses who can corroborate my story. And there are a lot of them so take your pick.

Again, my point is this…if I went from eating like a sumo wrestler to eating like a rabbit, why is it I only lost four pounds?

Oh, and I also cut back on my wine intake. Like, A LOT. You’d think I would have lost a ton of weight in the first week just based on the sheer volume of wine I no longer throw back.

I eat so many vegetables now, my nose is starting to twitch. And I haven’t even had so much as

All kinds of fish -- even shellfish -- are zero points. That's right, ZERO!

All kinds of fish — even shellfish — are zero points. That’s right, ZERO!

one ounce of red meat in thirty days.

I’m not saying losing a pound a week is bad. It’s a good and healthy way of losing weight. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I’m just saying, well, you know, I’m just surprised given what I’ve stopped ingesting.

Since I can’t run, I am having a difficult time getting back into the swing of exercising. Because, let’s be honest here. Exercising kind of sucks. I can always find other things that I’d rather be doing with my time.

You know, like swim with piranhas. And I can’t even swim.

The excuses I have for not going to the gym (which is FREE and three floors down from my desk at WORK), would impress even the Generation Z set.

So, I’m going to start up at the gym again. Also, I downloaded an app where they guarantee you will lose weight if you do what they tell you to do for seven minutes a day. So far, I haven’t opened it. Part of me is afraid of what will be required of me. You know, like moving. If apps could collect dust, I fear it most likely would start to resemble the elliptical in the spare room in no time.

So here I am, about day thirty. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, you won’t find me binge eating at the local McDonald’s. If you do, look the other way.

 

Our Family Christmas Letter – Volume 5

Fa la la la la and welcome to Our Family Christmas Letter #5.

The year of 2017 was the year of discovery.

I discovered that I can’t sleep past 6:00am and that I can no longer sit criss-cross apple sauce. If I do, I feel like my hips are going to crack out of their sockets. Also, I’m pretty sure there is nothing left of my knees. How do I know? It could be the fact that I cannot so much as walk to the end of my driveway without feeling like someone took a baseball bat to my kneecaps. Call it a hunch.

Why is all this happening? I don’t really know but I’m blaming the number 50 because it all went downhill starting on the magical day of April 6. Yes, I am officially middle-aged and it ain’t pretty.

I’ve also discovered that my pits have decided to sweat a river a day. I spent the better part of the second half of 2017 looking for the perfect deodorant. Just so you know, it doesn’t exist. Not even on the men’s shelf at Stop and Shop so don’t bother. Those dress shield things — otherwise known as maxi pads for your armpits — work well enough until one of them pops out of the top of your shirt. That’s a nice look. I highly recommend it.

I had my first colonoscopy which was a real joy. Everyone told me it was nothing. That the prep was the worst. I discovered that was not true and that my friends are all liars.

The worst part of it was vomiting upon waking from my procedure. Anyone who knows me knows I would rather give a speech about quantum physics with centipedes crawling all over me to a room of 12,000 people, than vomit.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration…let’s make it spiders.

Also, I still haven’t figured out how it was possible to throw-up when I hadn’t eaten in nearly 20 hours. One of the many mysteries of the world, I guess. Maybe I’ll discover why in 2018, as that discovery just was not to be so in 2017.

(Note: three polyps were found, so please don’t let the fact that I threw up deter you from having a colonoscopy. It could very well save your life.)

Work for me is going great. It took a few months, but the cobwebs are finally clearing out of my brain. I seem to have grown out of all my old work pants though, so I’ve been wearing the same four pairs.

I plan on fitting back into those too-tight pants this year, but my New Year’s resolution track record is not a good one; therefore, I wouldn’t count on it. I apologize to all my co-workers but I promise I’ll try to wash them as much as possible.

Our dishwasher died this year. So, in addition to not being able to prevent the occurrence of the River Nile from developing in my underarm region, I have become a literal prairie woman by washing my own dishes. My new nickname is Caroline Ingalls. You can call me Carol for short.

Our washer and dryer also kicked the bucket this year, as well as our microwave. There is nothing like having to warm up your leftovers on an open flame. “Carol” seems to be more fitting with every appliance breakdown, don’t you think? And no, I did not hand wash our clothes. I have to draw the line somewhere. Attention co-workers: I just lied to you back there.

As for the other members of the family, they are doing just fine.

Our college age dear daughter has decided when she comes home she is a guest; therefore, expects us to pull out all the stops. I put my foot down at putting out a pitcher of Perrier on her nightstand, though. Poland Springs will have to do.

Other than that, she is doing great. The college debt is building up just like it should be. The best part is spending an evening applying for FAFSA when we don’t get a dime. I find it entertaining to be declined. It makes me feel rich even if for just a moment when in actuality l’m pretty sure if you have at least a house made of cardboard, you are too wealthy for a government handout.

DH is doing well. Nothing much has changed with him. He still likes to park the motorcycle in the living room during the winter season. Even though I tried to explain to him that we are prairie people now and prairie people don’t do those things. He never listens.

He still has his job he loves. Last week, I caught him trying to poke his good eye out with a fork. I’m so glad I stopped him. It’s hard to do the job he loves with only half an eye. If you recall, he lost part of his eyesight last year.

He’s still slim as ever. To all you ladies out there who don’t want a fat husband, cook really bad food. Twenty five years and counting so I am living proof this method works.

Then what’s MY excuse? I love bad food. I’m selfless like that.

I almost forgot to tell you, we finally went on a real vacation! After months of planning, the three of us flew to Turks and Caicos. It rained five days out of six and I contracted something close to Dengue Fever and basically got our money’s worth in toilet paper but it was fun overall.

I’m pretty sure we’re the only people on the planet who come back from the Caribbean without a tan but that’s just how we roll. (Toilet paper + roll = pun — see what I did there?)

That’s it in a nutshell. I would write a recap, but I need to go help pick up the Christmas Tree that just fell in our living room.

Discovery #9: If it seems like the old plastic Christmas tree stand that is leaking, leans to one side, and that you’ve had since the beginning of time is not going to hold a hundred pound tree, it probably won’t.

Why is there a live tree in the living room anyway? Yet another discovery hopefully to come in 2018.

See you all in the New Year…be safe and prosper.

No Hold Barres Ever Again

A few weeks ago I took a Barre class with a good friend of mine. This Barre class really was of no interest to me.

Why not?

Because I’m embarrassed to say that the most exercise I’ve had in the last couple years has been random walks around the block with the dog, and twenty (really fifteen) minutes on the elliptical at the gym during my “I’m going to get healthy” phase that lasted all of two weeks.

So, how did I get roped into this Barre class thing, you ask?

The Kid and I were spending the weekend with a friend and her step-daughter. Every Saturday morning they take a Barre class. Who were we to stand between these ladies and their routine?

Besides, I soon found out that pretty much death is the only thing that could come between my friend and her Barre class.

So we scheduled a class for the next morning. Bright and early.

On a weekend. When I was supposed to be sleeping late, drinking cocktails, catching up with my friend and doing nothing. Let me repeat…doing NOTHING (all caps, bolded and italicized in case you didn’t quite get the gist).

Anyway, when the two young’uns woke up with liquid coming out of both ends due to eating a bowl of bad Acai berries, I thought we would be off the hook. In fact, I was pretty sure we were. You know, off the hook.

Remember I said only death would come between my friend and her Barre class?

It wasn’t a lie.

I supposed if two food poisoned-stricken young ladies could muster up the energy to sit (sit really isn’t the correct word here) through a fifty minute Barre class, then so could I.

I was wrong.

Upon our arrival, I warned the cute little class instructor that I was going to look like a complete jackass to which she replied, “oh, you’ll be fine.”

She soon discovered the joke was on her.

If you have never been to a Barre class (Is this even a proper noun? Is it really deserving of capitalization?), the room looks like a long and narrow torture chamber. With mirrors lining one entire wall so that you can watch yourself looking like the complete jackass you claimed you are (I certainly didn’t want to disappoint anyone).

Oh, and there are bars. Or Barres. Running up and down two walls. The kind of bars you would find in a ballet studio.

Except this was no ballet class. Not that I’m saying ballet is any easier. But I was in a room with ballet bars. I mean, why?

The instructor had us do some stretches. I think. I’ve blocked some of it out. I’m sure my brain went into protection mode.

You may think I’m being a tad dramatic, but I’m not. It was bad. And it hurt. It hurt in places that I didn’t even know existed.

During the first three minutes, I discovered that I could no longer touch my toes. The last time I couldn’t touch my toes, I was nine months pregnant. That should tell you something.

Apparently, the purpose of Barre class (there goes that capitalization again) is, and I quote, “to perform multi-directional dynamic movements to target different muscle groups simultaneously.”

Well, let me assure you that there were muscle groups in my body that were in a deep hibernating state since 2014 and they were none too happy with me.

It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, “…a long winter’s nap,” don’t ‘cha think?

After correcting me seventeen times in the first twenty minutes, the instructor shrugged her shoulders and gave up.

There was not one move I could accomplish. I stood/sat/died there for most of the class, with my eyes averted. Looking on the ground pretending an earring dropped out of my ear.

And I don’t wear earrings.

I kept peeking around the room to see if I had a partner in crime. Someone I could be in cahoots with. Someone who was struggling like I was because, as the saying goes, “misery loves company,” and that expression could not have been more true during this fifty minutes of hell.

But nope, I was the only jackass in class. Everyone looked like they knew what they were doing and doing it well.

Even the food-poisoned young ladies.

IMG_8375After sweating through class, with my heart pounding so hard I was concerned the paramedics were going to be called, I realized one thing:

I am out of shape.

And not just out of shape. My body is completely deplete of any shape at all.

I am a fifty-year old woman whose body is that of a seventy-year old (I apologize to all you seventy-year old women right now, because you probably still look and feel better than I do but if I put the number any higher, I will most likely drop dead of a stroke from the thought of it).

When I get out of bed in the morning, it takes a good five minutes to warm up. My back hurts, every bone pops, and forget about my knees. Those babies are shot and are in dire need of a repair.

I can no longer sit on the floor. If I do, I resemble one of those baby elephants trying to get a feel for standing except the baby elephant has a higher success rate.

After I prayed hard for the class to end, it finally did. I glared at my friend and pretty much threatened her life. “NEVER AGAIN,” I proclaimed for the entire class to hear.

The instructor actually breathed a big sigh of relief.

There was one benefit to this class. And that is I realized how badly I need to make some changes.

If I don’t start moving my ass, I am not going to be in good shape by the end of the decade. I mean, even worse than I am now. And that scares the hell out of me.

Four years ago...FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????

Four years ago…FOUR lousy years ago! It took me over a year to lose 30 pounds, and mere months to put them back on. WHY????

How in the world did I let myself go? Four years ago I was running five miles three to four times a week. I could run circles around most of the young people I knew. I was thirty pounds lighter, fit, tone, and best of all I felt amazing.

Now?

I’m just a fifty-year old woman stuck in a seventy-year old body who can’t do Barre class without looking like a walrus trying to scratch his own back.

I don’t really know what that means, but believe me it can’t be pretty.

Cheers to healthier days. Maybe next time you see me, I will look less like zoo animals, and more like a woman in the prime of her life.

The Getaway Part III – The Conclusion

If you need to catch up, click here for Part I, and click here for Part II.

Ready?

Needless to say, we didn’t go to Fire Island. The idea of us walking in the dark in a place we’ve never been to didn’t really appeal to either of us. Lord knows I love food, but I didn’t need to work that hard for it. Ocean or not.

DH remembered a restaurant someone recommended…an over-priced italian place right on the sound. We decided that sounded like a nice place to celebrate our anniversary dinner, so he called to make a reservation.

Unfortunately, the only open spot was at eight, but at that point we were pretty happy with anything so we took it.

Since we had so much time to kill, we decided to go into town to see if we could find a cute place where we could have a cocktail on the sidewalk. Well, not ON the sidewalk exactly. That would be weird and probably illegal or something.

We quickly settled on a trendy little spot (with some tables outside) with THE BEST margarita with muddled cucumber. Don’t knock it ’till you try it. I raved so much about it, the server actually got the bartender to write down the recipe for me.

But I totally digressed there.

When the maitre de showed us our street-side table, I noticed a woman leaning over the fence/wall, right where we were going to sit. I maneuvered myself around her bobbing and weaving body and sat pretty much right under her. I didn’t ask her to move because I don’t like confrontation. I was fine with her hair hanging down into my plate. Really, I was.

At first I thought she had an impairment. A disability of some sort. But then the stench of alcohol permeating from her pores was so intense I almost didn’t have to order a drink because I was beginning to catch a buzz off her breath.

After about five minutes, the man she was with was able to finally pry her off the wall/fence and into a waiting car. Just in time too. My blood alcohol level had most likely reached .08%. And that was before I ordered a drink.

We slowly drank our cocktails, but somehow we still had some time to kill. We stopped into a liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine to share for a nightcap later on our private balcony, then ducked into a dollar store to purchase a couple of wine glasses, and headed off to dinner.

img_0556It was dark when we pulled into the parking lot, but the restaurant was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was beautiful. There was a wedding going on and the atmosphere was lively. The way I like it.

DH spoke to the hostess and explained it was our anniversary and asked for a table out on the back deck. We were led outside to a table “on the rail” except the rail was a solid concrete seawall that came to my neck.img_0544

I know there was salt water on the other side because we were told so. I just couldn’t see it. Unless I stood on tippy toe. Even then it was so dark out, I would not even have known there was water out there save for the working lighthouse a mile or two out.

DH ordered a beer, I the house wine. My wine tasted like swill. I had barium better than that. Somehow I was mistakenly under the impression that the house wine in a fancy italian restaurant would be good.

Not sure where I got that idea from.

For dinner, I had the clams as an appetizer and the spaghetti and meatballs as an entree. Simple, sure. But I wanted something comforting for some reason. Besides, we were in an italian restaurant. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to order?

Needless to say, half the clams wound up in my napkin. They were so chewy, if I didn’t actually take them from the shell myself, I would have thought I ordered cow balls.

And the meatballs? My Irish grandmother made better. I made better and I don’t even make meatballs. As for the sauce, I was pretty sure it was taken right out of Chef Boyardee’s kitchen.

Sorry, Chef B.

We had a nice time though. It’s about the company, not the meal. We laughed it off. Anyway, it seemed to be par for the course that weekend.

After we got back to the hotel, we uncorked our bottle and sat on our plastic adirondack chairs on our private terrace, and sipped wine out of our dollar store glasses while overlooking our little piece of water.

But it doesn’t end there.

On the other side of the shore, there was a building. We didn’t know what it was because it was dark, but we did see a couple of cars pull into the parking lot and turn off the headlights while their vehicles were still in motion.

We immediately went into Magnum PI mode. Trying to crack a crime that may or may not have been happening. A couple of dark figures got out of their cars and walked into the shadows. Was it a drug bust? Disposing of a body? A heist?

Most likely just a couple of kids sharing a joint, but it was fun to imagine something sinister.

Fast forward to the next morning (because you don’t need to know the in-between…wink wink). That long-awaited spa-like shower I was looking forward to taking was not to be.

The faucet was broken. The water temperature couldn’t be regulated nor would it turn off once it was turned on. The water was hot and getting hotter by the minute.

Well, there was always breakfast.

After we got dressed, we made our way down to the 5×6 foot lobby to eat.

img_0561On our way down, we saw a lady come out of the front door with a package of Pop Tarts. I turned and made a joke to DH about it.

When we entered and made our way to the “buffet,” we saw that our choices were stale bagels, three types of cereal, and frozen Leggo My Eggo waffles.

I was desperately searching for the Pop Tarts that suddenly didn’t seem so bad, but the early bird catches the worm, and I lost out.

I settled on the bagel and cranberry juice when what I really wanted was a diner and a stack of pancakes. DH had the same but with a cup of coffee.

We took our Top Shelf breakfast back up to our balcony. Across the way, where the night before the Crime of the Century was going down, we saw was actually a fire training center.img_0564

Yes, a building on “mock” fire with firemen trying to put it out with big hoses, and all the works. It was cool, but just the topper to the end of our weekend.

As we were leaving, DH told me how much he enjoyed our little room. Anyone who knows him, knows he is not a traveller and especially abhors hotels. His comment was worthy of a heart attack, but made me happy nonetheless.

Long of the short, but long story…I discovered that Long Island does not mean The Hamptons. After all that it was a great anniversary celebration, Hamptons or not.

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Cheers from our Dollar Store wine glasses!

The Getaway Part II – The Upgrade

If you missed Part I, click here and come back. I’ll wait…

Are you caught up? Now where was I? Oh right (ants on the sill in case you forgot).

So, surprisingly we weren’t upset. Typically this would be something that would set one or the other off. But we were here to have fun and enjoy each other’s company, so basically we would have laughed off a natural disaster. Well, maybe not a tsunami. Those things scare the hell out of me.

The 1950s girl looked at us in disbelief when we walked through the lobby door. I almost felt sorry for her sitting there in her poodle skirt. I just really wish she was wearing saddle shoes. I love saddle shoes. I actually had a pair in 1979. Let’s just say, they didn’t make me a lot of friends.

I let DH talk to her because I am not a fan of confrontation. So I went outside to take pictures of the parking lot. When I came back in I heard her say she was giving us the best room in the house. The one that typically costs $320 a night but we were getting at no additional cost. You know, for our troubles.

Mind you, there was not a room to be found on the Island of Long and so far, in the last fifteen minutes we were able to move to three separate rooms in one hotel with no problem. Just an observation.

Moving along.

We walked up the rusty, I mean rustic stairs for the second time and made a hard left to a locked gate at the end of the walkway that looked more like Leavenworth and less like our own private terrace.

Of course, we couldn’t make the key work so I stood there and watched over our bags while DH traipsed back to the lobby.

I tried desperately to avoid eye contact with our new neighbors who were sitting on the other side of their large plate glass window by keeping my gaze out over the parking lot. I was getting to know that parking lot pretty intimately. Just so you know, there were exactly 78 parking spots.

The broken key was just operator error, but I can only imagine the look of terror on 1950s girl’s face when DH walked in that lobby again. Maybe I should have gone with him. That could have been the entertainment for the night.

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Ignore the smoke stacks. What smoke stacks? I don’t see any smoke stacks.

When we got through the gate and turned the corner of the balcony, what to our wondering eyes should appear?

Water.

No, not the kind that gets stuck in a sink. But the kind where boats live. And docks. And seagulls. We had a view of the bay, and it was lovely.

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The Vanity/VCR/Alarm Clock All-In-One Station. Where else can you get one of these gems?

We turned to unlock the door to the “best room in the house.” And stepped into, umm, I’m not sure what we expected, but that room was not $320 a night for the decor.

It seemed all the lampshades had the same disease. And the carpet had seen more dirt than, well, earth. But we had water. A view of the water trumps all else. Pretty much most of the time.

Believe it or not, it was clean (except the carpet — just so you know, I didn’t take my shoes off). It actually smelled nice, and the hubs liked it. He is not a fan of hotels, so I’m still getting over the shock. Seriously. I needed a little bit of smelling salts to make me come to.

You can just barely make out the rain showerhead. I always wanted one of those.

It had a rain shower showerhead. I always wanted one of those. Too bad the next day was not “wash my hair” day.

It had an amazing updated bathroom. The shower was big enough for a foursome and the tile was new (observation #27 – only renovation in probably thirty years).

It looked nice even with the old coffee pot half filled with sludge water, that sat on top of a mini fridge that had probably been there since the Nixon administration (observation #28 – a fridge in the bathroom is weird, and so is a coffee pot especially since poo can splash out from the toilet into your coffee but I digress).

After we looked out over the water for a bit, we realized we had some time to kill before dinner. We thought we would go into town, grab a cocktail and mosey on to the restaurant.

What were our dinner plans, you ask? We had reservations on Fire Island. All I wanted was to have dinner looking out over the waves since I didn’t get to the ocean this past summer and I really needed my fix. The only place I found on the Internet was in a little section on Fire Island called “Cherry Grove.”

Which was a gay community unbeknownst to us (we found out quite accidentally). Not that it mattered, but DH, when we realized, quickly figured out why the nice lady who answered the phone hesitated when he said, “my WIFE and I are celebrating an anniversary…”

“So, how do you think we’ll get there,” asked DH, the sensible one who plans everything from vacation to which foot gets dressed in a sock first.

After doing a bit of research, I found that there aren’t any paved roads on Fire Island. No paved roads means no cars pretty much.

If left to my own devices, I would have thrown caution to the wind. But a little voice (DH’s) inside my head said we should probably check things out further.

So, I called a water taxi company. After the lady who answered the phone very exuberantly exclaimed, “OH MY GOD, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO?” she told me that we would have to walk from the parking lot (Robert Moses parking lot — surely you’ve heard of it — it is right up the street from Jones Beach according to Google Maps) to the lighthouse.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

See that lighthouse way bottom left corner? Robert Moses is to the left of that. WAY to the left.

“How long is that walk?” I ask. Her reply was “a half an hour.” Then we’d have to catch a water taxi from there that would take an hour, plus pay approximately $44 round trip.

Phew. This story is getting long. Maybe I should stop here and write Part III – Dinner and Beyond. Besides, I’m tired and I have to work tomorrow. Darn work, always gets in the way of a good story.

Stay tuned once more. Just once more, I promise.

 

The Getaway Part I

When DH and I got married twenty-four years ago, we didn’t have a formal honeymoon. We couldn’t afford one because four months earlier we decided to spend the money we saved for our wedding as a down payment on a house.

Good idea? I think so. A house lasts way more than a five hour wedding and is the smartest thing a young couple can do, but I digress. (FYI – we were lucky because our parents helped foot the bill for the reception, which was awesome by the way)

In other words, we were house poor.

After the last guest left our wedding reception, DH looked over at me and said, “wanna go to Cape Cod for a few days? We can use some of our wedding money to pay for it.”

Of course, who am I to turn down a spontaneous vacation? I am not a planner by nature so this fit my personality to a “T.”

We didn’t have the internet to help us, so we basically got up the next day, threw a packed suitcase in the trunk of our car, and with map in hand, drove the three hours or so it took to get to the Cape. We hoped there would be hotels with vacancies. If not, there was always the car.

The first night we chose a sketchy looking “hotel” that was right off the main road on the Cape. It was one of those one-level motor inns. I’m sure our little stay didn’t cost more than $50.

The floor was uneven (when I say “uneven” I mean there should have been a railing installed on the wall to hold on to so guests wouldn’t run the risk of falling and injuring themselves), the bedding…umm, let’s just say the Red Light District has seen better linens. And I believe I saw a cockroach scurry across the bathroom floor.

We got better at choosing places to stay each evening during the week, with ants replacing cockroaches. And polyester blend replacing plain, old polyester.

We laughed it off and filed the experience away in our memory banks under “Shit Not To Do.”

This past weekend was our anniversary. DH wanted to look at a motorcycle that was for sale on Long Island so we decided to turn it into an impromptu weekend getaway. This time we had about forty-eight hours to (somewhat) plan it out.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. We couldn’t find a single hotel room anywhere.

Except one. And we soon understood why. Suddenly the memory of that first night on our honeymoon came rushing back (what good is a memory bank when you only deposit but never withdrawal).

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The best part…this sign.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the sign right away. It was a throw-back from another era.

Inside the tiny lobby, there were model cars of Thunderbirds and Corvettes. The furniture had a bit of an old, retro feel to it as well, and the clerk was dressed in a costume from the 1950s.

I looked at the girl and said, “oh, so this place is supposed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time on purpose.”

Yes.

Except we suspected that perhaps it was just an excuse to not do any kind of renovation at all. You know, since 1956.

After we checked in, she informed us that breakfast was from 7-10am. Awesome. We asked where it would be served.

“Oh, here. In the lobby,” she replied.

DH and I looked behind us. “Umm, here?” Yes, here. There probably was enough room for approximately 4.5 people to stand comfortably in the lobby but whatever works.

img_0539After we made our way up the “rustic” (aka RUSTY) set of stairs that led to the upper balcony, we located the door to our room and opened it with a real key.

The room was a bit old all right but no “retro” furniture to be found. Our suspicions were starting to prove correct.

img_6479Aside from the peeling paint on the wall and broken lampshades hanging above the bed, the sink in the bathroom was clogged and water stood to the rim.

DH called the nice 1950’s lady and she apologized and ran a new key up to us for the room two doors down.

Room #2 wasn’t perfect either, but surprisingly it smelled clean. And it was a place to lay our head for the night. This time around we were too old to have the option of sleeping in the car. So, it would have to do.

I walked over to the window to check out the view of the parking lot, and noticed two tiny ants crawling around on the sill. I gave them a little smack and decided I would keep that little tidbit under my hat. No need to upset the mister.

“What did you just hit?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing really. Just a little ant.”

That little ant turned into about 300 within five nanoseconds. Apparently I disturbed the nest when I tried to kill their brother.

Without giving it a second thought, we picked up our bags and headed for the lobby. When the 1950s girl saw us, she took a deep breath and said, “oh no, what’s the matter now?”

Stayed tuned for Part II — “The Upgrade.”

Another Cliche Filled Blog Post About New Beginnings

don't be afraid to live
I write this as I lie here nursing a hangover. Too many white chocolate martinis will do that to a person. I guess New Year’s Eve of 2009 taught me nothing.

It is now 2016. More than half the decade is behind us. This year I turn 49, have my 30th high school reunion and will be the mother of a college student.

Can you believe three gray hairs sprouted out of my head during the making of that last paragraph? It’s true.

It is also the year when if you write 2015 on your check you can easily change the 5 to a 6 (creds go to my 17 year old for pointing that out), but that’s just an extra perk.

Anyway, a few months ago I had one of those episodes where the breath gets sucked right out of your lungs, you start to sweat ice and your heart races at 783 beats per minute.

No, I didn’t get hit in the gut with a baseball. Or remembered that I forgot to DVR last night’s Grey’s Anatomy (yes, I am that obsessed). It was much worse than that.

I suddenly came to the realization that my life is half over (actually if I’m going to be accurate, midway probably came about five years ago but let’s not say that out loud).

I wasn’t freaked out that my life is more than half over. I was more terrified of the fact that there is so much I still need and want to do in my life. Somehow those first 48 years blew by with ne’er a stiff breeze.

bucket listI have experienced some wonderful things. I fell in love, became a mother and went to Ireland. I have a good life. I am generally happy. But is that enough? I realized my bucket is still pretty full. And having a full bucket is not the same as having a full glass or full belly. It isn’t satisfying.

What is in my bucket? Besides Clorox and hot water on cleaning day? I want to go to Italy, make love under the stars (ok so I did that once but I was 20 and drunk so it doesn’t count), and write a novel. Just to name a few.

I also want to be healthier (I understand that should be on the resolutions list but I’m lazy), volunteer more of my time to my community and fill my weekends with more than television and Candy Crush.

So, I have proclaimed 2016 to be my year (right along with about 10 million of you). What makes 2106 any different and special from the other years? I mean, I have been making myself Queen since 1995 and have done nothing but fallen off the throne halfway through January time and time again.

Because I realized my life is half over and there is literally no more time to f*ck around.

Life is fleeting and can change in an instant. I don’t want to be on my deathbed with regrets that I didn’t live my life to the best of my ability. That I didn’t accomplish the things that are important to me, or at least gave them a good fight.

So, welcome 2016. You are my year. I can’t wait to get started. Right after I take a shower.

 

DRY Should Be a Four-Letter Word

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I have a sad story to tell. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m guessing just about every woman with a vagina will suffer from the ailment of which I am about to speak of.

Last week, I wrote a post about having sex for the first time after baby. If you missed it, you can read it here.

I received a comment from an older woman. Her name is Marcie. She told me about her friend. Her name is Bonnie.

They are both on the other side of menopause. Which means they are dryer than a prune on the equator.

Marcie is lucky. Her hubs doesn’t care much about sex anymore, therefore, Marcie doesn’t have to worry about it. Because, and I quote, “sex after childbirth is nothing compared to what you will face after menopause! It is painful beyond belief! Sex after menopause is like sticking knives AND sandpaper in there.

Thanks Marcie. Glad to know that I have something fun to look forward to. I love the feeling of sandpaper in my vijay jay. Said no woman ever.

Now, her friend Bonnie isn’t so lucky. She happens to be married to a sex machine. Pretty much no amount of KY Jelly will do the trick. There are drugs with dangerous side effects that she has to take so that her man can get his rocks off. And these drugs don’t even work all that great. I just hope she’s able to achieve the big “O” for her troubles.

Why is it that men can go at it like little Jack Rabbits and can procreate until their last breath? I still am amazed at how far Tony Randall went. That little horn dog. May he rest in peace. I just hope he’s not trying to hump my grandmother up there. Oh right, he likes the younger ladies.

What was I saying? Oh yes…sorry about that.

I love men. I really do. This is in no way a man bashing post. I’m just stating the obvious. And, also, I need to say that I’m totally coming back as a man in my next life. Because seriously, if I don’t have to have my ass ripped open by a human head ever again, I wouldn’t be happier.

Anyway, I did a little comparison. Correct me if I’m wrong.

What women have to endure:

  1. Painful periods with mega bleeding out of their down between, cramps, nausea, migraines and mood swings for 7 days or more each month from adolescence until — dear God — too long.
  2. Childbirth. 9+ months of carrying a person on the inside of our bodies like an alien and then enduring hours of having to push this person into the world through a small hole. It doesn’t seem natural. But yet, it is.
  3. Menopause. Why do they call it this? To pause the menses? Then just pause it Mother Effing Nature and move along.
  4. Atrophy of the Vagina or Dried Vagina Syndrome. Sure, maybe that should fall under menopause but I truly and deeply in my heart feel that it needs its very own bullet point. No further explanation needed.
  5. Sagging butt, boobs and mid-life gut (or as the kid likes to refer to it as the “fupa” (pronounced foo-pah — pretty huh?)).

Just so you know, my husband looks better than the day I met him. Why does the gray hair at his temples look sexy when my gray hair just makes me look like an unkempt old maid? I have to pay hundreds of dollars a year to prevent this look from taking over my life. That is not a lie. But I digress.

What men have to endure:

  1. Premature ejaculation. I’ll give it to them that this must suck.
  2. Not able to “perform.” Eh. It happens to the best of us.
  3. The fear of someone kicking them in the gonads. I heard that’s pretty painful. Although I have been elbowed in the breast and it’s not like picking daisies.
  4. Wet dreams. I don’t know, it sounds kind of fun, no?

Okay, so we have 5 and they have 4. But can we compare apples to apples? No, it’s more like comparing apples to watermelon. Or even worse, an apple to the Loch Ness Monster. Does that sound dumb and not make sense? Exactly.

Now I am no man. So, I don’t know what it’s like to be one. But my hubs doesn’t complain about anything unless his stomach hurts, he cuts his finger or has a cold. Therefore, to me that means that there isn’t much to complain about.

Unlike us. See above. Yet, we do these things and we do it with dignity. Because, hello? Girl Power, that’s what.

May I just say before I go that may God never change the rules and decide that men should give birth. Because hello? That’s scarier than the thought of the apocalypse. Don’t you think?

Chin Hairs, Memory Loss and a Boyfriend?

Unknown-1Just when I didn’t think there could be any way I could feel older, I found a way. Or, actually, the way found me. “What is this way so I can avoid it,” you ask? It’s called, “Your Kid Gets a Boyfriend (or Girlfriend).”

Forget the crows feet and the laugh lines. Forget the creaking bones and the pee that leaks out of you every time you move. Forget the droopy eyelids and the gray hairs. Yeah, that’s got nothing on the boyfriend thing.

I knew it was coming. We always thought she was too young to date before, but she’s 16 now. Short of locking a chastity belt to her and triple padlocking the door to her room, we knew we’d have to let go. And the time to let go has come.

Now, for those of you who have yet to go through it, let me explain a couple of things. Because quite apparently, I’m stuck in the prehistoric age. Just call me Wilma. I had to get educated. You know, learn the lingo.

First, they were a “thing.” Actually, I think they were friends and then a “thing.” The friend bit I understand. No problem. Glad they did that before they got to the 3rd stage. I said 3rd stage, not 3rd base. **shudder** Get your ears cleaned. (Yes, I know what 3rd base is, kid. I wasn’t born yesterday.)

A “thing” sounds kinda weird, but I learned that it’s better than “hooking up.” No, no. You don’t want your daughter (or son) to hook up with anyone. I’m pretty sure “hooking up” means exchanging more than just spit in the bodily fluids department. But with no commitment.

In other words, hooking up is kind of slutty behavior. So, if you are a hooker upper and are reading this, then I apologize. No, I don’t. Stop hooking up. Hooking up is hooker’ish.

But a “thing” is the stage between friendship and dating, or going out. From what I can gather a “thing” means you like each other more than friends but are not ready to start dating yet. Just to clarify, there is no hanky-panky. From what I’m told.

Dating and going out. I remember those words from my era. I mean, I don’t much remember dating itself because let’s face it, that was an eternity ago. You know, when we used rocks to open coconuts and well, rocks to do anything because that’s all we had. That and twigs.

So, why does this make me feel old? Because dang, people, it just does. I mean, my baby is growing up. She’s got a boyfriend. She’s probably going to start kissing this boyfriend. I have the feeling that this kissing is not the same as giving air kisses to her little friend Jimmy in the ball pit when she was 2. Besides, I was 16 once. Also, I’m not dead.

But, I will not be handing my old 1984 copy of “Forever” to her. She will not be learning about sex from Katherine and Michael.

No, our sex talk will go something like this…”so, once upon a time, there was this nice boy and this nice girl and they got married. The end.” Now, if that won’t scare away her new boyfriend, I don’t know what will.

I jest. He’s a very nice boy. I completely approve. Still, don’t move too fast buddy. I’ve got eyes all over town including the one in the back of my head. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Also, you two should talk on the phone. Like, the real phone. The one connected to the land. Because the one thing that would make me really, super double approve, is if you make me feel young again. So, please. Tie up the phone lines. It would make my day. 1984 style. But without “the book.”