Is that a Monkey On Your Back? Or Just Facebook?

The first thing you open in the morning after your eyes is Facebook. Because let’s be honest with each other, unless you are elderly or below the age of ten, it’s an addiction we can’t seem to kick. It doesn’t matter how many promises you make to yourself.

“I’m going to put down my phone and start reading an actual book,” is something I’ve been saying to myself for, well, who’s counting? Let’s just say I’ve broken that promise and said, “I’ll start next Monday,” so many times I’m fairly certain enough Mondays have passed that I could make a decade out of them.

Or how about this: “I’ll just scroll through for five more minutes.” But 7AM comes and goes and you’re stuck there like if you put down the phone you will combust into thin air. You know you need to get in the shower or else you’ll be late for work. But you lie there in that position for another quarter of an hour without a care in the world, bleary-eyed as if you just got off the red eye to China.

I don’t really know what all the hullaballoo is about anyway. It’s not like Facebook is giving away a free trip to Fuji. Or even a free timeshare in my own town which I would gladly take because I’m cheap and love anything with the word FREE attached to it. It could be a pet rock, or an entire set of new teeth. If it’s free, I want it.

In my ten, thirty, oh heck, sixty minutes of scrolling I’ve discovered that half of my “friends” had a high school aged kid graduate yesterday. That another fifty people have posted something political that I don’t care to engage in. And another god knows how many have shared an article or meme that I mostly just go right on by unless I think it may actually illicit some real emotions out of me or change my life. You know, something compelling.

And then there’s the one who has yet ONCE again posted a pic of herself with the “friend du jour” at another gosh-damned restaurant or bar. Or whatever. For the eighteenth time that week.

Look, I like to see my friend’s stuff. But when it turns into your own show, then it’s annoying. I don’t care to know your every move. And anyway,

Who.

Cares.

The Facebook content really needs to step up its game. But yet. There I am. Scrolling like I drank the damn Kool-Aid.

The cherry kind.

And then there’s that little two-headed icon that shows a red number when you have a friend request. You get all excited wondering who it could be.

Was it that kid I befriended during eighth grade Outdoor Ed in 1981? I believe she was the one who took the picture of that raccoon eating uneaten Cheese Puffs on my back while I was passed out asleep on my cot in our tent.

Or maybe it’s an old friend that I haven’t heard from in years. Or an ex-coworker. Or maybe even a long lost cousin.

But no. Most likely it’s a friend of a friend of a friend and I typically decline those requests. If we didn’t have some kind of connection somewhere in life, then I don’t really need you knowing about me or my family. Especially when you are an Amway representative and clearly just want to make a sale.

But sometimes I do accept the friend request from perhaps someone I went to high school with. Not because I remember them but because a little quick stalking tells me we both graduated from the same class.

Except it turns out this person tries to get you to join a singles group. If you took one look at my profile pic you would see I am clearly married. No, he’s not my brother, uncle, or that long lost cousin. I don’t usually hold hands with family members in that manner.

He’s my HUSBAND and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate your invitation. We aren’t swingers last time I checked.

Delete.

And let’s talk about stalking since I brought it up. I do it. You do it. We all do it. We’re all curious about that gorgeous woman at work who wears the best clothes and oozes confidence from her earlobes. Her husband must be HOT. Stalk.

Or the Anna Black of our lives. She was a childhood friend from my Army brat days who actually performed a hazing on potential friends in order to become her friend. Stalk.

Unfortunately, that search produced way too many “Anna Blacks” so there is no way of telling if she turned out to be a cult leader or, well, an Amway rep.

And you KNOW you have stalked an ex-boyfiend or girlfriend. Let’s not deny that you aren’t just a little bit giddy that said ex is fat or bald or is just now entering the toddler phase when you are an empty nester.

So, yeah. Facebook is an addiction that I need to quit. Or at the very least do much less of. So, how about I start next Monday?

A Bloody Apocalypse

Did you ever have a nose bleed that was so intense you were sure you were going to bleed to death?

Last week I had nine such nose bleeds. This whole bloody nose thing started around the beginning of the year. It started out slow and steady, but was getting worse. It seemed to be a growing trend in my life. One that was very unwelcome.

Last Wednesday I was taking an exercise class during my lunch break. I felt a little something running down my nose, but I thought it was, you know, snot. Because that happens when I exercise a little too hard sometimes.

It was not snot. And before I knew it I painted my little section of floor with the red stuff. It’s amazing how bright it looks under those fluorescent lights.

It was gross. Not to mention embarrassing. The nurse’s office happens to be in the same area as the gym, so I decided to take a walk over. My thinking was she could give me some tips on how to stop it.

She reached into her drawer, pulled out two tampons, and shoved them up my nostrils. Just like that. I remember making a comment that I hadn’t used a tampon in years, and then I laughed and laughed at the absurdity of it.

It took forty-five minutes for the flow to stop. Apparently, the old-fashioned way of tilting your head back is a no-no. Something about giving you an upset stomach.

The nurse also mentioned something about drowning. That certainly would be an interesting obituary.

I find the old-fashioned way to be much more controllable and less time-consuming. If I were to tilt my head back, that bad boy would have ended in a short few minutes.

Credit goes to The Kid for making this picture a little less disgusting for your viewing pleasure.

But who am I to go against modern medicine? And besides, drowning is one of my biggest fears.

The problem was the dear nurse wanted to call an ambulance. Visions of me laying on a gurney with two bloody tampons sticking out of my nose, being wheeled through the corridors of my place of employment in front of all my colleagues put a fear in me so deep I had to revert to begging.

She must have felt bad for me because she eventually backed off with the ambulance threat. But she did make me call my physician, who was none too happy to be pulled away from a patient so she could tell me to call an ENT.

Duh. Ears, Nose, Throat. “Nose” being the operative word here.

I finally made it back to my desk and called the ENT, but was forced to leave a message. Eh. That’s ok. Maybe it wouldn’t happen again. Dumb thought, seeing that this is a growing trend, not a descending one.

Except it did happen again. The following night. That time it took over an hour for the flow to stop. After I spit out a blood clot the size of a newborn puppy, I decided it was time to do something about it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I lost enough blood that week alone to save a small army of really big men.

I was able to get in to see the Nose doctor from the ENT establishment. One quick look up my left nostril confirmed what I never even thought of — I had a broken blood vessel. I’ll be honest with you, visions of something dark danced through my head. Because that’s just how I roll. Yet another instance of when I started to plan out my funeral prematurely.

Interesting fact: Only 6% of the 60% of people who experience nosebleeds, suffer from a broken blood vessel. I’m not sure if I should play the lotto or lock myself in a padded closet.

I am not ashamed to admit I was a tad nervous about the procedure. I felt my blood pressure start to rise. I told myself that I gave birth naturally, so this would be a walk in the park. But the good doctor put some numbing solution up my nose, and carefully got to work with repairing the broken vessel, making it as painless and comfortable as possible.

Ten minutes and $900 something later, I was good as new. You know, if it took. Because sometimes “it doesn’t always take.” Perfect.

Before I left, he told me not to blow my nose, exercise, or really exert myself in any way for a few days. He also explained what to do in the case of another bloody nose.

You know, in case that $900 procedure didn’t take.

“Pinch the nostrils and lean forward.” Which prompted this conversation:

Me: What about tampons? That’s what I’ve been using.

Doc: Sure. You can put cotton up there. That’ll work.

Me: No, I mean tampons.

Doc:

Me:

Doc: You mean, as in vaginal?

Me: Uhh, yeah.

Doc: Oh, ok. So, you split them in half first. Sure, that does the job.

Me: No, actually. The entire thing. I put the entire thing in my nostril.

Doc: (jaw on floor)

And that is how I taught my doctor a new trick. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m thinking I should get at least some of my money back. I mean, that was a pretty good tip. Even if it really came from the work nurse. But I won’t tell her, if you don’t.

If Clothes Maketh the Man, Then Why Did He Invent the Bra?

I find it funny how I plan my life around my bra. This is true. And I know I’m not alone.

From the moment I put it on in the morning I dream of removing it. By mid-afternoon, it’s all I can do to not pull it through the armholes of my top and fling it across the office space right into the trash receptacle so it can live as one with yesterday’s lunch and the extra printer copies of last month’s budget.

But alas, I hold it together. No pun intended.

I mean, come on, what is so appealing? The shoulder straps don’t stay up, and if they do, they dig into your skin like a bad habit. There is the feeling of a vice tightening up around your ribcage with every breath. And the underwire feels as if a moat is being dug around the underbelly of your bosoms.

It’s safe to say my commute home is filled with images of me being braless. And as soon I get in the door, that’s what I do. Go braless. I really have grown quite a distaste for the — dare I say — “over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder.” If you haven’t quite guessed.

Although my younger self would beg to differ and, quite honestly, would have mouth agape in disbelief at my proclamation. Back in the day I would spend tons of money and hours looking for the perfect bras to match each pair of underwear. The pride I took in my undergarments was a bit ridiculous.

I also took the “make sure you have clean underwear because you never know if you’ll be in an accident” advice my mother repeated to me ad nauseam to a whole new level.

In defense of my younger self, the ta-ta’s were cute and perky and just, cute. Thirty some-odd years later they have been poked and prodded (thank you mammograms, ultrasounds, and self exams), been the food source for my newborn, and gained a few pounds, to say the very least.

These days, I’m lucky to put on a pair of underwear that don’t have a hole in them or that are so stretched out it’s a miracle they stay up at all. Forget about matching my bra. That ideal went out the window with the dawn of the new century.

So, getting back to my point. Once the bra comes off, I’m done for the day and/or night.

A friend could call me to go on a crazy adventure where a meeting with Channing Tatum (or is that Tatum Channing?) would be promised, and I wouldn’t do it. I’d rather endure a trip to Hell than put that medieval torture device back on.

DH could want to surprise me with a quick rendezvous to Tahiti for a romantic dinner for two…oh, well, Tahiti probably wouldn’t mind if I went braless so that’s a bad example. But you know what I’m saying.

If The Kid is home from college and she wants to invite her boyfriend over, I either banish myself to my room like a hermit for the evening, or will not allow the visit.

Yes, I am embarrassed to say that I have said, “Can’t you go over there? My bra is already off,” more times than I care to admit. And if he comes over anyway? Well, that’s HIS problem. Everyone has been forewarned.

Remind me why we wear bras again?

Yes, I know. People could get hurt, including our very own chins when we run. And they “girls” could be mistaken for extra belly fat, if you know what I mean.

I guess the bra is here to stay. Unless we can bring “bra burning” back into fashion. I know how to light a match. I learned that when I…ahem, never mind.

Note: I love my breasts. They are one of my favorite parts of my body, and I’m so fortunate to have them. But damn, that bra. It’s the bane of my existence. Wait. Have I said that already?

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.

Excuse me sir, do you have anything for the Dengue Fever?

Note: This post has been in the making for nine months, kinda like a baby except it wasn’t baking to perfection. I am just a Self-Proclaimed Procrastinator of the Universe.

As many of you may or may not know, I turned fifty last April. DH is and always has been Numero Uno in the birthday department. He makes it his job to be sure I have the perfect birthday every year.

For my fortieth, he gathered fifty of my closest friends and family and a big boat and we cruised around NY harbor to gaze at Lady Liberty under the stars. How can you outdo that one?

By taking your wife on a much needed vacation. When he asked what I wanted for my fiftieth I didn’t hesitate to ask for a tropical getaway. I was in dire need of a real, live vacation with palm trees, blue waters, and sand. Oh, and margaritas and rum punch. Lots and lots of margaritas and rum punch.

A drink boy would have been nice too, but I do have DH and he is totally nice to look at. Also, he likes to bring me drinks, so he would fit the bill.

Ahhh
THIS is what I was talking about

My DH does not like traveling so I knew he would be less than thrilled, but it was my birthday wish. And birthday wishes must be fulfilled. It’s a rule. You know, in my rulebook.

After much research and reading every travel site known to man, I chose Providenciales. One of the islands of Turks & Caicos. Also, it was highly recommended by some friends and from my research it is known to have some of the best beaches in the world.

Who am I to turn away from the best beaches in the world? I would keep my toes in the sand my entire life if I could, so going to the best of them was right up my alley.

Also, this body of mine was depleted of Vitamin D (true story). Too much sun is bad for you. Too little sun is bad for you. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

The Kid wanted to be a part of the festivities, so I chose a week in May after school got out and before she started summer activities. Three weeks before the rainy season begins there.

We rented a private cottage on a private stretch of beach. We could have gone to the other, more commercial side of the island, but in addition to needing a vacation I really needed peace and quiet.

Sadly, this is the only sun we would see for six days
Our private stretch of beach and cabana. This is the only sun we would see for six days

When we disembarked, the heat from the sun was enough to make your skin melt off and the sweat factor was set at 165%. We all arrived in jeans because when we left New York it was chilly. I almost had to resort to scissors to get them off.

Sadly, that was the last of the sun for a week. Just to give you an idea of what we were dealing with, it is said to rain six days a year in Turks & Caicos. We saw four of them.

This is why I don’t play the lottery. My luck is so bad, I would probably owe the lottery people money.

Did I mention the vegetation?
Did I mention the vegetation?

Now don’t get me wrong. Our vacation was very nice. Our little cottage was sweet. Private and quiet just like I wanted with lots of vegetation right outside our back door.

But along with vegetation comes bugs that were on an apocalyptic level. It felt more like we were in a scene out of “Them!” than paradise, so any dreams of sitting on our beach were quickly swept away with the first bite from a sand flea.

But I couldn’t really complain. I mean, we were in Turks & Caicos. Turks & Caicos, people.

Our beach umbrella turned rain umbrella
Our beach umbrella-turned-rain umbrella

Besides the fact that our beach umbrella was used to keep out the rain instead of the sun, we had a lovely time. We were together and healthy so that’s all that mattered.

Until the “healthy” no longer applied.

Let’s just say I used my fair share of toilet paper and my stomach was cramped up in a vice grip from Day Two until well after our vacation was over.

When something disguised as Typhoid or Dengue Fever or parasites hits you like a fast ball at a Yankees game, it could be a vacation wrecker. But who was I to let a little diarrhea keep me from enjoying my vacation?

18527747_1533950103306137_5883110691456930816_nI powered through. I put on my snorkeling gear and spent the better part of our week with the fishies. When you are in the sea, you can’t really feel the rain falling on you. Also, something about the lightness of the water eased my cramping.

Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita dammit!
Sucking it up, putting on a brave face, and drinking a margarita for the sake of humanity

Remember I wanted lots of margaritas and rum punch? I may not have had lots of either, but I insisted on ordering a cocktail with my dinner every night whether I was in the mood or not. I swore that is what I wanted to do on vacation and that is what did do dammit.

The obligatory vacation photo with feet
The obligatory vacation photo with feet

And I sat on my cabana and watched the sunless sunset and drank a glass of wine from the $30 bottle of swill we bought at the local grocer, because the cost of all things there is astronomical.

All whilst being bitten to death by mammoth sized tropical bugs. But hello? Private cabana on private beach. Bugs or no bugs. It had to be done. If even for ten minutes.

So, I must know. Does something happen to our stomachs when we age? I’m not talking about how it heads south.

That is more obvious than knowing mimosas go with breakfast.

But this same thing happened to me in Ireland a couple years ago. Hmm.

After having testing done of my stool (yes, that was as fun as it sounds) when we hit American soil, all things alarming were dismissed. It looks like it was just a good old fashioned case of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Yup, traveler’s diarrhea.

Swell.

In closing, when life gives you lemons, you add tequila. And Imodium. So, bring it on Monte. I’m ready for our next adventure.

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.

A Pointless Post About Dust

unknown-1“Where does dust come from?” This is a question that was rhetorically asked in a writing course I recently participated in. And because I am who I am, I remembered that I have always wondered that same thing myself.

I have a fairly large, dark wood coffee table in my living room. I love this table. Of course. I would not have chosen it to grace my living room and look at it every day if I didn’t. It has a big shiny surface. Which happens to be its only flaw.

Why is it a flaw? Because I can spend 5 minutes dusting the balls out of that thing and a mere few hours later? Dust. All over it.

And when the sun is coming through the windows just so (I love the sun coming through my windows, but only when no one is here, including myself), you can see it float down and land right on the surface of that newly dusted table and every single, ever-loving item in my house.

So, where does dust come from exactly? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. For all those who are like me and wander into strange places while thinking, or if you missed that day in fifth grade science class, here is where dust comes from. You’re welcome.

As taken from wiseGEEK (www.wisegeek.org):

“…it is largely made up of dead skin cells, fibers from clothing and other materials, pollen and dander, and tiny particles of dirt. Dust comes from objects in the environment, and from the people and animals that live in it.”

Upon further research, I found out that the average person loses about 40 dead skin cells every second. Most of that thin layer of white stuff you see building up on your furniture? It’s dead skin of you and whoever else lives in or visits your home.

So, basically you have little pieces of pretty much everyone you know in the air that you are breathing. Through your nostrils and into your lungs. That thought makes me want to go out and purchase one of those Walter White type masks. No offense.

maskwhite

I guess no one has has actually died from breathing in other people’s dead skin cells, so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up (pardon the pun). I mean, I’ve survived the first forty-nine years of my life living this way. I think I can survive the next uh…forty-nine (it’s possible).

In the meantime, I believe I’ll be investing in some more Pledge. Oh, and can you do me a favor before coming over next time? Slather up with some body lotion, would you? Like, maybe bathe in it? I just really hate dusting.

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.

img_7460
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.

img_0536
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.