I’ve always been a people pleaser. Always afraid of saying the wrong thing. Hurting someone’s feelings. God forbid if I say “no” to somebody. I don’t sleep for days.
The same thing goes for responding to texts, Snapchat and Facebook messages, phone calls.
I always feel the need to respond immediately. Any and all my friends and members of my family know they can text me any time of day and they will receive a reply from me fairly quickly. The only things that would keep me from responding is if I’m being mauled by a mountain lion or am dead.
And since neither of those have happened to me yet, that point is moot.
Some of my friends — actually, MOST of my friends — don’t live by my rules. I have friends who I will text and won’t receive a response from for days. Sometimes weeks. And on the very rare occasion, never.
When they do finally respond, my invitation to go out for drinks has expired. Or the news I wanted to share has been forgotten like the name of my first grade teacher.
I know my friends are there for me when I need them. If I texted my bestie, “I need help now,” she’d promptly reply with a concerned response and one foot in her car preparing for the worst, to help me off a ledge if need be. I not only know this because these are the types of people I surround myself with, but because it’s happened. On more than one occasion, sad to say.
Do I take it personally? Oh heck no. If I was that sensitive, I’d be curled up with my blanket in the corner, sucking my thumb. I gave that practice up in 1974.
Why do I do it? Does it go back to my earlier statement? Because I’m a people pleaser?
Here’s part of my problem, or at least what I’m blaming my nimble texting fingers on: I am one of those mothers who thinks if she hasn’t heard from her child in more than two hours, she most certainly must be in a ditch somewhere. Bleeding profusely from her big toe on her left foot because she was propelled from the car she was driving and said car is now crushing it.
The problem with this scenario is she doesn’t have a car at school. Also, she wears her seatbelt. So, this image that pops up in my head is, in actuality, next to impossible. Not to mention a waste of my time, energy, and adrenaline.
Anyway, my point is that I always have my phone with me so I can come to the rescue when and if the time comes. Which translates to being there for everyone else. Including those pesky telemarketers who have now learned how to speak Chinese.
Whatever it may be, I don’t want to do it anymore. No one else does, so why should I? My life is just as busy. Which really isn’t the point, I’m just being sensitive.
So, I’m not doing it anymore (maybe). There. I’ve said it (kind of).
If you need me, I’ll be in the corner. With my blanket. Sucking my thumb. My phone will be close by though. You know, because…ditches.
Have you ever eaten something so deplorable it shouldn’t even be considered edible, let alone pass the stringent testing of the FDA?
I have. And more than likely, so have you.
My family and I recently came back from a trip to Ireland. Everything about our excursion was amazing.
Except for one thing.
The airlplane food.
I have flown dozens of times in my fifty-one years of life. Starting when I was a little girl at the age of four when my dad would take me up in his rented Cessna 150.
I love to fly. I find it exhilarating, freeing, and beyond all else, adventurous.
I love that one short flight can take you to places you’ve read about in books, and dreamed of in, well, your dreams.
I love almost everything about it. Except one thing.
It’s a well-known fact that airplane food is not good. This is nothing new. Whether you’ve flown or not, everyone knows this to be true. Airplane food has a bad reputation.
And for good reason.
I’m not sure if it’s better in First Class as I’ve only flown that way once when we were coming back from Orlando, Florida. That is a long story that ends with one happy husband who found this to be the highlight of our trip.
You either love Disney, or you hate it. There is no middle ground. I suppose you can take a gander as to the direction DH went in.
Anyway, who taste tests this crap? A barnyard pig? Because that’s what it reminds me of — slop.
We booked a flight on Norwegian, a very budget conscious airline. They are no frills. There are no screens set into the backs of the seats, there is no place to plug in your earphones, they don’t have music. There is no place to pay for wi-fi.
I get it. We got round-trip nonstop tickets to Ireland for a really good price. They have to cut expenses somewhere. We don’t get a movie. So what? That’s what Kindles and iPads are for.
We certainly weren’t expecting food. So, when they announced that the flight attendants would be serving dinner, we were quite surprised. And to make matters better, we had a choice.
On the menu that fine evening was Chicken with Spinach, and Stuffed Shells. Wine was included, with a refill. I was in my glory. “Free” wine with dinner. What could be better?
The food, that’s what. The food could be better. But that’s already been determined.
The Kid and DH asked for the chicken. I requested the stuffed shells. The good thing about airplane food is you don’t have to wait. The bad things is — say it with me — it sucks.
As we removed the foil tightly wrapped around our culinary delights, the smell hit us like a boy’s locker room after a Friday night football game at the local high school.
My shells had enough sauce to feed a small family of fireflies.
As for the chicken?
All I can say is at least I could muster up the energy to take more than one bite of my meal. The chicken was inedible based on sight alone.
I could actually hear the collective gagging of the passengers. Even at 30,000 feet, over the loud humming of the engines.
I had the pleasure of catching a glimpse of the boy child across the isle from us as he took a bite of his chicken. The look on his face was pure disgust. I laughed in spite of myself. You know, because it was sad funny. It played out like a bad dramedy.
Ahh, life. It’s just so complicated. Especially when airline food is involved.
All I can say is, thank god for the wine. Wine fixes everything. Even slop.
If you missed Part 1, please click here. You’ll need to catch up. I’ll wait.
I dropped my arms in total disbelief. This couldn’t be happening. I had to take matters into my own hands. After all, I had a huge poster of him on the back of my bedroom door. He was the last person I saw at night, and the first person I saw in the morning.
I was his biggest fan and I had every right to take matters into my own hands. I just couldn’t let him get away.
I yelled in the loudest outside voice I could muster up, my arms swinging in the air. I looked like one of those air traffic control guys. Except I wasn’t on a runway.
And, well, I wasn’t an air traffic control guy.
Anyway, if you know me you know I have a good set of lungs. I could put Jamie Lee Curtis from “Halloween” fame to shame.
“ARE YOU WHO I THINK YOU ARE???”
He stopped at the corner where his limo driver was waiting with the back door held open. With his left foot inside the car, he turned to look at me (remarkably, I might add) and nodded his head.
That’s all I needed for confirmation. Right there in the flesh was good old Rob Lowe. Just like I thought.
At that, I turned on my heel. And as fast as four inch heels in a skirt that allowed as much leg room as an economy seat on a Spirit airline flight could go, I ran.
I ran like my life depended on it.
I ran as if I was Speedy Gonzales going for a pound of the fanciest Swiss cheese this side of the Alps.
You would be impressed.
From where I stood, I could see the shock on his face, the lifting of his eyebrows, the mouth turn in a large “O” shape. I’m pretty sure he could have fit ten Havana cigars in there.
He leaned down and jumped into his limo, but he wasn’t quick enough. I gained on him so fast, his driver didn’t have time to close the door. At that moment I was more proud than when I won a stuffed snake during one of those water race games at the local fair when I was twelve.
I never learned how to dive, but there is a first time for everything. I threw my arms over my head, and with clasped hands, elbows to ears, and chin tucked, I dove into that car better than Greg Louganis during the Olympic games of 1984.
And then I said it. I said those words no self-respecting young woman should ever utter:
(My hand. I wanted him to touch my hand.)
I asked this of him as my body was stretched across the seat, my shoes hanging out of the car door, pointing to the blacktop.
To my chagrin, there already was a young lady seated next to him, and I was laying across her lap. Rob was at the time engaged to Melissa Gilbert, so I was none too happy that he had another woman with him.
I accusingly ask who she was. I had a right to know. Me and Half Pint went way back and I owed her that much.
He ignored my question, and with his head pressed against the far window, he stuck out his right hand to shake and then very impatiently asked me to get my friends and get in, or get out of his car.
My parting words to him were, “We will NOT go to your party because you are rude!” You know, because having a twenty year old jump into your car uninvited was perfectly polite.
But damn, I worked so hard to get there.
Once I wedged myself out of the backseat of his limo, straightened my skirt and fixed my hair, I looked up to see my three friends staring at me in utter disbelief.
It was their turn to pick up their jaws with the roller end of a Bonne Bell Lipgloss.
And that, my friends, is the story of the night I met Rob Lowe. It is a thirty-one year old memory that will last a lifetime. And quite honestly, one that just never gets old.
It’s amazing the ridiculous and idiotic things we do in our youth, without a care in the world.
Would I do this now? As a fifty-one year old, mature woman?
Of course not.
I can’t run in heels anymore.
(Edited to add after publication):
There are a number of reasons I did not go with Mr. Lowe on this particular evening. #1) my friends apparently were not interested; 2) It did not feel right and felt kind of icky, even though I threw myself at him; 3) He was known to be a bad boy and had a bit of a drug habit. I had at least some sense to hang back. In retrospect, I used his bad attitude to get out of it. I really did just want to shake his hand!
The year was 1987 and I was fairly new at being a twenty year old. The drinking age in New York had changed from nineteen to twenty-one in 1985, missing my ability to go into a bar or club with proper and legal identification by a mere two years.
As an adult, I know this was a good thing. Nineteen year olds do not always have the mental capacity to make good decisions. I mean, giving them a legal drink is pretty much like giving a pack of bubble gum to a toddler. Not smart.
As a nineteen year old, it all but ruined my life.
I can’t pinpoint the exact date, but I do know it was warm as I do not recall wearing a coat. Early fall perhaps.
What I do recall is the long, stretch denim pencil skirt that just skimmed my ankles, and the high heeled, pointy-toed red pumps that I wore that evening.
A group of three of us took a train into New York City to meet a friend who lived in Brooklyn. The Brooklyn chick was twenty-one. The rest of us were not. Yet, we were under some presumption that we could get into a hot dance club based just on our teased up Aqua Net hair and poodle socks alone.
I had no fake ID. Although, I did have that little identification card that accompanies a newly purchased wallet.
Yes, it’s true that little card once got my friends and me a Flaming Hurricane at the local Chinese restaurant.
But we weren’t in a little Chinese restaurant in farm country. That little card would be of no use to us on this specific evening.
Why didn’t I have a fake ID? I mean, everyone had one.
Because although I thought I was cool on that fall Saturday evening in Manhattan of 1987, I was terrified of getting into trouble. Which, if you knew me between the years of 1983-1986, sounds like a contradiction of epic sorts.
Also, I didn’t have an older sister to borrow one from.
We stood in every line of every joint, and slum-house (we did not discriminate) from mid- to up-town New York. Inevitably, when it was our turn to have our ID checked, I used the same original excuse, “I left it at home.” But to no avail. Our inability to gain access into Anyplace was my fault.
After hitting the literal pavement for a couple hours, we finally hit pay dirt. The place was called “The China Club” and was the pinnacle of my youth. They didn’t seem to care that we weren’t of legal drinking age, to which we were eternally grateful.
If you look up The China Club, it was THE place to be. Apparently, it was the watering and partying hole for celebrities and professional sports players alike. In all our glorious innocence, we had no idea. We didn’t have the internet back then and we were from a little podunk town ninety miles due north of “The City That Never Sleeps.”
I was lucky I knew how to find my way out of a paper bag, let alone know where David Bowie hung out on a Thursday night.
What we were aware of was that this place had the two things we were after; alcohol and music. Not necessarily in that order.
Some things stick out in my mind about that evening…
a couple cocktails (surprisingly not many at all — I believe because I had not yet discovered wine and the only drink I even knew about, aside from the Flaming Hurricane, was a Screw Driver, which gave me heartburn),
all of us being entertained by a “magician” who could magically pull quarters out of our ears,
…and something else.
I’m pretty sure we closed the place down. It had to have been close to four in the morning. We were tired and hungry, and made our way to the sidewalk, where we waited while Brooklyn Girl hailed us a cab.
Let me start by saying that one of my girlfriends — a friend who is my bestie to this day — is very attractive. She has never had her lack of being hit on. In fact, I’m sure she still gets hit on on more occasions than I care to discuss.
The only thing that hits on me these days is the wind.
We stood there on the sidewalk in a circle, reminiscing about our evening, when my attractive friend’s left shoulder received a swift poke with a finger.
“Hey, wanna come to a party with me?” Came a deep, albeit slightly anhebriated, masculine voice.
Crickets. Radio silence. I mean, she didn’t even turn her head.
He tried again. “Excuse me, would you like to come to a party with me? Your friends can come, too.” More crickets. This time I think I even heard bullfrogs. I mean, we were in the Concrete Jungle after all, right?
At this point recognition lit up my face like the LAX runway at midnight, and I started to perk up. The excitement I felt was overwhelming. I picked my jaw up off the sidewalk with the roller end of my Bonne Bell lip gloss and screamed at my friend, “OH MY GOD! DO YOU KNOW WHO IS TALKING TO YOU RIGHT NOW???!!!”
She continued to ignore me.
I grabbed her face with both my hands and whipped her head in my direction, forcing her to make eye contact with me. “DID YOU HEAR ME? DON’T.YOU.KNOW.WHO.THAT.ISSSSSSSSSS???” I repeated, sounding a bit like Regan from The Exorcist. I’m almost certain my head spun around on my shoulders.
I was concerned she suddenly lost her hearing. Or her sanity. At that moment, I was pretty sure it was the latter.
Her eyes slowly rolled up in my direction (she is a bit shorter than me) with a look that all but told me I was an idiot and needed to shut my mouth. In a very annoyed voice, through gritted teeth she uttered, “I don’t really care who it is.”
My town/state/part of the country was hit pretty hard by several tornados and macrobursts a little over a month ago.
What is a macroburst, you ask? Heck if I know. Let’s ask the Interweb, shall we?
A strong downdraft, of over 2.5 miles in diameter, that can cause damaging winds.
The words “tornado” and “macroburst” were not ever a part of our vocabulary in these parts. We are more accustomed to words like “nor’easter” and “blizzard.” Pretty benign in the scheme of all things weather.
So, when we were suddenly warned of a tornado in our area I didn’t take heed as I probably should have. I left the office too late, but yet not early enough. If you know what I mean.
I don’t know tornados. So, I just kept thinking, “how different can it be from a snowstorm?” You know, without the snow.
For the record, it’s a lot different from a snowstorm.
When I finally had the wherewithal to leave the office, I was met with marble sized hail hitting me in the face. By the time I got to my car, I looked and felt like a wet dog. Can’t tell you if I did or didn’t smell like one. I’m hoping for the latter.
As I made my way out of the parking lot, an emergency broadcast announcement came on the radio that said there was a tornado spotted in the area and to seek shelter immediately.
Seriously? A tornado? We don’t get tornados. And kept driving. Luckily the tornado was ahead of me, so by the time I got near my exit, it was a thing of the past.
Trees and power lines were snapped in half like pencils and scattered everywhere like a game of Pixie Sticks gone awry. Traffic suddenly got backed up as people were trying to maneuver their cars around all the debris in the roads.
It was at this point that I felt the first twinge of needing to void. Because today of all days, I decided to drink ten glasses of water.
After sitting in my car for what seemed to be an eternity and daydreaming of a bathroom (even a nice woods would have done the trick except they all came down with the tornado), I was able to get within a mile of my street. The only problem was, I couldn’t get any closer. Every road was blocked by trees.
I did have a water bottle. You know, those single Poland Spring ones. The problem is I don’t quite have the anatomy to make it work. Being a man truly would have come in handy at that moment.
But alas. A man I am not.
After turning around multiple times and cursing those ten glasses of water, I was able to get to the house of a friend of mine.
After doing what seemed like 55 mph up her driveway, I slammed on her door with the back of my fist while screaming her name.
No one was home, of course. Except their cute dog. Who thought it was playtime and ran to get his toy. Unfortunately for him, there was a solid door between us so no playtime was in his future. I do have to say, I was wishing dogs were granted thumbs so he could reach up and turn the door handle for me.
It was then that I made the executive decision to use the backyard as a facility. I dropped my drawers and felt the relief run onto the grass. I didn’t even care if anyone saw. That expression, “desperate times call for desperate measures” could not have been any more true at that moment.
A little wiggle and a shake and I was on my way to going home.
Except I couldn’t get there.The closest place I could park was at our local high school which is a mile and a half from my house. That isn’t bad on a normal day, but there were trees to be scaled, mud and water puddles to jump over, and power lines to be avoided.
I am Wonder Woman about as much as I am a man. The last time I really exercised, I tore a meniscus, so let’s just say the shape of me is less than ideal.
But, with my big black umbrella, oversized fake Louis Vuitton bag, and work clothes, I started on my way on foot anyway.
I walked through those mud and rain puddles, climbed over those downed tree limbs, hopped over those power lines. All while the sounds of emergency vehicle sirens, chainsaws, and generators filled the air.
I have to say I was pretty proud of myself. I got really far. Until I couldn’t. A nice man let me walk through his woods that led to my street. In retrospect, walking through woods that just took a beating by Mother Nature probably wasn’t a good idea. Apparently, I didn’t care.
In no time at all, I was on my street. So, with water squishing between my toes and mud up to my knees, I made it home.
My neighbors who had already gathered to cut down the trees blocking the road referred to me as “Mary Poppins.”
Except I didn’t have the ability to fly. And I wasn’t singing “super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious.”
Mainly because I don’t know all the words.
Anyway, our little town was severely damaged. Houses were flattened, cars were totaled, trees were lost, power was out for a week or more for most of our town.
Sadly, two people lost their lives during the storm. What amazes me is that there weren’t more fatalities.
It’s times like these where you really feel the love and unity of people in and outside of your community. We are always so busy with our lives, and divided in these tumultuous political times, but when it comes down to it, we are there for each other. Irregardless of our beliefs or lifestyles.
People getting together to help out a neighbor in trouble, opening homes to strangers who couldn’t get to their own home, giving rides to those whose cars were stuck elsewhere, emergency workers from all over the country coming to help.
I love my little town, and am so proud to be part of a community filled with people you can count on.
But no more tornados, please. I think I’d rather stick with snow.
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.”
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.
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.
I didn’t hear the word “episiotomy” until I was a young adult. I guess my mother never deemed it necessary to discuss the topic. Even though it kind of falls under the whole sex talk category.
You know, love, sex, conception, childbirth, episiotomy.
I mean, I completely understand her reasoning. She wanted grandchildren. She must have known if I knew what could become of the skin between my vulva and rectum during childbirth, I may have joined the nunnery instead of motherhood.
The first time I did hear the word, I was a twenty-something professional working for a large corporation. A co-worker who recently had a baby somehow felt it was her civic duty to give me the nitty-gritty of what can happen to your perineum during the delivery of a child.
After I received the blow-by-blow, I walked out of her office looking like I had seen the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, with a rectum closely resembling Kim Kardashian’s lips in selfie mode.
But I was young and single. The thought of having babies was far away. Besides, from what I heard, it didn’t happen to everyone. I was certain I would be one of the lucky ones when the time came. So, I tried to relax and forget about it.
Which I did.
Until it happened.
Fast forward to Delivery Day. I am the age of thirty-one and in the throes of childbirth. Screaming every obscenity with each contraction that would make even the devil blush.
After the worst pain known to man was over and my beautiful baby was on this side of the world, it turns out I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. I didn’t feel a thing at first. Not until all the drama of what just went on down below the waist subsided.
“My God, what is that PAIN?” I screamed. “Why does it hurt like I was accosted by a jack hammer?” For a moment, I started to panic. Wondering if they got confused. I came in to have a baby, not a colonoscopy performed by a member of Laborers Union #60.
And then I remembered. It came back to me like last night’s chimichanga. My co-worker was absolutely 110% correct. I got cut all right. I was also ripped like a flimsy piece of poster board.
Yup, my sweet baby girl, the fruit of my loins, tore my bottom to smithereens.
I never actually looked down there to confirm, but I heard from a witness (my husband) that my incision was in the shape of a lightening bolt. Does this make me a super hero?
Well, yes. Obviously. That goes without saying.
But I didn’t want to see. The thought brought me back to that day at the office. It made me want to clench my posterior nether region like all those years before, but any clenching down there made me wish I was born a man.
I tried so desperately to not let the thought of its presence enter my mind. But it just kept popping up like a Whac-A-Mole at the county fair.
I was prescribed some stool softeners and a sitz bath and was sent on my merry way. When I walked, I felt as if I was channeling John Wayne. Except I wasn’t as sexy. Or nearly as cool.
The drive home from the hospital was not exactly a ride through Happy Town. Every bump and pothole was felt from here to Timbuktu. My thighs burning from holding up my own body weight. Which, I dare say, was a bit more than I was hoping for.
Ahh, the baby weight. The gift that keeps on giving.
Once I settled in at home, my mother — bless her heart — gifted me with the best item I ever received. It came in the form of a pillow. It was shaped like a donut and was soft and billowy.
Me and my donut pillow did not go anywhere without each other for a long time. We were thick as thieves. Stuck together like glue. He was the Frick to my Frack. The Ying to my Yang.
The sitz bath also helped tremendously with the discomfort. I was told to do 2-4 sessions a day. If anyone is unaware of what a sitz bath is exactly, it’s this contraption that looks like a little tub and rests inside your toilet seat. You fill it with warm water and this special solution and then you sit on it. There is a hose that you can use to aim that liquid miracle right at your incision with. It is total nirvana.
I was so completely obsessed with this thing, that my 2-4 times a day was more like 12-14 times a day. I couldn’t get enough of it. I was sitting on that toilet like the Queen of Sheba. Ordering my husband around from my perch, feeding myself stool softeners as if they were peanut M&Ms.
Anyway, glad I survived that. It has been over nineteen years, but I still remember like it was yesterday.
They told me you forget the pain of childbirth. Something about the release of oxytocin or endorphins? You know, so you’ll do it again and humanity can continue to exist.
How do I know? Well, I only have one kid. You be the judge.
With the exception of approximately eight of my fifty years, I have lived in the Northeastern region of the United States. The other eight, I lived in states and countries where the weather is crazy and sometimes temperamental.
In other words, I am no stranger to snow, hail, sleet, blizzards, snowmageddons, nor’easters, bomb cyclones, and hurricane strength winds that knock the power out for days on end.
I have bathed out of a bucket, used the backwoods as a toilet, and burned enough candles to light up Alaska in December.
I have collectively shoveled enough snow in my lifetime to fill the Taj Mahal, have chiseled ice from my windshield with the sharp end of a pair of jumper cables, and defrosted a car door with the highest setting of my blow dryer.
And as of this past Wednesday, I can add “driven in blizzard-like conditions” to my resume. Don’t get me wrong. I have driven in snow before. Lots of times. But this was different.
First, let me give you a little background on my driving career. I got my license when I was eighteen years old because I was lazy, not scared. My first car was a Chevy Nova with an eight cylinder, 350 engine under its hood.
Because my parents thought this was apparently a good idea.
My favorite pastime was to do donuts, burn rubber, and drag race down the Taconic State Parkway at midnight. When I was a senior in high school, “Mario” was my nickname.
In other words, I loved driving and still love it. I am not afraid to get behind the wheel. I will drive anywhere, anytime, with or without a navigator. If I get lost, I get an unnatural thrill. A little bit of a high.
I no longer do the crazy things of my youth, but I have been known to put upwards of twenty thousand miles on my car in a year. This gives DH anxiety. I get the “wear and tear” lecture at least once monthly.
But like a petulant child, I pay him no mind. Cars are meant to be driven and dammit I’m driving them.
The Kid had spring break this past week, and spent half of it in Chicago. She and a friend had airline tickets to return home on Wednesday. In the middle of a major snowstorm.
After changing flights five times and having them all get cancelled, they were able to get on a flight that stuck. It was pretty much the only flight that got off the ground that day. And it seemed an airport an hour was shutting down all the way from Philly to Hartford.
When I received the text that announced they were buckled in their seats and getting ready for take-off, I threw on my trusty parka and snow boots and started my approximate hour and a half drive to the airport.
Mind you, shortly before I left it had begun snowing lightly. In fact, we were in disbelief that the airports cancelled all morning flights as the storm didn’t even start until nearly noon. But it is not my business to question these things.
All I knew is I was happy my kid got on a flight. It was a miracle and it was going to be a miraculous day.
Little did I know HOW miraculous it was going to turn out to be.
In less than an hour, the lightly falling snow turned into a storm of epic proportions. One that even the Abominable Snowman would stay in his cave for. Aside from the fact I almost lost control of the car and ended up under an eighteen-wheeler, the ride down was fairly uneventful. It only took me about a half hour longer to get to my destination. No thanks to snowplows.
Note: Getting stuck behind a snow plow in a nor’easter is where you want to be, as frustrating as it is. I like to refer to this operation as “The Parting Of the Seas.”
After I gathered the girls, we started on our journey home. It was still light at that point. Not that it made a bit of difference. The fact that there was a full-on white-out made it nearly impossible to see twenty feet past my nose anyway.
The snow was piling up on the highway faster than cow dung at a cattle roundup. We experienced more fish tails than the Great Barrier Reef, and saw more cars slide off the road than Pinky Tuscadero ever did.
The drive was a harrowing experience, laced with white knuckles, bowel anxiety, and at one point, a dashboard filled with flashing lights. Even my little Subaru was trying to tell me something.
“Sue.” The little car that could. That girl is a beast and I owe our safety all to her.
After four hours and thirty minutes, one pit stop for a bathroom break and the de-icing of the windshield later, we we were just about home.
There was nothing anyone wanted to do more than eat tacos, lie on the couch and watch some Netflix. It’s all we were talking about for the last two hours of our trip.
As we turned onto our road (“turning” is an understatement — my Nova days flashed before my eyes) we all saw three consecutive bright flashes that lit the entire night sky. As if someone was putting on a light show welcoming us home. It would have been beautiful, had it not been what it was.
As we pulled up to our house, we were met with complete and utter darkness. That beautiful light show was a blown transfuser on fire a mile up the road.
Tacos turned into turkey sandwiches on stale bread. And Netflix turned into an early bedtime with a book lit by candlelight. Although, I almost burned down the house. Candles are dangerous and should not be allowed in the vicinity of me.
By morning the power hadn’t come back on, which also meant no water. So, I got my butt up, took a “whore bath,” which is something I learned to do from DH’s grandmother (bless her soul), and went into work where I sat alone because no one was crazy enough to drive in. Which was a good thing because an unshowered me is none too pleasant.
I was happy and enjoying the all too often taken for granted electricity, heat and flushing toilets while the rest of the suckers in my town lived their day out like an episode of Little House on the Prairie.
In retrospect, I should have gotten a hotel near the airport for the girls and picked them up the next morning. Then again, we wouldn’t have the memories. Even amid the white knuckles and clenched bums, we had some good laughs.
Would I do it again? Of course. Because although you can take the girl out of 1985, you can’t take 1985 out of the girl. That’s just how I roll.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
I 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.
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.
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.
In closing, when life gives you lemons, you add tequila. And Imodium. So, bring it on Monte. I’m ready for our next adventure.
I apologize to all my email subscribers, but I inadvertently hit the “publish” button on my “Dragon Flies and Boys” post and it was unfinished. That’s what I get for drinking wine while writing. Will I ever learn?
You will have to wait to hear the juicy ending. To come soon so stay tuned. Thank you for your understanding!
PS: I also know “Dragonflies” is really one word, but this was a draft so I get a pass.