The Brain Thief and Other Stories for the Middle Aged Woman

Warning: Spoiler alert ahead.

What in the love of God is this? Things have changed. Overnight. Out of nowhere. And uninvited. You know, on my body, in my body, all over my body. There was no warning either. Why wasn’t there a warning?

For starters, I feel like I’m losing my mind. If you lifted the top of my head off you will find little blips of memory from when I was twelve, thoughts of food, a squirrel, and the proverbial cobweb or two.

Then there is the loss of words. Simple words. Words I know. You see that word “proverbial” in the paragraph above? It took me exactly seven minutes to recall it. Usually I would turn to my trusty online thesaurus, but I couldn’t think of the word “thesaurus.”

I think and say really dumb things. Remember that riddle, “what color is George Washington’s white horse?” If I hadn’t already heard it a million times, I’m not confident I would answer correctly.

Then we have the hot flashes. They come unexpectedly and often. It’s like someone installed a furnace inside me and there is a tiny man shoveling coal into the thing like his life depends on it. I wish the guy would drop dead of a heart attack or something. No offense, tiny man.

My evenings are filled with three changes of pajamas, covers that end up on the floor until I start freezing again. And sweat. Pools of it. If only I could bottle and sell it. I’d make millions. You know, if sweat was trending.

And let me introduce to you the Mood Swing. It can turn on a dime. Like a Lamborghini. Maybe not as sexy, but most definitely as fast.

I don’t care who you are — except 1973 Robert Redford — if you do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time, you are crucified.

Like, get me some nails and a hammer and you are done for. You know, metaphorically speaking, of course.

I am predictably unpredictable. My family walks on egg shells. They know I’m gonna blow. They just aren’t sure when.

My mom has an uncanny ability to actually smell my hormonal shift and she lives 600 miles away. My husband usually wishes he was dead. My daughter tries to get another family to adopt her. And my co-workers look around wondering if they made a wrong turn and wound up at the circus freak show instead of the office.

Also, I have weird dreams. Case in point: This past week I dreamt William Baldwin was released from house arrest and I couldn’t wait to write a blog post about it. Imagine my disappointment when I woke up and realized I made the whole thing up.

Randomly waking up in the middle of the night and then not being able to fall back to sleep is a real thrill. Staring at the ceiling waiting for the Sand Man to pay me a visit is about as entertaining as listening to Taylor Swift stuck on repeat.

The facial and neck hair that seems to sprout like wildfire during the Santa Ana winds is super fun. Because I can’t see close up without my readers, I don’t always see it. Until someone else does.

And my all-time personal favorite? Muscle atrophy. I exercise almost every single day. If I did that when I was in my twenties, thirties — hell, even my forties — my body would look like Jane Fonda from her 1970s workout videos. Instead I look more like Gumby with boobs.

That just about covers it. I wish I could end this post on a witty note, but I can’t find the words for it.


Why Being 40-Something is Awesome

glasses on headSo, maybe “awesome” is a strong word here.  But being in my 40’s isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I was inspired to write about this subject by a post I saw the other day.  The blogger wrote a list of 40 reasons why being 40-something is better than being 20-something.  And it got me thinking about my own reasons why the 40’s are better than the 20’s.  I couldn’t come up with 40 exactly, so 10 will have to do.  Here’s what I think.  Tread lightly.

  1. You don’t need to bring your ID with you everywhere.  Believe me.  I don’t care how young you think you look.  You will not get carded.  Unless the bartender is trying for an extra tip.  But for me, that doesn’t work.  Because I know he is trying for an extra tip.
  2. We are smarter.  See number one.
  3. When I was in my 20’s, I would beg, borrow and steal to get you to like me.  Now?  I don’t really give a damn, Scarlet.  Unless your name is DH.  Cuz I want him to like me.  Otherwise I’d be divorced.
  4. I would rather die than admit that I needed glasses to read.  Today?  You can find me at any given time with 3 pairs sitting on top of my head.  It’s really quite cute.  And oh so convenient.
  5. People take you a little more seriously.  And I can act like a dumb ass around young people and they can’t say anything because it would be totally disrespectful.  It’s so much fun to see The Kid’s friends squirm or the young people at My Retail Job give me that “you’re so weird” look.  I should be embarrassed.  But I’m not.
  6. I can, and have, answered the door in my robe and slippers and am surprisingly fine with it.  Now the person at my door?  That may be a different story.  I see soap to the eyes in their near future.
  7. When I was in my 20’s, you would never, ever catch me singing out loud in my car to myself.  Ever.  Now?  Not only will I sing out loud and proud, but I may even roll down my windows for all to enjoy.  Consider that my gift to you.  You’re welcome.
  8. As a 40-something year old woman, I am more confident, sure and wise.  Honestly.  You couldn’t pay me a million bucks to go back there.  Well, actually.  It would be really great if my ass still looked that good.  Or was at least in the place it was intended to be.  Because I am completely freaked out by what happened to it.  I think I need a bra for my butt.  A Butt Bra.
  9. I have no problem with being accountable for my actions.  Back then I would throw every Tom, Dick and Harry under the bus to save my ass.  Oh wait.  I thought I was supposed to be smarter?
  10. I am so incredibly at ease with my partner.  I will walk around naked in the light.  Tell him what I think.  Burp out loud.  And poop with the bathroom door open.  Ok, actually that last one is a lie.  That’s just gross.

So, that’s about it.  For Now.  Maybe there will be a Part II because surely there are many, many more reasons why being 46 is better than being 26, right?  Can you think of any?  Let me know.  Because it has got to be better than this.  Maybe.

One Moldy Oldie

photo
Soul Asylum. I think that’s their name.

There are many, many things I am too old for.  I’m too old for drama.  But I will not discuss that here because this blog is for fun and inspirational subject matter.  I’m too old for My Retail Job, even though I have to admit I’m having a blast among all the aches, pains and “you’re a mature woman” comments.  I am too old for roller coasters, which pisses me off because I would go on one a thousand times in a row if my brain didn’t scramble into a million pieces after the first 30 seconds of the first ride.  And as much as I love my new sport of running, I may be too old for it because my knees feel like they have been through a war.  Maybe even 2 wars.

Last night I met a friend of mine for dinner about an hour away from where I live.  A very old friend.  She’s not old, our friendship is old.  We were having a great time, having great conversation as always.  Halfway through dinner she asked if I wanted to go with her to meet some of her friends at this theater outside of town to see a band.  Who am I to pass up a good time?  PLUS it was an opportunity to meet new friends.

We trekked on over the border into the next town to see this band.  You may remember them.  Soul Asylum.  I was never a grunge band follower.  I am classic rock and moldy oldies all the way.  After singing half a dozen songs, they sang ONE song I vaguely recognized.  But every person in that room had gray hair.  If they didn’t have gray hair, it was colored I’m sure.  So, I didn’t feel out of place.  A Justin Timberlake concert I would feel out of place at.  This concert?  I just felt old among the old.  And the music was just too effing loud.  I mean, how is a mature woman supposed to have an intellectual conversation with all that noise?

Me and my old friend
Me and my old friend.  And that would be Sprite in my cup.  I swear.

Me and my new friends
Me and 2 of 4 of my new friends.  And my Sprite.

Sure, I had a good time.  Sure, I danced to music I never heard of or even liked.  Sure, I had a drink.  Ok, half a drink.  Ok, a quarter of a drink.  Because after about 20 minutes into being there, I hit a wall.  Not literally.  But the “holy shit, I need my bed NOW” kind of wall.  As much as I was enjoying these women, my new friends among my old one, I felt a very strong urge to put my head on a pillow.  In fact, if there was a pillow somewhere in that place, I would have had my ass in a corner on that floor.  Even amongst all the racket.  And it wasn’t even 10pm yet.

And the band?  They have to be at least my age.  Where, may I ask, do they get their energy?  I guess from their hair.  Because they had plenty of it.  Hair.  Good for those guys.  But I will bet any amount of money that they went home, slathered a crapload of Ben Gay on their joints and fell into a deep coma.  Because that’s what I did.  And I’m not too proud to say so.  I mean, who needs pride when you pee your pants every time you sneeze and, well, never mind.  Anyway, I think I’ll stick to James Taylor.  He gets me.

Maturity is Overrated

Unknown-4I’ve always considered myself “young.”  I’ve never acted my age.  Ever.  Even now, as a mother.  The Kid is constantly reprimanding me because of my inappropriate behavior.  I do silly things.  Make dumb choices.  Laugh when someone farts.

But not only have I always acted young.  I always looked young.  When I was 12, I looked 8.  When I was 18, I looked 14.  And so on.  When I finally turned 21 and I ordered my first legal glass of White Zin, the waitress stared at my I.D. for about 17 seconds then accused me of forging my birth year.  I got carded for quite a while.  And then, I didn’t.  Huh.

So, when two “collegues” in the span of about 7 days approached me at My Retail Job asking for my advice because I am a “mature woman” I was a little more than shocked.  Me?  Mature?  What do you mean?  I looked around to make sure they weren’t speaking to someone else.  Like some old biddy standing behind me, perhaps?

Unfortunately, they weren’t.  “You know, you’ve been around a while.  You know what to do.”  I ran home both times and stared at myself in the mirror.  Okay, so I have a few more wrinkles than usual, my lips are pretty much non-existent (why does that happen) and my jowls rival those of Julia Childs.  But come on.  I’m not old.  Am I?

Hmmm.  I do tend to pee without warning when I sneeze, cough or just because.  I can’t remember what I did 30 seconds ago pretty much all the time.  I need longer arms so I can read.  My hair is going gray.  I have parenthesis between my eyes.  My knees are sagging.  And my boobs have joined them.  My body aches when I get out of bed in the morning.  I need to turn up the volume on the TV to about 42.  Oh.  Holy Shit.  I’m old.  When the hell did that happen?  But, I was just young the other day.  I swear it.

Ok, so this old chick isn’t giving free advice anymore.  If you want it, you’re gonna pay.  Except it ain’t gonna be a nickle.  Hey, we seniors have to make a living.  And if you ask for advice and use the word “mature” in any form, there’s going to be a premium added.  Let this be your warning.  Have a nice day you whipper-snappers.

How I Know

You-are-never-too-old-to-set-another-goal-or-to-dream-a-new-dream
…Unless you want to work in retail

I told you in my post the other day that I took a job in retail.  I applied for, and landed a job in a local store whose hours are ridiculously long.  Why I didn’t apply for something like a wholesale store, is beyond me.  I am 46.  Working until close to midnight should be a thing of the past.  Maybe eventually, I will start to feel young.  Could this turn out to be a Fountain of Youth?  Possibly.

Here are some reasons how I know I may be too old for My Retail Job:

  1. Some of my co-workers and even some of my up-line could possibly be my children.
  2. When I wake up the day after a late shift, I would swear a Mack truck got a bit off track, drove through the wall of my bedroom and ran directly over my body.  I’m sure I didn’t actually hear it coming because I was in an over-worked-induced coma.
  3. I can’t seem to keep up after a co-worker who is about a foot and a half shorter than I am no matter how fast I walk and/or run.
  4. I have difficulty hoisting myself up to reach the top shelf by standing on the bottom shelf.  I’m pretty sure I’m breaking some kind of code during the attempt anyway.  Hope the Retail Police don’t get me.
  5. It took me 2 weeks to memorize my 8 digit employee number.  Because I suffer from short term memory loss.  Because I am old.
  6. I can’t remember which locker I put my pocketbook in half the time.  Last week, I had to work my code on about a dozen of them before I finally found it.  No, not embarrassing at all.
  7. The thought of me having to carry around a walkie-talkie and possibly speak into it makes me want my mommy.  Then, well, I need to grow up.  Maybe my fountain is starting to work?
  8. I couldn’t figure out what that thing is on my nightstand that was making a heinous sound and waking me up.  After I realized it was my alarm clock, I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off.  Even though I’ve had it for 17 years.  Again, over-worked-induced coma.
  9. When I sneezed last week, I peed my pants.  I peed my pants at work.  Not an easy feat to try and cover up.  I know this can and does happen anywhere and anytime, but I had to get a Pee story in here somehow.

Even though I feel like I am past my peak for holding this position at this retail establishment, I am enjoying it.  Really.  And The Fountain of Youth theory?  What’s the matter?  It COULD happen.