I’m not gonna lie…I always thought my parents were a little over the top with their doctors’ appointments. They will not allow anything to come between them and their beloved providers.
Kind of like Calvin’s except these Calvin’s wear a white coat.
Hell could be freezing over but dammit, they will make that appointment. Like Superman during a blizzard. Over tall buildings and faster than a speeding bullet. Nothing will stop them.
The year before the pandemic, I decided I probably should start going for annual skin checks. 2019 went off without a hitch, then the pandemic hit and I was forced to cancel my appointment for 2020.
One that I didn’t reschedule.
Until recently, when I discovered that two friends of mine were diagnosed with melanoma. Skin cancer. One was caught early. The other, not so much.
Was this a sign? Maybe. But that was all I needed to get on the horn and call my doctor.
It wasn’t even mid-August and the next available appointment with my derm — who I love almost as much as my firstborn — wasn’t available until four days before Christmas.
Am I panicking? Not totally.
But what if? I won’t let my brain go there because I tend to be a bit of a hypochondriac. Just make sure my ashes are thrown in the Atlantic, mmmkay?
Anyway, I think I now get what my parents mean. There is nothing that can make me cancel that appointment. Except maybe death. And it will have to be my own. If it’s anyone else’s they will have to wait.
Is this another by-product of aging? This sudden need to have all the things checked?
ALL the things between the hair on my head and the bottoms of my toes? Inside and out?
Gone are the carefree days of having to only worry about skidding out on your bicycle and scraping a knee.
Oh my god. Knee scrapes can’t turn into cancer…can they?
When did joggers, leggings, sweatpants, and oversized cardigan sweaters (“are you wearing your [pause for dramatic effect] robe?” asked a friend recently when he last saw me out and about) become not only a part of my wardrobe, but the wardrobe?
I’ll tell you when: March 13, 2020.
In the last sixteen months, I have accumulated so much in the way of “casual” clothes my drawers and closet look like spaces that will put you into a coma at the mere sight of them.
I have two full-to-the-brim dresser drawers of these clothes and a closet that is beginning to look like there was a fight between my oversized cardigans and my work blouses. If shredded polyester looks like that stuff inside cheap pillows then I think I know who won.
I remember the time when my jeans and work clothes severely outnumbered my “workout” clothes, but like applying makeup I’m not even sure I would remember how to wear them anymore. Do we still put on jeans one leg at a time? Or do you just commit and go full hog by hopping in with both feet?
Let’s not discuss if I will even remember how to fasten a button. My new wardrobe consists of drawstrings and elastic waistbands. From what I can remember, buttoning buttons requires some dexterity. Tasks using my fingers have been limited to opening a bottle of wine and games of Candy Crush.
What happens when the office opens back up and I have to dig out my work clothes? Will I recognize them? Will I be excited like when you move houses and unpack all your wares and act completely surprised as if you’ve never seen your favorite soup bowl before in your life?
Or like when you pull out the Christmas decorations and look at all the baubles and bows as if it’s been centuries since you’ve last met. (“Oh! Remember this ornament we bought when we first got married?” Even though it has hung on a tree in your living room for one month out of every year since 1992.)
I’ll just start slow. Like learning how to walk. Or maybe it will be like riding a bike.
Do I sound dramatic? You can blame Outlander for that one. I mean, come on. Who has pectorals like that?
Update: I went into the office one day last week and I survived putting on pants with buttons. It was confining and I rate wearing real pants a 2 out of 10. Like the bra, pants should also be burned.
I went into the city with a couple of friends the other day and we were shocked and appalled at the number of braless young ladies walking around. They were everywhere. So many, in fact, I was sure this was a new trend. A quick text to my twenty-three year old daughter confirmed my suspicion.
The inner old lady in me was secretly wagging a finger at them. I had a strong desire to throw a blanket over their shoulders and phone their mothers.
My internal young and wild side wanted to join them in liberation. That crazy side of me felt the urge to plan an impromptu “Burning Of the Bra” ceremony in front of the Victoria’s Secret on 5th & 12th and watch in joyful glee while underwire, elastic, and eye hooks all went up in flames. Joined together as sisters by our eternal hatred for the torture chamber that is called a Brassiere. But it was obvious they already did that because, as I said, there was ne’er a bra to be seen.
The bra I was wearing that day felt overly confining in the mid-June heat of the city. It didn’t take long for it to be soaked with my perspiration. I am fairly well endowed so there is always too much fabric and this fabric was suffocating all things from shoulders to ribcage. Making its presence irritatingly known more than ever.
I daydreamed about the end of the day when I could sit in the privacy of my own home and pull it off in a frenzied fury, disrobing so my girls could be free at last. The thought of walking down Park Avenue sans bra was deliciously tempting. Unfortunately, not only am I well endowed but time and elasticity — or lack thereof — have not been kind to me.
Whereas these lovely ladies only had the risk of having a nipple poke through the fabric of their shirts, I was afraid mine would end up at the waistline of my shorts.
As much as I wanted to throw my bra to the concrete jungle right then and there, I just knew it couldn’t be. I very well could have been the subject of a viral photo warning the public, “large, middle aged breasts on the loose. If seen, please throw them a blanket and call their mother.”
As I stared at these ladies in wonder, I was transported back to 1968 when the first bra burning took place. I know I was only one at the time and it would be another twelve years before I got my first training bra, but I could have been there.
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t possible, but I have seen pictures so it was like I was there.
By the way, who named it a “training” bra anyway? They aren’t called beasts, they are called breasts. You can’t just train them to sit, beg, bark or fetch a ball on command.
Full disclosure: I always thought a training bra was to keep our breasts up, to prevent them from drooping. But upon a quick google search I discovered the dreaded training bra is to train us and not our breasts. You know, so we can get used to wearing them.
I have been wearing a bra of some sort for over forty years and I am about as used to them as I am used to a full-on hot flash in the middle of August.
It is said purchasing your first training bra is a rite of passage.
If you believe that standing in the middle of Caldor with your mother thrusting a glorified tank top in your face, yelling at you to pull it on over your shirt in the middle of the toy aisle is a rite of passage, then the Brooklyn Bridge belongs to me and I’m going to sell it to you.
By the end of my day in the city I had gotten so used to seeing this, my disgust turned to envy. These ladies were on to something. This may be one of the best trends to hit the streets of New York City since the Croc.
But as usual I am a dollar short and three breasts sizes too late.
Technically, this is how much time went by from the moment I found out I was pregnant with our only child to this exact moment in time: Twenty-three years, seven months, and five days.
Realistically, this is what it felt like: one hot minute.
They always say if you want life to go by quickly go and have yourself some children. Just like when people would tell me to enjoy the baby years because they were the easiest, I didn’t believe them.
But by holy hell they were right. To sound like a total cliche in which my life sometimes seems to be based, I blinked and here we are.
Maybe I blinked twice.
Last weekend we celebrated the graduation from nursing school of that only child. This was after she went through two years of preschool (“we have plenty of time … she’s only three”), thirteen years of public school (“ok so preschool went fast but seriously we really have plenty of time”), four years of an undergraduate degree (“wait, how did that happen?”), and a year of nursing school (we knew that one would go quickly, it was only a year after all — thank you, nursing school, for not surprising us).
That’s twenty years of some kind of schooling, yet here she is on the precipice of adulthood. Of having a real grownup job with a paycheck. Of paying taxes and having health insurance. Of credit card bills and rent to pay all on her own. Maybe even a mortgage one-day-probably-sooner-than-we-think-because-why-not.
So, what’s next? Marriage, and then children? Grandchildren to make life whiz by even faster? I’m having a hard enough time dealing with menopause.
(If you thought children made you feel old, go and see how you feel when you have to put on your readers to pluck the three inch chin hair that lord knows how long has been standing there at attention for all the world to see. But because it’s grey and your eyesight isn’t what it once was, you just walk around without a care in the world like nothing’s up. At least if it were black that baby would have shown up like a beacon on a cloudy day and been taken care of two inches ago.)
Yes, that was a run-on sentence but I’m at that age where I can do whatever I want. Go ask any of my buddies down at the Senior Center.
Anyway, how did all this happen? I only found out I was pregnant two blinks ago.
I am not really sure where I picked up my love for food. It’s not like I was born into a family of chefs. I was brought up on bologna sandwiches, Steak-umms, and tuna casserole with toast. I have an aunt who takes great pride in what I have dubbed her “Buster Brown” pot roast. And my grandmother would always put too much thyme into everything.
Full disclosure: I was in my late twenties before I realized she put too much “thyme” into her food, and not too much “time” into her food. For years I thought if you didn’t get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible your meal would be a disaster and everyone would sit around the table admonishing you for using too much effort.
I may not know where I picked up my love for food (making it is a whole different story), but I can tell you when it started.
I was in high school when I developed an irrational obsession with cafeteria pizza. “Cardboard” is what most of my peers referred to it as. Turns out I liked cardboard and their loss was my gain.
Luckily for me, I had a metabolism that lived on the Autobahn. These days my metabolism prefers to take the slow lane on Rural Route 9. Although I can no longer eat what I want without repercussions, I still do so with abandon.
I’m always hungry. I wake up hungry. I usually go to bed hungry. Food is almost always on my mind. Right now, I am thinking about when I can eat again. And I just had dinner. In my mind, I am scouring my refrigerator because I’m too lazy to get up. And from the looks of it, a call to Uber Eats may be in order.
You know how you feel after a Thanksgiving meal and you declare you are so full you are never eating again and then don’t for at least another day? Not only does that not happen to me, I don’t understand it.
The only time I’m not hungry is when I have a stomach bug. And even then I’m thinking, “what cracker would go well with my ginger ale?”
The newest thing I do is cry over a really good meal. Most recently was just last month over a bowl of lobster bolognese. Let me repeat that: I cried over a bowl of pasta. I don’t even cry at Hallmark commercials.
I also have taken to moaning out loud when I eat food I highly enjoy. I just can’t help myself. It kind of pops out of my mouth like a burp ramped up on rocket fuel. It’s quite embarrassing.
So, there you have it. I like food and I cannot lie. From toast to caviar. There isn’t much I won’t turn away.
Except black licorice. Black licorice tastes like the deep recesses of Hell and Hell is where it should stay. Oh wait, black licorice isn’t really considered food, is it?
I can’t pinpoint the date. Probably because it is not exactly what I would call traumatic. And besides, I feel like it was a slow death. Kind of like when your aging gums start to recede until you have no gums left at all. It’s gradual until the time has come for an alternative.
I have a closet full of them (heels not gums). They are all covered in a fine mist of dust and something that looks suspiciously like tumbleweeds stuck at the section where heel meets impossibly steep shank.
They were once very much loved. You can tell by the missing heel tips, and the rubbed-off leather on the technically speaking “counter” (the back of the shoe to you laymen) from using them as driving shoes.
The treatment they receive these days is less than par. Let’s just say if my shoes were human I would be spending the rest of my days making license plates and eating cold porridge for breakfast.
It will be one full year since this pandemic started and I was ousted from the office to work from the privacy of my own home. Yes, I am very lucky. No, I am not bragging. I’m just stating a fact.
Although I absolutely can blame the pandemic on many things, I cannot blame it on my inability to walk in shoes that have a heel height greater than a quarter of an inch.
Before this pandemic I wore flats to work most of the time. Once in a while if I was feeling crazy and wanted to completely let my hair down and get all “Girls Gone Wild” on myself, I would choose one of the two pairs of kitten heels I own.
For those of you who may not know what a kitten heel is, let me put it to you this way: there were plastic princess shoes with a higher heel in my child’s chest of dress-up clothes.
And I can’t wear them. These kitten heels. I try in vain, but by midday my puppies are barking at me like a couple of junkyard dogs.
The last time I recall wearing real high heels was at a nephew’s wedding nearly nine years ago. They are gorgeous, sparkly, open-toed, five-inch heeled stilettos. I have the photos to prove I kept them on longer than the church service.
These days if I even attempt to stand up in a pair of stilettos, I resemble a newborn baby elephant. Except the elephant is much more graceful. No matter how hard I try, I can barely get across the room without running the risk of spraining an ankle.
In my youth I could have run a marathon in high heels. I wore them as if I was born with them on my feet. The confidence I exuded from wearing a pair of four or five inch heels was incredible. And damn. They made my legs look great.
These days I look like a squatty sloth. My fuzzy slippers may be comfortable but they do nothing for me aesthetically. Although they do look real cute with my favorite pair of yoga pants. On days I want to get really freaky, I’ll wear a matching t-shirt.
So, that’s my story. My heel wearing days are over. Well, until my only child’s wedding day. I’ll just be sure there is a wheelchair nearby. Although, I suspect I’ll be utilizing that before the wedding march cues up.
It was a Saturday afternoon. Yesterday to be exact. I was sitting on my couch writing while listening to classical music. The classical music is good for me while I write so I don’t get distracted and break out into song. It’s kind of hard to put words to Mozart. Besides, I don’t think he’d appreciate it much. Dead or not.
I was just sitting there being productive and feeling good about myself when the dog started to lose it. It wasn’t his usual dispassionate bark at a passing squirrel. It was the “DANGER WILL ROBINSON!” type of bark that he does when someone is in our driveway.
After I peeled myself off the ceiling because I will never grow accustomed to the bark of a pissed-off German Shepherd, I looked toward the door and saw a man talking to Wolfgang (our dog, not Mozart) through the window.
It was a good friend who we haven’t been in close contact with in, dare I say, months. I was exceptionally excited. Aside from the hubs and strangers at the grocery store who may not be strangers because who the heck knows who anyone is these days, I haven’t seen people.
I am a social creature by nature and this pandemic is slowly killing my mojo. Any sign of life gives me a shot of adrenaline that could get me through another week.
What is important to note is that it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I was in the same leggings and sweatshirt I wore on my walk that morning. I hadn’t showered, let alone refreshed my armpits with deodorant. My head hadn’t seen the working side of a brush in three days, and I’m not even confident my teeth had either.
Thank God for the small miracle called a mask, of which our friend respectfully donned.
Typically, I would have ninja’ed myself behind the couch — a move I execute when there is a Jehovah’s Witness sighting — where I would have stayed until either DH answered the door or our friend just gave up and went away. But these days I don’t care.
I did chase our mailman halfway down the driveway in a robe and not much else last year to give him his Christmas card. But he’s the mailman. Like my doctor, if he’s seen one crazed middle-aged woman, he’s seen them all.
These days when I try to apply make-up I come away looking more like John Wayne Gacy in full costume instead of, well, me. I neglect to brush my teeth every now and then, and I’m not even sure I recall how to use a hairbrush anymore. Forget about shaving my legs. I may as well move to a hippie commune. I would probably fit in quite well.
It is what it is. This is me now. Although, I was never one to be defined by beauty — or lack thereof — I at least had the decency to do one or all of the above before I went out in public.
Let’s just say that was how I gave back to my community. No need to thank me.
Our friend didn’t flinch. I don’t know if it was out of courtesy, or he just has gotten so used to this new world, he didn’t notice. I think we’re all so conditioned to the continued foul “smell” of 2020, it doesn’t even register on the radar anymore. It’s like being nose blind, but for the eyes.
I know I’m not alone. It may take some time, but hopefully we can all put our hippie days behind us at some point and go about our business as usual, and not like a deranged serial killer who dresses like a clown.
Although hippies are on to something, don’t you think?
You don’t need to tell me why the password is so important. I get it. Speaking from someone who had her Facebook hacked recently, I understand that more than I understand why my nose is on my face (to hold up my reading glasses, of course).
By the way, if you haven’t had your Facebook account hacked you have not lived. The adrenaline rush from the moment you realize what has happened until that very last online account has been disabled, is so intense it should count as a ten mile run out of the Grand Canyon.
Alas, all it does is shave a few years off your life. That level of unfairness is equal to not being able to ride Magic Mountain at Disney World because you’re too short.
The other night we wanted to get into Apple TV. We’ve had Apple TV for a very long time and use it often. In this time of Quarantine Living there isn’t much else to do as I am sure you can attest to.
I couldn’t get in. Well, I did eventually but only after too many tries to count, a lot of cursing, and so much hair pulling I’m surprised I’m not as bald as a newborn baby’s ass.
How dare it tell me my password was incorrect.
It really set the mood for the rest of the evening. Actually, I’m still pissed about it and am in a bit of a standoff with Apple TV at the moment. Guns are drawn. I’ll let you know who wins (hint: it won’t be me).
I recently bought a new MacBook. With this MacBook, there is a feature that allows you to use your fingerprint to gain access into your accounts.
Except it seems it doesn’t always perform.
I tried to get into my WordPress account where I keep my blog. Except my fingerprint wouldn’t work. This was on the same day as the Apple TV debacle. You can imagine the bloodshed at my house. If motherboards and processors count as blood.
The fingerprint does not change. I may not have paid much attention in science class, but this I know.
I have been relying on the fact that my computer remembers my passwords for so long that I had completely forgotten what it was.
Here came the adrenaline rush again. At this point I should be primed to be a contestant on American Ninja Warrior. Instead I’m afraid I’ll be hitting a ripe old age sooner than I want to. At the rate it’s going, that will be next Tuesday.
The worst is when you take a few days off from work. When you return, the screen stares at you, begging for the password. The only problem is, you have turned your brain off for a few days and POOF! The part of your brain that holds your passwords has been disabled. Went on vacation to Tahiti. It’s just a shame it didn’t take you with it.
And even though your laptop says to “click here” for a password reset, it doesn’t work. You inevitably will need to call the Helpdesk and spend an hour trying to explain to the nice Helpdesk guy what it is you are trying to accomplish. More frustration will ensue. Your call will need to be escalated.
You sit without access to your work computer. You need to take another day off. Your brain falls deeper into the black hole of nothingness. Although from what I’ve gathered from HGTV, Tahiti is anything but nothingness.
Maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit, but you get my gist, right? Surely you can relate.
What kills me the most is when you FOR SURE have entered the correct password. You have it written down in your little notepad of passwords. This little notepad is your bible and it’s never wrong.
Yet, the account you are trying desperately to gain access to says otherwise.
Then you take a deep breath and attempt to reset your password. Again. The new password you use is the password you thought it was. Except you get an error that you can’t use an old password.
By now, the site you are trying to get into decides to lock you out.
This is when you incur some brain damage from all the head banging you begin to do.
Eh. You really didn’t need to get into your bank account anyway. There are more important things that need to get done besides being sure that check you wrote to Home Goods doesn’t bounce.
Like watching your favorite show through Apple TV.
Purse. Pocketbook. Handbag. Satchel. Trash bag. There are many names for it. I guess it’s all in what you prefer. And perhaps your mood.
Men don’t feel the need to carry around items they most likely will not use during their time away from home. Does that mean they are smarter than us?
We’re just more prepared. Even though there’s a pretty fat chance I will not need that pair of earrings from the last wedding I attended in 2012.
I don’t even wear earrings so that one’s just as much a mystery to me as it is to you.
It’s not like we’re going camping. I don’t even like camping. So, why carry on with my day as if that’s exactly what I’m going to be doing? All it does is cause frustration and a bad neck.
Anyway, the contents of my purse have morphed over the years.
When I was a teenager in the 80’s this included a black eyeliner pencil, a BIC lighter to melt the black eyeliner pencil with, and the occasional maxi pad. Back then I was always caught off guard. Knowing when you would get your period came with the wisdom that age brings. And a certain number of ruined Jordache jeans.
There would be a roach clip, but don’t tell my parents. The buckle that fell off my beloved Chinese Slippers, a glass roller ball tube of Bonne Bell lipgloss — bubble gum flavored, of course. And a pack of Hubba Bubba.
I had the keys to my beat up Chevy Nova among the rubble, and a handwritten note that a friend passed to me during History class. Oh, and dimes in case I had to make a phone call from one of the many pay phones that hung in the lobby of my high school.
In my twenties, I graduated to tampons and finally learned to permanently leave them in my bag. My lip gloss was replaced by brown Revlon lipstick. A box of fruity Chiclet gum, quarters, a spare pair of L’eggs that came in a plastic egg would be in there. And keys to the Geo Storm that remarkably behaved like a lemon.
My thirties brought on Pampers, used breast pads, a rattle, and loose Cheerios. A flip phone, chapstick, my checkbook, and six month old receipts. Maxi pads as well as tampons (I don’t want to talk about it), and keys to both my house and my ever reliable and roomy Nissan Pathfinder.
Although you would no longer find Pampers or maxi pads in my bag when I was in my forties, you may have found a random Poise pad thrown in there. Girlfriends and wine suddenly had that effect on me. My flip phone was replaced by an iPhone. Water bottles, bobbie pins, sock glue, and the like for all the irish dance competitions The Kid was fond of dancing in.
A tin of Altoids, and stale gum that inevitably fell out of its wrappers and stuck to anything it came in contact with. Ruining perfectly good leather wallets and…ahem, Chapstick.
These days you will find Lysol wipes, masks, and hand sanitizer thanks to a little thing called a Pandemic. A wallet that is stuffed with more crap than I care to discuss. Yes, that includes an expired gift card from Chuck E. Cheese and my AARP card.
Tums, Advil, and Preparation H have replaced all beauty items. A bottle of Poo-Pourri, a notebook, chocolate kisses, toothpaste, and a pen can also be found. I keep the pen for when I need to jot down an idea I have. Also, to leave behind a note in case someone kidnaps me.
I can sit and wonder what I’ll carry in my next decade, but I’m going to take a quick guess and say it will probably be hard candy and Bingo cards.
I’ll get back to you on that in about six years. Whoa. Did I just say that out loud?
I am not here to discuss the third grade teachings of the moon as the title of this post would have you believe. Instead I am here to discuss my quiet and sudden obsession with candles and what happens when you try to give them life when a wick has gone rogue.
I have a drawer full of candles of all sizes and scents in my office. There are some I don’t much enjoy, but won’t get rid of because I like my candle drawer filled to the brim. As much as it goes against the grain in this Marie Kondo world of unloading items that do not spark joy, this drawer just gives me a certain amount of personal satisfaction.
Along with these candles are books of matches. I’m not sure how I procured so many of them. Outside of the time I pretended to inhale a cigarette when I was fourteen years old, I never smoked. Lucky for me they are great for lighting things other than cigarettes.
I have two candles I am especially fond of and are aptly named “Books” and “Bungalow.” If you light them together, you would swear you were reading a book in a bungalow.
Why I didn’t think to light the “Beach Grass” is beyond me. Just like that I could have been reading a book in my beachside bungalow. Ahh, so many missed opportunities.
The wicks on both these candles had gone into hiding. I tried everything short of calling in Search & Rescue, but nothing worked. They sat for months until I had the bright idea of hitting YouTube the other day. Don’t ask me what took so long. Like my prepubescent boobs, I’m always a little bit behind.
I found this guy Jeff and in about a minute and a half, discovered how I could easily dig out my wicks.
Bottom line is you point a heat gun at the problematic candle, melt the wax, pour the melted wax out, and voila! You have found your wick. Light and be merry.
Unfortunately for me, I do not possess a heat gun and neither does DH. The latter really surprises me since he owns more tools than the local Harbor Freights.
Fortunately for me, I do own a blow dryer. Two of them, in fact. So, I chose the one I thought would produce the most heat and got to work.
It started out well enough. It was a wee bit messy, but I was happy to see what the man said would happen — the wax was melting. I grabbed a couple squares of toilet paper to wipe the sides of the candle jar and continued on.
Except after another few seconds of torching my candle, toilet paper squares were not really cutting it. Because I’m a genius, I placed a nearby catalog under the candle to catch any wax that was spilling over.
And because I am also a rule follower, I poured out whatever wax was melted as I was told to do. Lo and behold my once hidden wick was standing out in the open like a soldier ready for battle.
I repeated the steps above for candle number two.
Later that evening as I was preparing for bed, I stepped into the bathroom to find it smelling like a candle factory. That would have been just fine seeing that the scent was a combination of my favorite candles, but then I felt some things under my bare feet.
Upon closer inspection I discovered they were dried up balls of wax. Melted to the floor tile. All of the floor tile.
And just like that, within a nano second of this discovery, the balls of wax seemed to multiply by the hundreds, perhaps even thousands.
Like fruit flies.
They were everywhere.
On the mirrors, walls, sink, countertop, toothbrushes. On the toilet, in the toilet, over the toilet. On the back of the door, the shower curtain, the window shade. And if I were a betting woman, I would guess on the ceiling as well, but I’m too short and afraid to look.
I set out to get it cleaned up, when I had a thought.
And that’s when I lit my “Clean” candle. Still waiting for results, but my mama didn’t raise no quitter.
Also, thanks for the warning, Jeff. Not everyone is a Captain Obvious.