It’s not a secret. I wear my age with pride, and I’ll be the first to tell you, in a very loud voice, that I temper my surgically-induced menopausal symptoms with bio-identical hormone therapy, and not the standard-practice-horse-piss pharmaceuticals.
And I know, I know, I can talk to my doctor, and we can adjust the recipe for my hormone compound and then I won’t have hot flashes. But I don’t have hot flashes very often. And I don’t want to adjust my hormone recipe. I prefer to take the edge off of my menopausal symptoms, because I like being mellow. I like being forty-six. I like being normal. Too much estrogen makes me crazy. I become a psycho-hose-beast. So I have the occasional hot flash. And I deal with it.
And O-M-G hot flashes suck. And trying to covey how horrible a hot flash is to my husband, sucks even worse. It’s like beating my head against a brick wall, and kicking a dead horse at the same time. It’s pointless. He just doesn’t get it.
For some reason Hubs thinks when I get a hot flash, I can just take off my jacket, or turn on a fan, or remove my blanket, and poof, I’m all better.
I can’t seem to convey to Hubs that I need to peel off my skin because it’s on fire; that I want to live in a county-fair-style dunk tank full of ice; that I want to stand on the hood of the car naked, while he drives through the streets, like a new age Lady Godiva -and I don’t care if the neighbors stare. And I don’t want to ever buy another pair of shoes because my toenails are hot.
Yeah, I would think the shoe part would really bring it home for him. WTH!?
What do three middle-aged, suburban couples do for fun? Head to NOLA, also known to the newbies as New Orleans.
Hubs and I have been to NOLA a bunch of times, but our good couple-friends Jack and Stella, have never been to the Crescent City, so we all booked rooms at a super decent hotel in the French Quarter. Stella’s brother Jon, and sister-in-law, Beth, flew down from a northern square state, to meet up with us and par-tay. Whoo-hoo!
Jack, Stella, Jon and Beth were all going to see a football game on Sunday. I can’t remember the teams; it was the New Orleans team. Or was it a Louisiana team? I don’t know. Anyway, Beth and Jon were big fans of the local team, and they were playing the Atlanta team, or the Georgia team. Whatever. It was a red team. I think it was the team that won the Super Bowl later on… Yeah. Them.
Clearly you can see why Hubs and I didn’t go to the football game; Hubs likes the Dolphins, from Miami. And football bores me; so at $200 a ticket, we skipped it.
Anyway, we arrived in NOLA on a Saturday afternoon, and we quickly unpacked, and hit Bourbon Street.
It smelled like vomit. I don’t remember Bourbon Street smelling that way when I was there the last time. Maybe I was drunker. When was I last on Bourbon Street, at night…? Hmmm. Wow. Ten years ago. I was thirty-five then. Whoa.
We walked down Bourbon Street; we grabbed a drink or two, here and there; we stopped at the end and turned around, because it looked dangerous. We people watched. We laughed and visited. We took pictures. And we found out that Jon was the only Honest Lawyer in his square state.
And then, we were all starving. It had to be like eight o’clock. We were all trying to figure out the best place to go to eat a super awesome meal. We were all Foodies and we were in NOLA, a Foodie’s wet-dream! Cajun, Creole, Crab cakes, Crawfish O-M-G We couldn’t wait to eat, and we didn’t want to waste a meal on so-so food! We wanted authentic, traditional, NOLA FOOD! Man, I was so hungry. I looked at my watch, IT WAS FIVE-THIRTY.
We were starving. AT FIVE-THIRTY. And it’s not like we all didn’t live in the same Central Time zone. WTH!?
So we wandered. And wandered. Drinking, and wandering and trying to find a specific restaurant, with our iPhones.
Have you ever noticed how you can never find anything using iPhone maps? There has got to be a man, sitting behind a computer, somewhere in China, totally laughing his ass off at all the people he has wandering in circles.
And so by seven we were still searching for an authentic, traditional NOLA restaurant. Stumbling in the street. Seriously. Falling. Down. Probably because we were half drunk by then; maybe because we needed glasses to see at night. But most definitely because we were weak from hunger. So we settled for a chain. Yep. We dined at a chain restaurant, in the Foodie-wet-dream-capital of the South.
And then we went back to Bourbon street, met some other drunk and fun, footbally-type people, and it got sooo late. We all knew it had to be like two in the morning. And I looked at my phone, AND IT WAS TEN.
Seriously. Mid-life is a fallacy Y’all. There is no middle to it. One morning you wake up and BAM. You are on the fast-track. A body-clock-schedule. We are simply senior citizens in the making. Up at seven. Hungry at six. Tired at ten.
And the next morning, when everyone went to the football game, Hubs and I hit the Flea Market. Believe it or not, I found Pretty in Pink on VHS, and Gitano drop-waist, stonewashed jeans.
No wonder Nicholas Cage loves this town.
My seventeen year old son Nic walked out to his car a couple of nights ago, and when he came back inside, he said the four words that make me want to head for the hills, or north of I-10; escape the burbs; abandon my comfy little house, and refill my Valium. Every-single-effing-year…
The Formosans are swarming.
“Are you sure?”
Yes, I’m sure. (eyeroll) The frogs are lined up in the driveway. And here, look.
And he picked a Formosan off of his neck and showed it to me.
“Oh my God. HUBS! HUBS! Nic, help me. We need to turn off all of the lights. Turn off the TVs. Cover the food in the kitchen. Oh crap. This is horrible. Nic, make sure the garage door is closed. Oh geez. I thought we were going to get lucky this year, since the nights are still unseasonably cool. SHIT! Nic, hurry. Help me!
Mom, this isn’t like torture. Chill.
“Your right Nic. It’s a close second to torture. It’s a close second to Christmas of 2007, and listening to Slow Ride on Guitar Hero more times than a human should ever have to.. So help me, turn off the porch light. And hurry!”
Hubs saunters into the room.. What’s going on?
The Formosans are swarming, and Mom is freaking out. As usual.
“Hubs, we need to move. We need to move. NOW! Oh Geez, I’m not sleeping tonight, there will be bugs all over the bed. Crawling all over me. Oh man. We need to change the bed sheets. They are going to be everywhere. And I knew it. I knew it! Hubs, remember that bird that fell out of the sky, and dropped dead at my feet today at Publix? Well, I told you it was going to be a bad omen! And it was, this is it! HA! And you thought it meant you’d win the Powerball. Oh my Gawd, this is disgusting. We might as well live in a hut in Africa.”
Hubs grabbed a flashlight and started looking at the ceilings. Yeah, they are bad. We’ve already got a ton of them inside. And I don’t have a job in Africa, so we have to live here.
And so we all wandered around in the dark, like the Ingalls, except we had flashlights. For two hours. Itching and wiggling and batting at the ceiling with brooms, like ninjas with body lice.
And we’ll do it again at dusk tonight. And tomorrow. And the next night. And everynight, until June first.
Because Formosan Termites are attracted to light. And then they get inside your house through the soffits and eaves; and then they loose their wings and crawl all over your ceilings; and then they fall… to whatever is below.. your bed, your glass of water, or you. And they crawl around for another hour or so, until they die.
Our house is treated and bonded and so who cares that they are super-eater termites tracked by the Department of Agriculture and pretty much uncontrollable. Not me. I don’t care that these little buggers won’t set up shop in my house; or that in the morning they’ll all be dead, and their beady gold carcasses will litter my house; or that my neighbor’s baby eats them off the floor before she can vacuum them up; or that my Doctors Without Borders neighbor tells me they are a delicacy in Honduras. Whatever.
All I care about is that for three or four hours, nearly every night, for six weeks every year, those little bastards are alive and crawling on me and my junk, and I’m stuck living with them. And the freaking best part, is that I paid $300,000, to be at this effing picnic.
I would have never survived life on the Prairie; because six weeks of annual Formosans, a skank in my garage, and the occassional opposum, completely unglues me. As does Slow Ride, by Foghat, whenever I hear it on the radio.
I have a summer cold and Hubs is plastering signs on the refrigerator to remind me when my next dose of non-narcotic, non-drowsy cold medicine is due, like I’m a senior citizen with Alzheimer’s, or a crack whore with no sense of time.
I don’t really feel bad. Well, okay. I feel bad, but not that bad. I mean, I’ve had three c-sections, three other major abdominal surgeries, a couple of laparoscopic surgeries, and a kidney stone that got stuck; and then there is that darn vertebrae in my back that keeps protruding; so in relative terms, no, I don’t really feel that bad. This is just a summer cold. I’m just tired. AND BITCHY.
Because Hubs has gone all Florence Nightingale on me, and he is hovering.
Nic, my seventeen year old son, is laughing at me when I cough; he says my cough sounds like a death rattle. Ahh, that’s my boy. At least there is one normal person in the house.
Admittedly, I sound like crap, and when I get sick, which isn’t often, it usually involves a hospital trip, surgery, and organ loss. So in a few fleeting minutes of rationality, I can understand Hub’s concerns. But mostly, right now, I’m living in bitch-mode; because I want to be left alone, and not smothered and hovered over.
And does he have to use a King Size Sharpie to track my dosage of non-narcotic, non-drowsy Tylenol Cold, on the back of an envelope, and then post it on the refrigerator with a “My Mom Is Special Magnet?” And does he have to date it? Like I’m going to be sick for days, and he’ll have to show the ambulance driver a medication log or something.
Hey Florence, I just took two Advil. And it’s a new day. Keep up!
I just boiled water to make iced tea in a pot that had a dead baby opossum in it two days ago.
I forgot I gave my husband a kitchen pot to carry the dead baby opossum (or a playing dead baby opossum, we didn’t know for sure) from my son Nic’s bed, to somewhere, anywhere, out of our house and away from our son. And me. And my seven pound dog that wanted to play with it, and then eat it; in my son’s bed; under the blankets; next to his sleeping body.
It happened while Hubs and I were watching late night TV. Our miniature hunter dachshund, Scarlett O’Hara, walked past us, really, really fast and that got our attention. And then we noticed Scar (over the years, her name has morphed into something more suitable to her personality) had a baby opossum toy in her mouth.
Hubs jumped up, and yelled at Scar.
Scar ignored him and just sped up. Scar headed right for Nic’s room, and climbed the steps to his bed and slipped under the covers, next to Nic’s sleeping body, with Hubs hot on her trail, and yelling like a madman all the way. And that woke Nic up, and kinda freaked him out a bit, and then Hubs instantly yelled at him too…
Nic was clueless and he sat perfectly still, and remained quiet.
Hubs didn’t know if the opossum was alive or playing opossum, so he had one hand on Scar, and one hand on a book, pinning down the opossum, and an eye on our other dachshund, Shakespeare, to keep them all separated. And blood-free.
And then Hubs yelled for me.
Grab a bucket!
This is how my Williams Sonoma, 2qt stainless steel, stupid-expensive pot got involved…
I was standing on a recliner in case the opossum stopped playing opossum and ran around looking for the doggy door. I figured this was a man-situation, and they didn’t need me.
But then I realized, OMG it could bite my kid, so I decided to help, and get the bucket.
But somebody failed to put the bucket back where it lived.
I had to go into the garage to get a bucket…
Which also meant…
Hubs was not getting a bucket.
Because I don’t go into the garage after dark, because Hubs lets a skank live in the garage, to eat bugs he says. So I don’t go into the garage after dark. Ever. As it is, I feel like a pioneer INSIDE my house.
So instead of a bucket, I brought Hubs a pot for the baby opossum.
A stupid-expensive pot, that I forgot was a dead-baby-opossum-coffin, for like five minutes two days ago, and so I just used it to boil water for iced tea.
Essentially Y’all, we live like a survivalist version of the Beverly Hillbillies. With miniature dachshunds for hunting hounds.
As I rushed my youngest son Nic out of the door to school this morning, I counted down the minutes and I realized, Motherhood is all about counting.
Nic you have fifteen more minutes…
Nic you have five more minutes…
Seventeen years ago, I started off by counting Nic’s fingers and toes, his ounces of formula, his bowel movements and then, how many teeth he cut, how many steps he took, how many words in his vocabulary…
I did this with all three of my sons.
And the playground pressures. You always had to know how old your kid was; first by days; then by weeks; and then by months. Er, my kid is 205 months. Today.
Then I graduated to counting daily servings of vegetables; keeping up with how many times each kid bathed that week; counting pieces of candy (yes, I gave my sons SUGAR); dividing Matchbox cars evenly amongst the boys; and counting heads before I left the grocery store.
And then I counted how many tardies; how many school absences in a semester; how many Cs; how many minutes before and after curfew; how many times my boys shaved the same three whiskers; how many heads of my son’s classmates assigned to me, on a Field Trip (yes, I lost a kid at the New Orleans zoo once); how many bottles of liquor were in the cabinet; how many soccer/basketball/baseball games until the season ended; how many hours until the movie ended; how many loads of laundry; and just how many pubic hairs could one pre-teen shed before he had to see a doctor?
But now I have my last, teenage-man-boy. And I’m still counting… Not so much the grades anymore; because he is at the age where he has realized the importance of getting good grades, if he hopes to one day move out, and get away from us.And of course, he must get away from us…
Oh, and just so y’all know, Hubs and I learned we are the most embarrassing and bizarre parents, on the entire planet. So everyone else is off the hook. We got this. For you.
And I don’t have to count how many times Nic shaves anymore, you know, to make sure he doesn’t shave off any skin; he has that down pretty well too.
I still count liquor bottles though. The number of bottles hasn’t changed, but it makes me feel like a responsible parent when I keep a tally. So I count.
These days I also count the number of days we will be on vacation, while Nic pretends to be hatched from an egg, and stays home, alone (with a security system, two ferocious dogs, pepper spray, a BB gun, and nosey neighbors who exercise their second ammendment right). I had to put that last part in there because this is the internet, and well, it’s also true; because, this is The South.
And then, like with my older two sons, when Nic moves out, I’ll count the number of phone calls home; the hours until I see him again, and hopefully, someday, the heads of my grandchildren.
Boys, on the grandchildren heads, take your time, I’m not counting.
It’s been twelve days since we did the Rock n Roll half marathon in Nashville’s great Marathon Monsoon of 2013. And finally it feels like things are back to normal; we’ve rounded the corner; the fog has lifted; we’ve overcome the extreme post half-marathon fatigue.
A few nights after the Half, in an obvious moment of over-tiredness, Hubs pondered outloud, training for a full marathon… And I freaked.
“Are you kidding me? You said you had no desire to EVER do a full marathon! You said your knees would never make it that far, and you’d never want to do a full marathon.”
Well, thirteen miles was just so easy. And so I was just thinking a marathon might be the natural, next step.
“No way! You have the sleep-deprived crazies. Did you see those people that ran the full marathon? They were real runners. And some of them puked, and had to be carried away. And I like you as a regular, non-puking guy, that can walk and drink beer at the end of a run. We are NOT hard core. We do this for fun. FUN. Plus, uhmm, who will be at the finish-line to carry your limp-puking-ass-body away?”
“Seriously? This is SO NOT funny. Because I know you are serious. Twenty-six miles is double what you went last weekend.”
I know. But really. It was easy.
“Okay then. Well. If you are seriously going to train for a full marathon, then I will too. And you know, I’ll have to walk it. So just think about that. Think about me. Walking. For eight hours. But I will do it. You know I will.”
(Silence. Serious face.) You are right. Twenty-six miles is a long way. Maybe I’ll just work on my time.
And so we dried out our sneakers; we caught up with the laundry; and we stuck 13.1 stickers on our cars.
And then, last week we started training for our natural, next step: Disney’s Twilight Tower of Terror Ten Mile Run, in October.
I did it! I finished my first half marathon.
Back in January, before my spine-lego-five popped out, Hubs and I decided to do our first half-marathon in 2013, and we chose the St Jude’s Rock n Roll, Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon, in Nashville.
Then earlier this month, when I found out about my bad lego, and learned I couldn’t run for awhile, maybe forever, I decided not to participate in the half-marathon; even though the doc said I could walk it; and even though Hubs offered to walk it with me, walking wasn’t an option, at least for me.
First of all, I wanted Hubs to run it. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for him. Plus, he can’t walk as fast as I can, and frankly, that annoys me. Which meant, if I walked the half, I’d have to do it alone. And walking thirteen miles would take forever and bore me to death.
And the idea of walking the half pissed me off. There was the whole stigma: Uh, I’m a runner. Then, it kind of freaked me out. Walking would take HOURS! And what if I hit a wall of pain when I was power-walking for HOURS? What if I was the last one to finish, and I was left alone, wandering the streets of Nashville, forever? And besides.. PSSHT! I AM A RUNNER.! Walk? HA!
But after the Expo last Thursday (and couple of vodkas), and an encouraging chat with Hubs and Ethel, I was pumped up. And I decided, what the Hell!? Worst case scenario: I would stop and ask for a ride to the finish line. I decided the shame was in giving in to my runner’s ego, and giving up before I even tried; there was no shame in walking and not succeeding… And like my Ethel says, Does it really matter how you get to the finish line Lucy? Or something like that.
And wow. We lucked out. We managed to pick the best first-timer half-marathon location. Ever. Despite our shuttle driver getting lost (really) and delivering us to the start line LATE; despite the fifty-five degree weather, and the thunder, the lightening, the gusting wind, the side-ways rain and the flash-flood warnings; despite the monsoon, the people of Nashville turned out in droves to cheer for us. Nashvillians rooted for us with bells, smiles, soggy signs and whistles; they waved flags and shouted encouraging words. And some Nashvilians played music on their porches; restaurants (independently) set up tables and handed out food and bottles of water; a church hung a large banner with words of encouragement, from one side of the street to the other, and the church band played live music for us on the steps; little kids gave us high-fives, and many, many people had party tents set up along the marathon route and toasted to us as we passed.
…and I never felt alone. Or bored. I never walked ten yards without a police officer, or a Nashvillian encouraging me. It was awesome. It was absolutely, the most amazing experience ever.
The event organizers did a great job, although, the shuttle drivers needed better directions and they ran out of a lot of things. Like Gatorade. And Gu. And mylar blankets at the finish line. Poor hubs had to wait two hours for me, soaking wet in the Great Marathon Monsoon because his iPhone got wet and fried, and he couldn’t change our meeting spot. Hubs really needed a Mylar blanket. By the time I met up with Hubs, he was shaking like he had Parkinson’s disease.
But it didn’t matter.
Because what made this the most extraordinary experience, was the people; the police, who not only kept us safe, but also encouraged us; the volunteers, and Nashvillians, who stood in the Great Marathon Monsoon of April 2013, with us, soaked to the bone, and freezing, right up until the very last person walked down the street and across the finish line.
I know they all stayed until the end because out of 17,829 participants, I was number 17,552 to cross the finish line.
And then there was my friend. My sweet, sweet Nashvillian friend. She waited for me at mile 10, for three and a half hours, in the Great Marathon Monsoon. And I won’t tell you what she had to do (smiles); but she did it so she could be there to cheer for me. And I love you bunches KNR; you’ll never know how happy and thankful I was to see your beautiful face.
I was one of those very last people. And I was never alone. Or bored. Not for one minute.
Thank you Nashville. I heart you. And I finished with a smile on my face. As a walker.
Its 2AM. This is the morning of my first half marathon, and I can’t sleep because I’m worried. I’m not worried about the 100% chance of rain, thunder and gusty winds; I’m not worried that I can’t run the half marathon, and I’ll have to walk it; I’m worried about untimely-runner-defecation. Yep. That one.
My constitution is clogged. And the nine-thousand laxatives I swallowed in the past two days haven’t kicked in. Yet. So, I decided my normal routine, writing and drinking coffee, at this wee hour of 2AM, might be the path to cleaning out my pipes in the most convenient location.
So here I am in our hotel suite, with my husband sawing logs in the other room… writing on my iPad, and drinking weak coffee from the in-room coffee pot.
OMG… THE IN-ROOM COFFEE POT!
I am a former manager, of a very high-end resort hotel. And as a result of my hotel experience, I have a few hotel-isms:
Never walk across a hotel floor barefoot.
Never touch the comforter or bed spread.
Always wipe off the TV remotes (with the bleach wipes I bring with me)
And never, ever use the in-room hotel coffee pot, under any circumstances.
Because the in-room coffee pot was probably cleaned with the dirty toilet bowl brush, by the non-English speaking housekeeper, because she thought the toilet bowl brush was a coffee pot cleaner.
Although I could choose not to use the in-room coffee pot, and then I will surely be stricken by the nine-thousand laxative induced untimely-runner-defecation, somewhere in the middle of the 13.1 miles.
Because room service is closed between midnight and 5AM. And we have to leave at 5AM.
And I need coffee.
Portable potty vs. in-room coffee pot.
Ahh. My coffee tastes like bleach.
Tomorrow is Earth Day, and my youngest son Nic’s seventeenth birthday.
A week or so ago, Nic was sitting at the kitchen table making a list, and so I asked him what he needed from the store…
This isn’t a grocery list Mom.
“What kind of list is it?”
It’s my Birthday List.
“Uh, you’re making a list of things you want for your birthday?” Nic nods his head yes. “Uhmm, well, it’s YOUR birthday Nic, not Christ’s birthday, you only get ONE thing. So uh, you may want to narrow it down there, Kiddo.”
Well Mom, maybe you should think about this: I’m your youngest child, and after this year, I won’t be a kid anymore. I’ll be an adult. You won’t have any more kids. This is the LAST kid birthday forever, for you, Mom.
Awww, even as smart as Nic is, he really thinks he will wake up on his 18th birthday, and magically be an adult, with full-on-adult-powers. How cute.
But technically, in 364 days, I’ll be home-free. In 411 days Nic will graduate high school. In 502 days Nic will start college.
“Okay Nic, you can get two things; one for your birthday, and one for Earth Day.”