Subourbon Mom


Coffee Cooters
September 8, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Food/Drink, Middle Age, Misc. Humor, shopping | Tags: , , , , , ,

Aaahhh…the end of summer is here. Not that you can tell by the weather, in Virginia, but along with shopping for #2 pencils in the fall comes pumpkin spice everything and what I like to call the Coffee Cooters.

If you dare to venture out and hop into the drive-through line at Starbucks on a weekday morning, you will start seeing this seasonal creature, the Coffee Cooter. The first week of school is the optimal time for viewing them in their natural habitat.

Coffee Cooters usually travel in packs of three or four, but occasionally will be seen with only one other (see the Gotta Go Girl below). They arrive in some version of an SUV, parking at a slight angle due to the high rate of speed at which they slide into the space.  These beasts of prey will spend at least 5 minutes texting inside the car before exiting to begin foraging.

As a pack, there are two hierarchy layers:

  1. The Hunters.  The Hunters are dressed somewhere between going to a club and what their school has decided is acceptable. Often, this means dresses and skirts that barely cover their cooters, hence the name. As they walk, every few steps they must tug on said dress/skirt to ensure it is in fact covering what it is designed to (often it isn’t). Their drink selections vary between the excessively sweet but substituted with non-dairy, soy everything, and what they have decided is a sophisticated order – the Vente Americano. Occasionally they may order the Spotted Unicorn or Oak Tree Tea Leaf with Habenero Spice Extract special that they saw on TikTok. Their prey, in this case the baristas, flinch and jockey for position away from the counter upon their arrival.   
  2. The Gotta Go Girl. The Gotta Go Girls generally dress more conservatively, indicating the seriousness with which they take their responsibility. Just like in a club, the Gotta Go Girl is the pack member who remains vigilant of the time and on the lookout for inappropriate actions taken by the rest of the pack or by their prey. In the morning coffee run, the Gotta Go Girl frequently checks her watch and can sometimes be seen actively pushing the others into the car upon exiting the building. The Gotta Go Girl orders a simple latte because she doesn’t actually like how bitter coffee really is and won’t undermine her authority by showing weakness to the rest of the pack.

If you spot these creatures, do not approach them, or you will be disemboweled by their looks of pity or irritation. As they leave the hunting grounds, give them a wide birth – they are known for their speed and lack of attention to the surrounding area. And finally, trust that these creatures will soon fade into the autumn woodwork again as the money they made over the summer disappears and the weather limitstheir display of plumage.



PPD – Prednisone Personality Disorder
August 11, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

One of the awesome side effects of aging for me is that my immune system has decided that it can no longer gauge the severity of the threats, especially when it comes to bees and bugs. I now have an epi-pen in case I get stung on my face or I finally push it too far by taking Benedryl so I can eat my sister-in-law’s insanely good crab dip.

So, about 10 days ago I got a welt or hive on my face, right at the corner of my eyebrow.  My body, with it’s amped-up immune system, decided that whatever happened must be the equivalent of a cobra bite and reacted accordingly. I dutifully went to my GP who gave me the usual steroids to ward off the swelling, and off I went, confident I would get better, but also that I would be a horrendous bitch for the next few days.

Five days into the steroids, Hubby was hiding at Lowes. Basically, Prednisone and I decided that everything that had been bugging me for the last 6 months needed to be addressed that day – aggressively and loudly. Prednisone accused him of never finishing any projects (not true – he does amazing stuff around the house), and demanded to know why we still have all our closet stuff on the floor of the bedroom for this latest project and how can anybody live like that?  While Prednisone was having that “conversation” I hid in the background trying to figure out why I was also starting to cry for no reason.

Hubby suggested that I go do some errands.  

At the end of the steroid pack, I went back to the doctor. Now I had a cut on the hive-thing, and it looked angry. Plus, the swelling had started settling into the corner of my eye every morning, so I looked like I’d been in a bar fight…every morning. Not cool when you have to meet with your latest new-hire or talk with, well, anyone.

At the doctor’s office the nurse took my blood pressure, stepped back and snapped, “Why is your blood pressure so high?”

“Because I’m here?” Prednisone said, testily.

“It wasn’t that high last time you were here,” she said.  “Give me your other arm.”

“It’s probably the steroids,” I said, shushing Prednisone.

The nurse finished the other arm. “It’s still high,” she accused, like I was purposefully holding my breath or something.

“It’s still the same body,” Prednisone replied. 

 The doctor sighed when she saw me and my little face cut sitting on the chair. I’m sure this was not what she dreamed about in med school. She listened to me explain that yes, I’m vain, and no, I don’t know how the cut got there or what happened in the first place. Then she dutifully looked at it with the flashlight thingy and told me in a very nice way that I’m being a hypochondriac, that there are people out there with real issues, and could I please stop being a Karen.

(What she actually said was to put some Neosporin on, keep an eye on it and give the swelling a chance to go away.)

It’s now Day 10 or so, and I still look like I’ve been in a bar fight.  The swelling is slowly fading, as is my imaginary side-kick Prednisone. I kind of miss her, even though I don’t like some of her qualities, like making me hungry all the time, her quick temper, and her verbal diarrhea.  But damn, she can be assertive and get some shit done!



Big Thoughts
August 5, 2021, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

I don’t know if y’all can relate, but I miss having big thoughts. Actually, I just miss having any thoughts, really.

I used to spend my free time reading and writing or doing something else creative. These days, it is all I can do to stay awake long enough to read two pages of a book and my blog posts have been as rare as an honest politician. Podcasts and comedy streams have replaced thinking and daydreaming as I cook, clean or drive, and when I watch tv, I’m often playing games on my phone at the same time.

How did this happen?

I blame a lot of it on my phone. The games are addicting. Have you ever played Candy Crush? I mean, c’mon…it’s designed in every way to make you an addict, just like casino slot machines. We never had a chance. The rapid-fire bits of brain candy I can access at any time are also addicting – social media is the worst for that, never mind the Google rabbit hole. I seriously did not need to know where TSA puts all our stuff when they confiscate it, or that babies don’t have kneecaps – thanks Google. That’s an hour of my life I won’t get back.

  

But seriously, the phone is just the tool I use to distract myself.

So why am I so uncomfortable with my own thoughts?

Oh, that’s right – they’re scary and stressful.

Not scary in a “I’m gonna skin a cat and wear it like a hat” way – that requires some strong psych meds and probably a Silence of the Lambs face muzzle.  

My thoughts are scary in the way that all the stressors of everyday life converge into one enormous, swirling black hole that steals every ounce of creative energy. That anxiety black hole also sucks repressed thoughts out of the box in the corner of your brain labeled “Don’t Open This Box….Ever.”  Usually, that box only gets opened when I’m starting a hangover at 2:00am. You know, when all the things you’ve ever said or done get blown out of proportion and you’re pretty sure you’ve offended everybody you’ve ever met.   

Playing Candy Crush keeps that box closed.  (Yes, young’uns, I know Candy Crush is something only middle-aged or older moms still play. Quit judging my escape techniques while you watch make-up and how to make water melon drink tutorials.)

Disclaimer: I’m definitely not any kind of psychologist, and if anyone is really sinking into that black hole of anxiety or depression, please get help.

Speaking for myself, I truly believe hiding from my thoughts is a cycle of bad mental habits combined with a crazy two years and probably some haywire hormones. Breaking some of these mental bad habits is an important first step to feeling better. I’m also learning to break down all those black hole worries into manageable pieces.

Learning to stop and pay attention to one sense at a time helps.  Doing that while being dragged around on my morning walks by two energetic dogs makes that difficult, but mostly I can do it a couple of times throughout the day when I’m feeling stressed. My watch even reminds me to breathe, but only when I’m in the middle of editing a heated email with the restraint Donald Trump’s staffers wished they could use. I do try to breathe afterwards, though.

And finally, thinking about things I’m grateful for before going to sleep puts me in a better frame of mind before my brain goes rummaging around in The Box. It’s harder to dwell on all the bad things when your brain has already decided your life is actually pretty good.   

Am I going to give up my games?  People, I said small steps. Let’s be real. These mental habits took years to cultivate. And frankly, I’m on level 1925, sooooo….I’ll start with taking the games I only play sometimes off my phone. I’m definitely going to try and break the habit of looking at my phone while “watching” TV. If the show can’t hold my interest, maybe it’s time for a book.

I think the same can be said for pretty much any situation – if it makes me want to retreat into my phone, I need to change the situation.

We all have things that we do to manage our worries and keep the stress at bay.  Feel free to share your suggestions and methods in the comments section so others can benefit.

And don’t worry, I’ll get back to bitching and pointing out stupid people/stuff soon…there are only so many habits you can change at one time.



No More Exercise Appointments
July 23, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age | Tags: , , , , , , ,

In our efforts to become more and more efficient with our time, exercise has become something we do to be healthy, look good and relieve stress. And the faster we can do that, the better.

So, hat’s off to all you exercise psychos who get up at 5:00am, be at the gym by six and showered and at your desk by eight.  You’ve knocked it out for the day and you’ll sleep better knowing your blood pressure is lower, your muscles are tired, and that eating the donut Kevin brought into work isn’t going to wreck your dietary world.

I used to be one of you. 

But, since the pandemic forced me to work from home, I’ve learned some unpleasant truths about myself: 

  • I won’t exercise at home unless it’s walking the dogs, and even then it’s really only because my apple watch talks to my health insurance and I get $1 for it.   
  • Watching exercise videos on YouTube is like watching TV – I’ll just turn it off when I don’t like what they’re doing. It’s a lot harder to do that when you have a trainer blocking the gym door against runners like me.
  • I need physical and mental separation from my work, which doesn’t happen for me, working from home. Compartmentalizing is not my thing. 

As soon as I could, I started going to a Pilates studio. I was too out of shape to go back to Orange Theory (no way was I going to go back to being a “Walker” – if you know, you know…).  I had injuries to heal, and I knew Pilates is good for strengthening your core. Since my “core” had expanded to include a lot of peripheral areas, that sounded perfect.

And it was, for a while. But just like with all the other exercises I’d tried, I got bored. It became an appointment I had to keep instead of being something I looked forward to.  Worse, I still couldn’t disconnect from work. I’d be doing stretches and making a “C—Curve” until my body shook, but I would still be thinking of all the things I had to do.

Finally, after a lot of bitching and a heart-to-heart with Daughter #1, who is now a personal trainer herself, I understood that I need to find an exercise that is something physical that I enjoy doing away from the house/work, but that also takes my complete attention.

Enter Daughter #2, who asked for the millionth time why I didn’t just start horseback riding again.

From the mouths of both my babes.

With horses, you must be present. They can read your emotions form the moment you enter the barn, and trust me, if you’re in a shitty mood, they’re going to be too.  And who can blame them?  Would you want someone sitting grumpily on your back, hands clenched, attached to the reins and the bit in your mouth?  When I’ve tried to ride Daughter #2’s horse like it’s a mission to accomplish, he simply refuses to walk out of the barn, and I don’t blame him.


From grooming to riding to walking them to their field, horses demand your complete attention. There’s no sneaking out when you’re done, like I used to do at Orange Theory, when the rowing part of the class was just the last straw. If you’re not paying attention with a horse, you’re either on the ground, chasing an escapee or simply stepping in a big pile of shit.

humor patience

So this fall, after Daughter #2 heads back to college, I’m going to start riding again in earnest. God help the poor horse that has put up with me flailing around until I’m strong enough to stay balanced (and on).

Now, I know riding isn’t for everybody – that’s not the point. The point is to make exercise something you want to do, not an appointment you have to keep. Go find your thing – hiking, canoeing, pickle ball, swimming, rock wall climbing, yard work, whatever it is that floats your exercise boat.  Just make sure it’s something where you have to be completely present – the rest will follow.  

   



Weed: We’ll Ruin This For You, Too
July 13, 2021, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Recently my state made it (sort of) legal to smoke weed.  It’s not my drug of choice for a lot of reasons, but I have enjoyed watching Bougie, middle-aged people decide that it’s now ok to try it, or at least openly talk about trying it.

But I suspect that, like all things that have been cool, this too shall pass. We’ll ruin it for our kids like we do everything else:  Face Book, Tik Tok, using the word “woke….” 

Here’s how it will play out:

 

  1. We talk it to death amongst ourselves, like we’ve discovered some huge secret.
  2.  We start trying to talk to our kids about it, who take pity on us, thinking we’re cute for trying to be hip, and let us know how much we don’t know.  They give us lots of tips, glad they don’t have to hide what they’re doing anymore.sativa

  3. We wait for hours in line outside strip mall weed stores to get the 4 free seeds they’re giving away as a promo, with visions in our heads of growing our own and becoming 21st century weed homesteaders. 
  4. We grow it, dry it, roll it, bake it and whatever else you can possibly do with it. We post our epic fails, techniques and recipes on Tik Tok with the same enthusiasm as we post about Karens and dueting with other people much cooler than we are. 
  5. Older Weedies marvel at the fact that middle-aged, middle class parents are now paying top dollar for the seeds they used to pick out of the crappy weed they could afford back in the day.
  6. Older Weedies have mixed feelings about the new weed on the market. They are wary of the new, more powerful and branded weed, but happy it’s regulated so their grandkids don’t experience the same flashbacks from laced weed they “got that one time from Jimmy.” 

    kurt
  7. Boutique brands have their own lines of weed-related products – Lily Pulitzer wrappers and bags, Toberlone weed-infused dark chocolate, Trader Joe’s weed/pesto ravioli bites. 
  8. Younger Weedies turn away from weed entirely, shitting all over it and the benefits they shouted at us until we made make it legal. Weed has now become uncool. They identify something about the new weed that is the equivalent of side parts and skinny jeans.

    stopped weed
  9. The states once again make money based on the middle class’s desire to be young and cool.

So enjoy it while it lasts, my Bougie friends and Young Weedies. There aren’t many times when our worlds intersect before we part ways again over what is cool and what isn’t.  




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