Subourbon Mom


Crossing the Shaky Bridge to Middle Age

Women of a certain age joke about menopause all the time.

“If I had a dollar for every time I get distracted, I wish I had some ice cream.”

“I don’t have hot flashes, I have short, tropical vacations.”

“Menopause – it’s a thin line between love and homicide.”

This happens…that stops happening … and thank God THAT doesn’t happen anymore (you can Google the symptoms – it’s not secret knowledge, despite what our mothers’ generation thought).  I always thought that knowing those things made me have a pretty good handle on it, mentally.  My kids are grown and I’m definitely ready to kiss the whole period/PMS thing goodbye.

So, when mine stopped happening, I diligently started counting down the months until the magical 12-month mark with no period – then it would become official.  I’d be in a new stage of life that didn’t involve trips to the store because I ran out of tampons and packing extra underwear to take to work and on vacations (just in case).  I was looking forward to emotional stability, sleeping through the night and becoming the wise old matriarch I am destined to be.  I was even getting used to this new, fatty swim ring permanently hanging over the top of my pants, no matter how many sit-ups I did.

And then, at 11 months and 3 weeks – I got it again.

Are you freaking kidding me?

I was at the finish line, looking official Middle Age in the face and she laughed, said “Bitch, please,” and drew another 365-day line in the sand.

A couple of nights later (and one emergency trip to CVS for supplies), I dreamed I was pregnant (I’m not).  And in that dream, I was very upset.  I cried and wept, feeling angry and betrayed and trapped. I remember wailing “I don’t want to be 70 when my kid graduates college!”

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It took me a few days to process what was  happening with that dream. I finally realized that even though my body decided to have a last laugh or last gasp, whichever way you want to look at it, in my mind I had already moved on.  I’ve raised my two wonderful daughters and experienced  the joys and agony of watching them go through the ages and stages. I am ready to start a new phase of life.

That’s something the OBGYN, memes, Facebook and even your friends probably don’t talk about – the mental and emotional adjustment of menopause. I’m sure most women feel it is liberating, devastating, or some combination of the two, but we just don’t talk about that part of it.

Memes are way funnier, let’s be honest.

But eventually you either embrace or resent this new phase of life, this new you. You come to terms with it, or if you don’t, society will most likely not be very kind to you. There will be a lot of pursed lips and head shaking when you show up in your Daisy Dukes, 4-inch wedges and bikini top at age 60, no matter how in shape you think you are.

On the surface I was annoyed, but deep down getting my period again shook the fragile estrogen bridge (made of HRT pills and a secret stash of Midol) I was clinging to, as I tried to cross the chasm between youth and middle-age.

Bridge1When I look behind, I see a thinner version of me chasing my children, arranging play dates, juggling work and parenting and a busy social life, and generally burning the candle at both ends without a thought. I see Hubby working hard and picking up the slack, leaping into the chaos when he got the opportunity, and juggling the same crazy things.  It’s a busy, almost frantic life back there, and I get tired just watching them. When I look forward, I can see the other side, at least what we’re told is there: great, worry-free sex, wisdom, acceptance of certain physical flaws and changes that actually celebrate the life of a woman.  I see Hubby and I standing together watching our girls make their own way in the world, their own families, their own memories.  I see us figuring out this new existence together and connecting in a new way.  I see us being the team we were in the beginning.

And I realize that I’m looking forward to getting over this bridge, despite the bottles of Aleve, the moments of missing what used to be, and the memory losses that are already starting to peek around the corner at me.

So, another 365-day countdown begins. Now, if only I could remember where I put my calendar….

 

 



Venmo – A College Freshman’s (Unintended) First-Year Diary
March 26, 2020, 9:00 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

As a parent, you know when your kid goes off to college to live in the petri dish they call a dorm, there will be times when they have to “adult,” like making doctor’s appointments or figuring out how to get to Target because because, God forbid, they can’t have a car on campus Freshman year.  What we didn’t realize was that all of these things would be documented in Venmo, the payment app.

You can parent your college kids however you want to, but one of our decisions was to let both of our kids charge Uber and Safety rides to our cards, so that they never felt like they had to get in a car with someone who’d been drinking so they could get home.

They used it.  A LOT.

(And we were glad.)

We also allowed them to ASK for help when they needed it, like for doctor’s appointments and things that normally wouldn’t be in their budgets. But what we didn’t count on, but were happy to pay for (mostly), were the MANY charges from multiple trips to urgent care, Target and CVS for medicines….and many other “necessary” items.

Since her year got cut short, I thought i would share this little financial diary.  For so many reasons I’m sad that her and her sister’s years were cut short…and one reason is because I will miss these entertaining requests:

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And then there are the requests for daily living, because adulting is expensive:

 

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Welcome to adulthood, young lady.

And welcome home.  🙂

 

 



PSA – You Don’t Want Princess Leia Ears
October 22, 2019, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , , ,

Like many middle-aged women I know,  I recently had to get yet another piece of my face removed because I used to lay out on the roof with tanning oil, sauteing myself for future meals made of  wrinkles and regrets.

This time, however, it was a basal-cell something or other, and not just a precursor to skin cancer.  And, since I’m vain and didn’t want my dermatologist to cut a Franstein-looking chunk out of my face in an effort that may or may not get it all, I opted for undergoing the MOH procedure. In the MOH procedure, the dermatologist/plastic surgeon numbs you up, cuts one layer at a time, bandages you, tests it to see if they got it all (this takes about 2 hours per slice), and repeats the process until they know it’s all gone.  This can potentially take all day.  It has something like a 99% removal success rate, and these surgeons also tend to leave less scarring.

The process for me was a one-shot deal – we didn’t have to repeat the excision, and it was pain-free. However, there were a couple of things I didn’t anticipate:

First, HOLY SHIT WAS IT EXPENSIVE!! Even with insurance…so investigate before you get your vanity on.

Second, I was the youngest person there by 30 years.  The only people my age were the ones helping out their parents for the day.  I felt like a toddler.

Third, it looked like a Leper colony had taken up residence in the waiting room. These folks didn’t just have a cute little bandage on the sides of their faces like I did.  The men had great, whopping bandages covering their ears, like old, weather-beaten Princess Leah drag queens.

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And/or they had giant bandages over their noses and on top of their heads. It was like sitting in the aftermath of the best geriatric bar brawl ever. (I’d post pictures but HIPPA frowns on that, so I didn’t take any.  You can Google it, but it’s pretty gross.)

And finally, I had no idea what getting your face stitched up feels like.  For the record, it’s weird, and I felt like I looked like Heath Ledger’s Joker afterward (it actually looked pretty good).  Since mine was by my ear on my jawline, the internal stitches were deep and right by the jaw hinge.  As the doctor was tying the internal stitches, it didn’t hurt, but I could feel her tugging hard – MY WHOLE FACE MOVED.

I finally had to say something: “You know that’s my face you’re pulling on, right?”  She replied, “Yep. It’s the face lift you never wanted.” To which I said, “Well, just make sure it’s even.” Afterward, I has to ask:  “So is that my future sitting out there? I’m not a big Princess Leah fan.”

“Oh honey, no,” she said. “Those are the guys who’ve had a bump on their nose or scabs on their ears for years, and finally decided it’s not a cut or a bug bite.  or their wives finally made them come in. You come in every year, so you’ll be fine.”

You can imagine my relief…so consider this your Public Service Announcement: Go to your dermatologist, even if you think you don’t need to.  Chances are you won’t need to have this procedure done, but let’s face it – not everyone can look as beautiful as Ingrid Bergman with a face bandage.

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I am NOT a Survivor – Sorry, Jeff

I don’t know what it is about Americans in particular, but we seem to like watching TV shows that make sporting events out of activities other people do in their daily life.  Off the top of my head, Survivor and American Ninja Warrior come to mind. American Ninja Warrior takes the obstacle courses military organizations used to use for training and makes it into a giant, high-tech jungle gym for middle-class gym rats.  Americans play Survivor on islands where people actually scratch out a living every day – not just for 40 days and then are flown back to their AC and Netflix.survivor

And I love both of those shows.

We still watch Survivor. I hate the people, and it makes me mad, but it’s a train wreck each season, and there’s been 38 seasons.  It seems I’m compelled to watch adults relive 8th grade by lying, backstabbing, deciding as a group who’s undesirable, and seeking revenge later on as an outsider.

I like Survivor because it has contestants that can do all the things I can’t in prolonged, difficult social situations. Here are 9 reasons why I would never win survivor:  

  1. Starting Fires: If I don’t have Fatwood from Plow and Hearth or a stack of old newspapers, I’m pretty useless.  (Voted Off – Day 2)
  2. Food-shut downs, or “The Hangry’s:” Based on people’s reactions to my food shut-downs, I’m pretty sure I would be voted off in the first three days. Apparently, I become unreasonable and just a bit bitchy. They would probably require my one item I could bring to be a Snickers. There is no way I would voluntarily eat sugar-free food (i.e. rice) for 40 days straight without being one of those contestants that gets all listless and weepy (Voted Off – Day 3).funfetti
  3. Hot flashes in the Jungle: I always feel superior as I watch these skeletal twenty-somethings running around wearing teeny-weeny bikinis in the heat and humidity of whatever island they’re dropped on. I dare them to try that with a muffin top while having hot flashes. (Voted Off – Day 4)
  4. Compete without injury: I’ve got bad shoulders, bad hips and I throw like a chimp. Not exactly your desired anchor man in most competitions. That said, you need some swimming done?  I’m your girl. (Voted Off – Day 6)
  5. Solve puzzles: Can’t. Never could. See this? slide puzzle I’ve never been able to do it.  Or this? Rubiks cubeI took those apart or smashed them, depending on my mood. I could proibably hide that deficit for a few days, but not the whole time. (Voted Off – Week 2)
  6. Sunburn: I have an appointment this month to get more pieces of my face taken off (again). I’m pretty sure living on an island for month without sunscreen would hammer that last nail in my peaches-and-cream coffin. (Voted Off – Week 2)
  7. Think logically when tired: Let me put it this way – people at work know not toracerback give me anything after 3:00pm because my brain is tired. I’m pretty sure logical, chess-like thinking is not going to be my strong-suit after being sleep and sugar deprived.  Also, I still can’t figure out how to put on one of those bra things that makes your straps into a racerback. (Voted Off – Week 3)
  8. Maintaining the Lies: One time in the airport I was looking disapprovingly at a girl with a tramp stamp and a thong hanging way above her pants as she tied her shoe; two men were staring at me and laughing at my expression, not even paying attention to the thong. Apparently, my face does not hide my feelings as well as I thought. (Voted Off – Pick Any Day I Look At People)
  9. Razors:  Seriously, people and after 40 days, people would run away from the Sasquatch that I have become.  And the guys who wax their chests on the show?  One of my favorite things ever is to watch it slowly grow back in on each episode. (Voted Off – Day 39)island hair

So sorry, Jeff Probst.  I’m only fodder for the first episode, where they winnow out the sick and old, like lions culling the weak water buffalo from the herd.  But American Ninja Warrior – that’s another story.  I’m going to get Hubby to build a Warp Wall so we can start practicing.



Outsourcing Your Body – Vendor Assessments
July 19, 2019, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Sports | Tags: , , , ,

Most of them time, my brain and my body work together pretty seamlessly – but sometimes I wonder if that same body hasn’t become the worst third-party vendor ever. Especially in my 40’s.

I recently started horseback riding again – and by that, I mean flopping around on top of my daughter’s wonderful horse as I try to make muscle memory turn into actual muscle doing.

After hours and hours of watching her ride in lessons and horse shows, I have a pretty good mental idea of the mechanics of how it is done. And, I remember how to physically do some of it from when I used to ride as a kid – but now I have to outsource the job to my much older and out of shape body.  As a third-party vendor, my current body’s still the cheapest (and only) option, but the relationship has begun to take a turn for the worse.

So, I Googled how to improve vendor performance:

First, Measure Performance – I do this every day, and sometimes I surprise myself with how well I (and my outsourced body) are doing; other days, I’m horrified. Take sleeping, for example. I used to be able to read for an hour and sleep through the night.  Now I’m lucky if I can stay awake for two paragraphs and snore half the night. On the other hand, I can do sit-ups, push-ups and burpees, and like getting up at the crack of dawn because.

Measuring performance leads to:  Listen to Your Vendor“How often do you really have a two-way conversation with your vendors about their issues and the support they need to do a better job for you?  Ok, so I just expect my body, er, vendor, to do what it was hired to do…but when my expectations are too high, or my body hasn’t had time to prepare (i.e. horseback riding), it does still try to find ways to meet my needs. The result – I rode for 20 minutes without falling off, but I couldn’t walk the next day.  Perhaps my outsourced body would tell me that it needs more time in the gym, less bourbon and maybe a vitamin on occasion.

Establish a Service Level Agreement – There was never an agreement, although it appears that as I age, my body is beginning to make the rules around what is happening, instead of me.

Vendor: You’re going riding again? Fine, I’ll do it, but you don’t get to walk anywhere for two days.

Me: I think we need to revisit our agreement. I’m supposed to be in charge.

Vendor:  I just made you pee a little.

Me:  That’s not funny.

Vendor: That’s just the beginning. Go ahead – eat that crabmeat again – I dare you.

Establish Routines and Be Predictable“It is much easier for vendors to better supply you when your ordering is predictable and consistent. Um, yeah, because life works like that. If I could be predictable, I would, but the best things in life usually aren’t in your routine…and if there’s a vendor cost for that, so be it. The 20-minute ride was worth it.

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