Subourbon Mom


Waiting Room Wonderland
August 18, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: , , ,

I thought you should know that I have a new favorite place to people-watch: the walk-in clinic waiting room.

This is so much better than the airport. People aren’t happy or sad – they’re mostly embarrassed, which is WAY more fun to watch.

When I went in the other day to get my special assistant Prednisone, the waiting room was pretty full, mostly with older people.  While I was waiting to go back into the examination room, I got to listen to everyone who came in have to explain why they were there. I don’t know what HIPPA laws cover, but we could all hear everything.

One poor guy about my age shows up and when the intake nurse asks why he’s there, tries to whisper, “I have blood in my stool.” Apparently, she didn’t hear him because a few seconds later he whispered loudly, “I have blood in my stool!” I had to hide a smile. In my house we openly talk about pee and poop and periods and all kinds of bodily functions, because…we’re gross. This poor man was clearly not used to that at all.  All I wanted to say was “Dude, we all heard it…we all heard it. Just relax.”

An elderly woman came in with her husband and sat in the row of chairs behind me.  I couldn’t see her, but I could hear the anxiety in her voice as she asked her husband or companion a lot of questions. Right before I was called back, I heard her say, “What do you think is happening back there?  I see all these people coming in and no one coming out!” Her companion gently reminded her that there is a pandemic going on and that they are trying to limit contact with patients.

I asked myself, why bother? Based on our proximity in the waiting room, I already knew somebody probably has an ulcer and that the lady three seats over has a UTI.  

The next guy called up was an 80-year-old man, his hand wrapped in a bloody towel.  I turned all the way around, openly gawking.  This was going to be good.

“Why are you here, sir?” the nurse asked.

“Well, see, I was in my garage using the power drill and I slipped.  It went right through my finger. I just need somebody to look and see if there’s any metal in there.”

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

“Yeah, it hurts. It hurts a lot.”

“Sir, do you have a hole in your finger?”

“Yeah, but it’ll be all right. My wife said I had to come in and get somebody to check it.”

This, my friends, is what makes the Silent Generation almost as great as the Greatest Generation. I’m not being sarcastic – the man was working with power tools at 80, drilled a hole into his finger and was only at the doctor’s office, not the emergency room, because his wife made him go.

For a moment, I almost got up and left with my little face cut and my vanity, but vanity won. I stayed and, with great humility, shared space with the Clint Eastwood of my town.

Don’t underestimate the power of people watching. I never thought I’d walk out of the doctor’s office that day feeling humble and grateful for my health. Airports are good, too, because people are often at their extremes. You can’t help but feel better about yourself as you smugly sip your nasty Seattle’s Best Coffee and nibble on that $12 bag of Cheeze-Its. People can be fun – sometimes you just have to stop interacting and watch.



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.



The Sad Teletubby
August 1, 2021, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Exercise, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

I am a person who is weird about being on time. I get stressed out when I’m not, and other “Laties” stress me out too. So when I was late to my Pilates class, it did not go well. 

A few weeks ago, I knew I was going to be cutting it close to get to the studio on time. I would need to bring regular leggings, a sports bra and a tank top to class, and change when I got there.

I remembered it all, but instead of regular leggings I grabbed my biker short-length leggings, which are pretty much just Spanx without any of the benefits. I bought them because I was anticipating the studio being too hot in July.  I also mistakenly packed a tight, black tank top, not my usual flowy top that hides….a lot.

So there I was, skidding into the gym like I was ten on my dirt bike after landing a perfect jump. I changed my clothes in the mirrorless bathroom and joined the class. However, when I got to my station and looked into the mirror…OH…MY…GOD. 

Black is supposed to be slimming.

Staring back at me was a Teletubby in mourning.

The biker shorts squished all the doughy bits up to my waist and out the bottom to my knees. My body looked like someone had grabbed a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage, cut the ends off and squeezed from the middle.

So, I decided I would ignore it and that was fine, until about half-way through class when I saw it…the camel toe.  Friends, there’s no discreet way to fix that in a room full of people and mirrors. I hopped into the bathroom again and tried to fix it, but I knew it was a lost cause. I have a long torso and the shorts were (apparently) not long enough. It re-appeared and stayed for the rest of class.

What’s the big deal, you ask?  Isn’t it a class full of women?  C’mon, people.  You know we’re all super judgy, even though we say we aren’t. And if it’s just me that’s judgy like that, well, rest assured that Karma’s a real thing and she’s a bitch.

But it didn’t end there.  Being thrifty, I tend to get my workout clothes at discount or “cost-efficient” stores.  I think these shorts came from Old Navy. Anyway, as I was huffing and puffing during the workout, I started to smell something.

How was the scent of chicken nuggets wafting into the Pilates studio? There isn’t a Chick-Fil-A anywhere nearby. 

No…it can’t be…

It was my f#$%ing biker shorts! How could they do that?  I knew it wasn’t me because after class I ran back into the bathroom and did a smell check – it was definitely the shorts. And yes, I washed them before I put them on.

So to recap, because I was late, I looked like a sad, squished sausage and smelled like fast food.

Basically, I was a giant dog treat. 

So that’s why I try to be on 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.  

   




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