Subourbon Mom


Poop in a Box – It’s More Than You Think
January 15, 2023, 8:19 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I don’t stick to them. Now that I’m in my 50’s, there are a couple of things that probably should go on the resolutions list:

  • Stop cussing so much, even though social media says you’re smarter if you do
  • Try Dry January
  • Learn how to do the backhanded Southern compliment thing (“You are so brave to stop drinking – people won’t recognize you!”)
  • Say no to the good so you can say yes to the great!
  • Do the Colonoscopy Thing*

When I had my latest physical in December, my doctor and I agreed that I’m a good candidate for ColoGuard…you know, the commercial you see on the TV where they deliver the box to your door, you poop in it and send it back. I’m a 70-percenter, meaning there are a lot of things that are “good enough” for me. I’ve accepted it, my family and friends have accepted it. So, being a 70-percenter, doing the ColoGuard screening makes sense – why go 100% with a free, covered-by-insurance colonoscopy when you can take the also-free shortcut, and then possibly pay for the full colonoscopy if the results come back positive?

Anyway, I was excited to not be put under and go through the prep of a colonoscopy.  Pooping in a box sounded way easier.

(WARNING! This is somewhat descriptive, so don’t read on if you’re not into talking about stuff like this.)

Turns out, there’s a little more to it than that.

You don’t just poop in a box, seal it up and mail it. There’s a wand you have to swoosh around in your poop and stick in a tube like a Covid test, and preservative to pour into the poop container. It’s a pretty gross process and takes a little locked-door private time in the bathroom if you ever want to have sex again, or if you have children who barge into the bathroom with you and you don’t want to scar them for life. 

The instructions are lengthy and explicit…as in an entire booklet. Then there’s a separate booklet for how to pack it up and mail it. There are even diagrams showing people sitting on the toilet doing their thing, and step-by-step instructions on how to untwist the top of the poop container, in case you’ve never opened anything in your life.

Instructions aside, there are also several warnings throughout the booklet telling you not to drink the preservative. Several warnings…as if this has been a large problem in the past and now, they have to spell it out for folks. As in…Don’t drink the bottle of stuff that was made to keep your poop fresh. Who is doing that? You are literally in a bathroom next to a sink with water, but no…some people are reaching for the sketchy bottle from the poop company and drinking that instead.

They also tell you not to fill the poop catcher up any higher than the preservative will cover.

I actually paused when I read that and thought, Let me get this straight. You’re supposed to poop into a container that is under you, where you can’t see it, and try to judge how much is too much? I’m willing to bet there’s a lot of containers shipping with a little bit of extra baggage. I’ve got a pretty strong stomach, but unless they give me a spoon and a gas mask, I’m not measuring it out like I’m baking poop cookies.

Then there are the warnings not to get any urine in with the poop.

So they’re telling 50-year-old women not to accidentally pee on something? While sitting on the toilet? Have they met any 50-year-old women? We can’t do anything without accidentally peeing.  So, yeah…good luck ladies.

Long story short, I got it all accomplished and took my very identifiable box to the local UPS store, who I use for all my shipping needs. They know me. To their credit they didn’t even flinch as they gave me the tracking receipt (which I promptly lost). Oh, and word to the wise: keep your tracking receipt. Those boxes do occasionally go astray, as I learned from a friend. Apparently, her box never reached its destination and is still traveling. Now she has to do it all again.

I never received confirmation that my sample was received, and since I lost the tracking receipt I had no way of knowing if there was a box of my leftovers floating around some warehouse or lying on the side of the road. Thankfully, a couple of days ago I received a text with my results: all negative.   

In the end, it was a weird, kind of gross experience, but thank goodness for the advances of science that make this process possible, and for the discoveries that lead to early detection.

So here’s my PSA – do whatever test is right for you, check your insurance policies, and for God’s, sake don’t drink the preservative!

*It is extremely important that you get tested. While I chose ColoGuard, it is not for everyone. Ask your doctor what test is best for you and get it done!



How About Romance Novels for Grown-Ups?
July 30, 2022, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Posts | Tags: , , , , ,

The other day I was super grumpy and stressed for absolutely no reason. So, I did one of the two things I always do when I’m like that.  Since I didn’t have what I needed to make and eat an entire tray of Rice Krispy treats, I went to the bookstore (yes, I actually bought NEW books at a Barnes and Noble, not used on Amazon) with the sole intention of purchasing a genre I haven’t read in a long time – Romance.

When I say Romance, I don’t mean the plasticky covers with raised lettering and a Scottish pirate or a huge-breasted heroine with Victoria Secret hair stranded in a castle somewhere.  I just wanted something happy and a bit less sugary than Hallmark or Virgin River. Maybe Maeve Binchy with a little sex? Or Outlander, which has just the right amount of sex and plot (but I’ve read and watched all of those).

What did I find?   

About 100 Romance novels for current day 18-40-year-olds, with cartoon looking covers and full of young people who don’t know how to communicate with each other. They’re all going on trips or to weddings or changing tech jobs, which is age appropriate. I’m just not there anymore – at least, not for first weddings.  

I found another large batch of Romances between quirky women who are attracted to supernatural creatures that may or may not kill them in between sexual encounters. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the Twilight Series, True Blood and A Discovery of Witches. I just wasn’t feeling it that day. I wanted to take the edge off, not be edgy.

I also found some Romances with a “Red Room of Pain” theme that can be interesting when you’re in the mood, but again, not feeling edgy that day.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I saw a bunch of Christian Romances. I suppose they exist in case I was feeling guilty after reading something from the Red Room of Pain section, and needed my inner church to whisper, “Make room for Jesus!” as I was reading. Ummmm…hard no. I was already grumpy – I didn’t need God hanging out on the periphery of my escape making me feel bad.

What I didn’t find was a Romance section geared toward the 45+ crowd that wasn’t Christian, wasn’t syrupy sweet and didn’t come in large print. In fact, anything that appealed wasn’t even in the Romance section – it was in the just plain Fiction section. That should tell you something – publishers clearly don’t believe 45+ people want to read about romance between their peers. After thumbing through a bunch of possibilities (think Kristin Hannah, Erin Hildebrand), I realized that Romance for the 45+ crowd all has the same elements:

  1. 40+-year-old woman is deserted by her husband through cheating, financial ruin, or death
  2. Deserted woman must abandon her old life and return to a place of her childhood and confront some trauma before she can heal
  3. In this process, deserted woman meets the new love of her life but she hates him at first, before he helps her see her real value and accomplish her goals (on her own of course – then they get together after)
  4. Somewhere in between her hating him and accomplishing her goal, they sleep together and can’t communicate afterward so it’s awkward or downright antagonistic. I always want to scream at them, “Just fucking talk already and stop being 13 again.”
  5. The setting is always somewhere we wish we could be – a cute cottage on a coast or in the mountains, a ranch, or a crumbling house that must be rehabbed. Anywhere but Suburbia, USA.  
  6. There is always at least one quiet person who befriends her and tell her when she’s being a twat.  
  7. And if you’re reading Norah Roberts, there’s a murder or assault or stalker that must be dealt with, too.

Full disclosure, one of the novels I’ve written has elements 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 in it. I get it – it’s a formula that works.

*But I think we need to find a way to work Romance novels for the older(?) set back onto the Romance section bookshelves. How about we talk about trying to look sexy while having a hot flash?  Or the heroine falling in love with a guy whose testosterone might be a little low, and he can’t always get it up? 45+ romance isn’t fiction – it’s real life, albeit just not as glamorous as jet-set 30-year-olds or as prescriptive as the Christian or supernatural romances. Real life romance may not be quite the escape you’re looking for, but it can be romantic and comedic and downright spiritual in its own way, depending on your view.

So, after an hour I bought three fiction novels – none of which have those plot points but look promising.  I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, please don’t be offended when I don’t answer your emails, texts or calls. I’ll be eating Rice Krispy treats and reading about the circus, a cult and an affair.

*Okay, when I Googled best elderly romance book covers, turns out there is already a section for that, at least on the internet. Here is my favorite cover (I can’t even…):



What’s Your Dream?
June 20, 2022, 10:04 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Posts, Sports | Tags: , , , ,

Here’s something I learned this year – you can keep your childhood dreams, but they’ll look a little different when you’re middle-aged. But really, what doesn’t look different as you get older? I literally am those people on the Progressive commercials that are turning into their parents: “We all see it…we all see it…BLUE!!!”  Don’t know what I mean? Watch this…

So, back to childhood dreams…

This summer I checked off two huge bucket list items. To most people they might seem frivolous or meaningless, but to me they mean so much more. For the first time in 35 years, I jumped a horse over little cross rails (for non-horse people, that means poles set at a foot off the ground). By jump, I mean the giant horse I was riding barely saw them and hopped over while I just tried to stay out of the way. I also rode in a small horse show trotting over poles just lying on the ground. Yes, I was the oldest in the class by maybe 30 years, competing against a few  people, most of whom were children and at least two who were your people training horses who barely knew what a pole was.  Did I forget my girth (saddle belt) and have to borrow one?  Yes. Was I freaking out?  Yes.

But I did it, and I couldn’t have been more proud of myself.  

See what I mean?  This doesn’t seem like much, in but in my heart those two things were huge. Let’s back up so you can see why – and why you should still pursue your dreams, no matter what shape they take as you age.

After a terrible year of deaths in our family this year, human and animal, the barn where I ride was and remains my refuge. Soon after the sweet horse I leased died in January from a sudden, terrible infection, I walked back into the barn to get away from the world. It was awful, seeing his empty stall and halter, but the barn has always been and always will be my refuge.

One of the horse moms (aka boarders) saw me and said, “I didn’t think you’d be back.”

Not come back? For a second, I was really offended. I had to regroup and remember that this nice woman didn’t know me as a child, creating notebooks full of fictional racehorses with breeding charts, colors, personalities and race results. She couldn’t know that for years I doodled horse heads all over my school notebooks; that I drew pictures of the horseback wedding I was going to have (shockingly that didn’t happen); or, that until I was 15, when I fell off, busted my shoulder and simultaneously found boys, the only thing in the world I wanted was a horse.

To my mother’s credit, a single teacher who made $30k a year, she somehow found a way for me to take lessons once a week and occasionally do a local horse show.  But a real horse of my own?  Out of the question. As an adult, I was able to satisfy my horse itch by being a horse show mom for years, until Daughter #2 was clearly able to do it on her own but let me “help” because she knew I needed to be involved.

Then came the end of 2021 and early 2022: three family deaths, one horse death and one horse near-death.  It was terrible, but there was a silver lining. Losing so many people and animals in such a short time made me realize time really is finite, and that if I want to achieve some dreams I have to put my phone down, get off the couch and figure out what that means.

A horse of my own may still not be in the equation, but now I take lessons. Do I want to be in big horse shows? Not really – I don’t need that kind of stress. My dream has changed into finding that balance between learning to ride better and riding for mental health. The two are not always the same. Some days its okay to just walk around in a field, to look at the bobbing head beneath you and find that simple joy. Other days, its feeling like flying as the horse you’re riding graciously allows you to flop around while it steps over poles. Whatever your dreams once were, don’t let them go entirely – find out what parts of those dreams you can still do, or how they might work in new ways for you.  Life is short and unpredictable.  Ask yourself, am I going to be mad next year, or in five years, that I didn’t start something today? If the answer is yes, then put your phone down, get off the couch and see what can happen. You might be surprised with what your old dreams look like now, and what it feels like to realize them.  

Special thanks to my family, friends and especially Kimberly Anderson at Manakin Sabot Equestrian Center for their patience and encouragement. Thanks to Daughter#1 for telling me the truth and making me get up and do it, to Hubby for funding and taking pictures, and to Daughter #2 for listening to my blow-by-blow descriptions of each lesson. 🙂



It’s A Recipe, Not A Memoir
January 23, 2021, 9:15 am
Filed under: Food/Drink | Tags: , , ,

First, thanks to everyone for stopping and reading this when there is so much other stuff to read and watch, like TikToks and memes of Bernie Sanders at the inauguration.  I know it’s been a while, but apparently, I’ve been storing up a few rants over the last few months.

 One of my resolutions this year, in addition to just trying to be nicer to people, is to try some new recipes and stop making Hubby eat the same five things every week, plus pizza or cereal night.  Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, who knew that the most challenging part of this would be getting to the actual recipes online!  

When I finally find a recipe that has less than 10 ingredients, doesn’t call for some weird spice (like celery salt) that I’ll only ever use once, and doesn’t contain anything resembling fish oil, I have to keep it together long enough to scroll

down,

down,

down,

through the author’s family history, passion for turning said recipe leftovers into a gross smoothie afterward, and tips for cleaning my house while I stand on my head and cook.

To the people who post recipes online: No one gives a crap about how your grandmother used to clean her oven or that your 5th cousin is from Bulgaria and that’s where the recipe came from. We just need the damn ingredient list. We’re tired from being at work all day and we don’t want to touch anything more in Kroger than we have to, so stop making us scroll with grocery store-COVID fingers.  We just want to cook without ads popping up that we have to close with raw, chicken covered-fingers.

So please, for the love of all things cookery, STOP giving us your life story and just post the damn thing with a picture of the finished product so I can see where I messed up!



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!”

50b

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….

 

 




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