Subourbon Mom


Stop Hiding Me Behind My Clothes
December 8, 2022, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Posts, Middle Age, Misc. Humor, shopping | Tags: , , , , , ,

Aaahhh..the holidays are here! Mariah Carey is screeching away in every store and the taste of panic-buying is in the air. You know what that means – sales.  Every day my inbox is flooded with exclamation points and percentages. Are the deals great?  Absolutely. They’ve even enticed me to crack open my dusty wallet. This year I decided it is time to buy some new clothes that don’t scream “I WORK FROM HOME AND JOGGERS ARE MY WAY OF LIFE.”

For those of you who know me personally, you know I’m not a big shopper. In fact, I frequently buy clothing sets off store mannequins because I suck at putting outfits together. I’ve been known to walk into a store, touch one item and run out because I’m so overwhelmed. So, when I decide to shop for clothes, this is not a decision I make lightly.

And here is where the first-world problems rant begins.  

When did retail clothing stores start ignoring the middle-aged woman demographic?

I’m a pretty regular size, and I used to be able to get cute clothes from stores that cater to the younger (30’s) set as well as the older (50s+) set. They were trendy, fit well and even had the right shape.

Maybe my expectations are off base, but I can’t seem to find any stores that cater to the middle-class, middle-size, middle-trendy woman anymore. It’s all either too young (for women whose boobs are still somewhere near where they’re supposed to be and the menopausal muffin top is still non-existent) or they are for the older female crowd that just wants to hide everything under a square shirt that hangs to the knees or beneath long sweaters called dusters. 

Side note: If you’re a store mannequin dresser (is there a real job title for that?), please stop pulling the backs of the shirts together with a clip so it looks like the mannequins have a waist.  If you have to do that, stop ordering square shirts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried one on after seeing it there and walked out of the dressing room in a small tent.

I used to love Target, but don’t get me started on Target’s recent stylistic choices. I don’t want to live on the set of Little House on the Prairie or look like I sew my own clothes.

At the mall by my house, since the stores catering to younger women are now out of the question, I’m left trying to decide if I want to go classic square shirt and duster from J.Jill,  blingy square shirt and duster from Chico’s, or “I’m in my late 60’s and have a shit ton of money to spend” in Soft Surroundings.

The only store that still works for me is Loft. Does everything fit me? No. Is some of it too young? Yes. But I can still find work and casual clothes there that don’t break the bank, and that last longer than H&M’s one season wonders.

Since vitamin/supplement companies are finally realizing menopausal women are a real demographic (watch any middle-aged woman’s TikTok feed and see how many Provitalize ads come up), maybe clothing retailers should, too. Just because we need a better bra these days and jeans with that extra inch, retailers need to know that middle-aged women haven’t given up. We’re still trying to impress our partners, and, honestly, other women – but more importantly, we’re not hiding ourselves away from the world.  In fact, many of us are feeling more like our true selves than ever before.

Maybe, if clothes could be designed around what we look like now, not the past or the future, we wouldn’t spend so much on supplements and retailers could take advantage of that revenue.

So, there you have it – the gauntlet has been thrown – someone needs to design clothes for middle-of-the-road, middle-aged women that reflect who we are now, that don’t make us look like we’re trying to hard or that we’ve given up, and that don’t break the bank.  

And by the way, if you’re a woman who loves the stores I’ve just crapped all over, please keep patronizing them. We all have to shop where we are comfortable. I just haven’t found more than one place that meets my shopping needs and I’m grumpy.



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!



This Pill Is So Much Like Weed…But Better
April 2, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,
I know, weed is legal in a lot of states now, but there are still some gray areas, especially when it comes to federal laws. Not so with my Progestin pill, prescribed to help me through the throes of menopause. Now, I have not partaken of the Wacky-Baccy (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), but I can tell you this – there are apparently a lot of similarities between menopause hormones and weed:
  1. I’m hungry – A LOT.  At 1:00am the dogs look up at me, wondering why the Maker of Cookies to Steal Off the Counter is rummaging through the fridge and pantry, devouring everything sweet and salty.
  2. They’re edible. I’m seriously considering a venture start-up for hormone edibles. It would kill two birds with one stone – you get the hormones in a tastier form and you get to eat.  Bonus: no one would have a problem with enterprising Girl Scouts camping outside that store front and making a killing. munchies
  3. They make you spacey. Since taking this pill there has been a definite increase in the airhead factor. In one day, I managed to attend the wrong gym class, almost go to the wrong doctor’s appointment and wear my pants backward in public. So…wait, what was I saying?
  4. You still need a prescription to get it. Ok, I know having a prescription card isn’t a thing very much anymore, but a lot of the reasons for the prescription are similar, too: anxiety, sleeplessness, pain.  You get the picture.
  5. You need a dealer. Dealer, doctor…whatever.
But here’s why it’s better than weed:
  1. It doesn’t make me paranoid, just occasionally bitchy; and frankly, that’s only a problem for the people around me….so bonus in my mind.
  2. It’s regulated – there’s almost zero risk of some crazy shit causing flashbacks, blackouts or accidental heroin addition.
  3. My insurance covers it – completely.
  4. It keeps the night sweats away and (mostly) helps me sleep at night.
  5. My house doesn’t smell skunky when I use.
  6. I don’t have to hide it from my kids. I can continue to be the pillar of my family’s dubious moral high ground and still get all the bennies.
I generally like to try and eat right, minimize my bad habits and stay away from medicines unless I need them, but in this case I say “better living through pharma.” Side note: Yes, I tried a lot of natural remedies, but that fact is I’m at low risk for the more dangerous hormone replacement effects, and I struggled with anxiety, depression and sleeplessness for months before giving in. So, judge not, my friends – you do you and I’ll do me. If weed is your thing and it’s legal where you are, have yourself a green day.

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….

 

 



Treadmill Tourette’s & Other Winter Exercise Hazards

After walking around all winter grumbling about how I hate the way my stomach has started moving independently of the rest of my body, I finally realized I was actually going to have to do something about it.

I was going to have to start…dare I say it?

Exercising.

And even worse… Eating Better.

So I did what I always do when I realize Virginia winters don’t require the amount of extra insulation I’ve been building up.  I tried a few things, and quickly realized my intentions do not match the reality of the situation.

Intention: I am trying to eat 5 fruits and veggies a day and limiting bread to get more good carbs and limit the bad.
Reality: My body went into a fiber-induced shock. Apparently, granola is not everybody’s friend, at least not at first.

Intention: I am limiting alcohol – and by that I mean I am only having drinks Thursday through Saturday. (Some folks asked me “why include Thursday?” Well duh…because Thursday is “Little Friday!”)

Little Friday

Reality: Middle Age takes care of some of that desire; I now have a whole list of drinks that make me have hot flashes, so I’m definitely weighing my choices more carefully – is it really worth having to change out of my sweat-soaked my PJs at 3:00am to have that glass of wine? Nope.

Intention: I bought a few Clean Eating and exercise magazines to give me inspiration and ideas.

Shape CoverReality: They make me feel like I am being healthy without actually being healthy…until I look at the 20-year-olds in the pictures who clearly have never had children and don’t sit in an office cube all day like a veal. I also refuse to spend a lot of money on special spices and high-end oils that those Clean Eating magazines seem to demand. And, I have never once tried any of the exercises in the fitness mags – mostly because I couldn’t follow the diagrams any more than I can put together anything that says “some assembly required.”

Intention: I am regularly exercising at the office gym, mostly doing ab work and cardio to get the weight off as fast as I can.
Reality: Running on the treadmill comes with two hazards I wasn’t expecting:

1. Watching my reflection in the windows as I run makes me unbalanced – I had to grab the rails before I shot off the back of the machine like a sweaty, horizontal human waterfall;

Unknown
2. I thought my new cheap headphones were mildly electrocuting me every few seconds, until I realized that in the winter treadmills acquire a lot of static electricity.  So, every 3rd or 4th step I had to slap the metal rail with my hand to prevent the static zap from reaching my headphones and inner ear.  I don’t know what the people walking by the gym window thought, but I’m pretty sure I looked like I had a case of Running Tourette’s.


Intention:
 I am going to look awesome in a bikini this summer.

Bikini
Reality: I will once again spend too much money on a conservative tankini that my mother will approve of.

 

Vintage bathing suit

 

But in the meantime, I’m going to be burning those extra calories flailing at the metal treadmill rails – maybe those expended calories will turn into that bikini body I remember. Or maybe they’ll just let me eat that extra helping of summertime happy hour appetizers.

 




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