I Know Something About Birthin’ Babies

A pregnant woman

Image via Wikipedia

Something has been irritating the split pea soup out of me for years and it’s come up in various TV shows over the last few weeks and gotten me all fired up again.  It aggravates me to no end when a pregnant TV or movie character’s water breaks and then they are wailing and the baby is halfway out 5 minutes later and some idiot is yelling “Push!”  If that’s how it worked, Tink might not be an only child.

For those of you who have not experienced the horror joy of childbirth first hand either by choice or because God wired you differently (perhaps with a penis instead of a vagina), the only thing your water breaking actually means is that it is time to go to the hospital.  It would be fair to compare the womb to a condemned building at this point and it is the doctor’s job to make sure everyone clears out within the 24 hour time limit. 

In my personal experience, my water broke sometime early in the morning but I really didn’t know it.  (Tink may be a teensy teen but she was a mighty big newborn)  I didn’t get to the hospital until 4:00 pm and I still wasn’t in labor.  They had to induce me and Tink made her debut at 2:00 am nearly 10 hours later.  My friend Rita just gave birth to her third (yes, that was not a typo her THIRD) child.  Her water broke and she thought, “Yea!  I’ll pop this baby out in an hour or so.”  No siree, that is not how it turned out.  Normally your third child comes rather quickly especially when she comes barely 2 years after her big brother, but Rita was in labor for 9 hours before her petite little angel flew into the world.

English: Newborn baby Română: Nou nascut

Image via Wikipedia

So there you go.  Two examples of water breaking and babies taking their sweet time to get their first glimpse of the world.  So why on earth do all these shows (just recently on NCIS for example) have a pregnant woman’s water breaking and within moments you hear, “The baby’s coming!  The baby’s coming!  I see the head!!”  No you don’t see a baby’s head you see a short time limit in which to fit your story!  I guess there wouldn’t be a lot of drama involved in a story that went something like: “Oh dear, I think my water broke.”  Hubby or strange man the pregnant woman just met who will now deliver fatherless baby and become his male role model “Oh no!  What do we do?”  Future Mom, “Oh let’s just scoot on over to the hospital, maybe stop and have a sandwich along the way and by tomorrow morning we’ll probably have a baby!”  If that were the case, the strange man might not get roped into staying and becoming a part of the story’s plot and he and might say, “Oh, um in that case I’ll just drop you off at the ER ok?  I have a . . . a . . . root canal scheduled for today.”

I guess this is why doctor’s don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy, Federal Agents don’t watch NCIS and medical examiners don’t watch CSI.  TV producers may know drama, but they don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies!

A Camel, A Donkey and a Golf Cart

Courtesy of Wikipedia - my picture was of the camel's rear-end

Sometimes I wonder if my husband and daughter do things on purpose to foster my delusion that they cannot function without me or if it really does come naturally to them.  I’m 600 miles away on a week long business trip last week and I see an email from my daughter’s cheerleading coach.  It reads “There have been a few changes to our plans for Sunday’s Parade.”  Hmm, changes?  plans??  So there was a plan before today?  This is the first I’ve heard of this plan and today is FRIDAY!

It turns out that the Cheerleading Squad was to ride on the Chamber of Commerce’s float in the annual Christmas Parade on Sunday.  Oh good – because after a full week out of town I needed something to do with my Sunday afternoon.  Lying around napping on the couch is overrated anyway.  But it’s a Christmas Parade after all.  It will be fun right?  Have you BEEN to a small town Christmas parade?

First, you have to understand that in a small town if you have a convertible, a golf cart or a tractor you can and evidently should, be in the parade.  If you are “Miss” anything you should also be in the parade.  So you will see a 1995 Blue Mustang convertible with Miss Teen Terminx 2011 sitting on top waiving with a magnet on the side of the car advertising the local shoe repair shop.  It’s best if you can attach tinsel to your golf cart, tractor or convertible or maybe some garland because that makes it more festive. 

There are a few floats in the parade – as I mentioned my daughter was riding on one.  They were performing cheers and throwing candy although they looked as if they were throwing shoes at rabid dogs rather than tossing Tootsie rolls to antsy toddlers.  I think some of the cheerleaders should go out for softball.  Anyway, there was one very disturbing float with a handful of women my age in sweats dancing the same exact dance the entire student body of my high school did at the prom.  I said to my husband, “What the hell is that?”  As the float went by I finally saw the sign on the back for the locally offered Zumba classes.  I don’t know how many free classes those women got for agreeing to do that in public on a float in a small town Christmas Parade but it cannot possibly be enough.

Duck and cover - Tootsie Rolls Incoming!

Another interesting float was the Good Aim Baptist Church Nativity Scene.  I am not making up the name of that church, I so wish I was.  Joseph was dangling baby Jesus precariously over the edge of the float much to the annoyance of Little Mary.  I’m not positive, but I think further down in the procession, once Mary got Baby Jesus back in her hands, she beat Joseph with him.  Following behind them was a camel and a donkey.  I feel it prudent to point out there were no wise men in connection with this float.  If there had been wise men, they would have changed the name of that church!

If you count all the time we spent dropping Tink off at her designated location, finding a parking space, waiting for the parade to start, waiting for it to be over and returning home, we spent about three and a half hours doing “parade activities”.  That’s a lot of time spent to see a camel, a donkey and a few golf carts!

The Night Before Christmas? I Think Not!

If I heard one more person say, “What’s with all this Christmas stuff?  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet!” I was going to start decking more than halls.  A few short weeks ago, every person I came in contact with uttered that phrase.  The only people who think that there’s this mysterious endless supply of time to prepare for Christmas are the people who don’t have to.

It was barely 2 days after Halloween before I was planning ‘The Set Up’.  “You’ll bring the boxes down from the attic,” I told my husband.  “I’ll put the tree together and,” I turned to my daughter, “you’ll decorate it!”  “Why don’t we get a real tree this year?” my daughter asked.  When my wicked laughter stopped, I replied, “I’m barely keeping you, your Dad and the cat alive you think I”m going to tackle a tree??”

There’s a pressure on Moms to put on The Perfect Christmas.  This pressure is mostly thrust upon us by our own selves.  (Warning:  Do NOT, I repeat do NOT, say this to a Mom.  If you do, I am not responsible for what happens to you afterwards!)  We want to experience that perfect moment on Christmas Day when everyone in our family opens that gift they’ve been wanting most for all time.  Or at least the gift they’ve been wanting most for a month and a half.  Everyone will get along that day and the turkey on the table will look like the ones they always have on TV.  Miracles will happen in our own homes like they do in cheesy Christmas specials and we will actually hear the Angels singing.  It will be perfect and glorious.  Instead, no matter how hard I work, my Christmas’es always seem to turn out more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

Anyway, this pressure that I put on myself seems to begin with getting the house decorated for the holiday.  My mom followed a pretty strict timeline which included putting the tree up on December 15th and I always thought that was good, but I don’t follow that one.  Don’t mistake my rush to decorate for Christmas as enthusiasm.  It’s actually a defense mechanism because the longer I take to decorate, the more I have to listen to my daughter and the neighbors and my co-workers ask me when I’m going to decorate.  So if I get this out of the way by the day after Thanksgiving, well, that’s something I can check off the list.

Decorating the house is the first outward appearance of preparing for the holiday, but by Thanksgiving Day if I’m not 3/4 complete with my Christmas shopping I’m seriously behind.  By the time the turkey’s coming out of the oven, I’ve been writing down notes of what gifts my daughter and husband have mentioned they would like to have or want for months.  I’ve also spent hours on eBay, Amazon and Google tracking it down.  I have been asking them for weeks for a Christmas list.  I don’t go out on Black Friday.  I may get crazy and delusional during the Holidays but not that crazy!  I’m too old to get trampled by 500 antsy, caffeine crazed loonies over a $5 Barbie, a $9 coffee maker or a $99 Plasma TV – especially since there’s only 3 of each hidden throughout the store.

Then there’s the endless discussions with my family and my husband’s family to determine dates for the family parties.  There was probably less tension during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  This negotiation is followed by the search for perfect gifts for extended family members, neighbors, teachers, my husband’s boss, my employees, gymnastics coaches and my own boss.  Cooking falls in there somewhere.  My daughter and I bake Monster Cookies which is a recipe I stole from my 7th grade home economics teacher – that takes up a whole day.  There’s also the annual Christmas Eve gathering of the neighbors which is a lot of fun because it includes wine.  I wish my in-laws gathering included wine.  Well, now that I think about it I guess it’s better that there isn’t any alcohol near those family gatherings.

Each year, my husband and daughter take off a day or two before Christmas and go out in search of my gifts.  I don’t venture out during the “End of Days” as I call it.  I’m so stressed by a day or two before Christmas that if someone wrenched the last faux cashmere scarf out of my hands I might attempt to strangle them with it.  Last year was a strange one for our family.  I was gone for a week on a business trip in early December (just like this year) and my husband was working several hundred miles away and home only every other weekend.  So, I bought my own gifts last year – but I made my husband wrap them.  Because last year was extra stressful, it culminated with me loudly declaring on December 26th that if my family wanted to have Christmas in 2011 they would do it themselves!  I quote, “I’m done with Christmas.  I.  AM.  NOT.  DOING IT!”  And I meant it! 

I’m not the only one who reacted this way.  My friend Michelle told me that last year when she open the boxes of Christmas decorations, more than half of them were smushed and broken.  Then she remembered that she was having a complete meltdown as she ripped down the decorations and shoved them into boxes.  For some strange reason that made me feel better.

I was firm in this resolution of “not doing Christmas” into the shiny new year . . . until Halloween came.  As families around the country were getting dressed up as vampires and mummies, I said to my daughter, “It’s Halloween so you know what that means . . . It’s time for your Christmas list!”  I distinctly heard my husband say, “Oh no, not again” even though he denies it.

Yes, it will be the same thing all over again.  Because despite the stress, headaches, family drama, exhaustion and lack of appreciation for all the behind the scenes work, it is worth it.  Christmas Day is perfect because by then I’ve found the true holiday spirit.  I am thankful that I have my daughter and husband, extended family and friends to fuss over so much.  It really does feel like a Christmas miracle.

But by golly on December 26th, everyone better help me pack all this red and green junk back into the attic because I’ll be over it for another 10 months!

“Thanks Hank”

A fellow blogger wrote an outstanding post a while ago about commercials and how they just don’t make any kind of damn sense anymore.  Check out BoxcarOakie’s post here.  He’s got some great ideas for new, never before seen ads too. 

Lately I have been noticing the same thing.  I guess commercials just aren’t geared towards my age group anymore.  But here are a few that I DO like and thought you might enjoy too:

And . . .

I have to say that the one from Hyundai just reminds me that I need to go out and buy a bunch of Energizer batteries before Christmas morning, but these make me laugh and since we all need a little more laughter these days I thought I would share.  Enjoy your day everyone.

The Devil Made Me Do It

The Devil Made Me Do It (by graphicsfactory.com)

Have you ever done something you knew you shouldn’t do?  Something that before you even got started, you knew was wrong.  But that little devil with the pitchfork on your left shoulder won over the haloed angel on your right?  So you did it anyway and then said to yourself, “I shouldn’t have done that.”

Seriously, NOW you change?? (image via graphicsfactory.com)

Traffic was horrible the other afternoon and the particular red light at which I was stopped was taking forever to change to green.  A notification that I have two voicemails has been displayed on my cell phone for 5 days.  One of the voicemails was left by someone who I tried to avoid, but after they called my office, my cell, and my office again I reluctantly accepted the call at 4:59 pm on a Friday.  It turned into a 10-minute conversation about the fact that the gentleman was going to send me an email.  He could have sent it, I could have read it, and we all could have started our weekend on time if he’d just sent the damn email instead of calling to talk about it first!

Anyway, back to the red-light, I want this notification off my phone and all I have to do is listen to the voicemails.  I shouldn’t be on my cell phone in traffic, but I’m at the red light sitting still.  What’s the harm?  So I pull up the voicemail and it begins to play “Hi Angry, I just wanted to let you know that I was about to send you an email but I wanted to give you a —”  Then I begin to hear ringing as if I’ve called someone.  I glance at my phone but at that moment the light turns green and traffic begins to move.  Oh crap!  I’m taking an on-ramp onto the highway – I can’t be looking at my phone!  But I remember that when you are listening to a voicemail there’s a BIG button that when pressed CALLS BACK THE PERSON WHO LEFT THE MESSAGE!!!!!  Crap, CRAP, CRAAAPPPPP!!!!!

What the !@#$ is that???

I’m still navigating my way through the traffic blindly jabbing at the phone trying to end the call and then I hear Matt pick up, “Hello?” pause “Hello???”  I’m still trying to merge into traffic.  I risk hundreds of lives and glance at my phone only to discover it’s on a screen I’ve never seen before and I have no idea how to hang up.  Oh dear Lord in Heaven it has finally happened.  I have finally aged to the point that I’ve become technologically inept.  I have become my mother-in-law!

Now a reasonable person would just say, “Oh hi Matt, it’s me, Angry, I called you by mistake.  Sorry about that.”  But no one has accused me of being a reasonable person in a long, long time.  What if he wanted to discuss more upcoming emails???  Oh for the love of Pete!  So I did what any semi-reasonable person would do.  I stayed very, very quiet . . . until he gave up and hung up.

I’m sure he has caller ID and knows it was me, but somehow having him think that I butt-dialed him unknowingly makes me feel better.  That right there is probably a sign that I need stronger meds.  <Sigh>  Anyway, next time I’m listening to the guy with the halo on the right.  At least chances are I’ll look less like an idiot!

Prisoner of War or a Business Meeting??

Please let me out!!!! (photo from ibtimes.com)

I dread this week every year.  This is the most terrible, awful, horrible week of the entire year!!  It’s the week of my company’s annual budget reviews.  At this point you would expect the “Dum, dum, dum, DUMMMM!!” of the organ music to play.  Words cannot express how much I dread this process.  This is the time when each of the Regional Managers (I am one of four) defend the amount of money we are requesting to spend and how much we are projecting to make during the upcoming year.

Now from my dread you must have concluded that this is a tense, grueling process including water boarding and other tortuous techniques outlawed by the Geneva Convention, but no, it really isn’t.  Years ago, it was much closer to that description but we are a fairly small company and the President (who is also the Owner’s son) believes in fostering a casual relationship with his minions employees.  So all in all it isn’t too bad anymore.  There is the occasional spirited discussion, but I no longer enter the meeting fearing for my job or terrified that I might sound stupid.  Now I know that I’m going to say something stupid or forget some important detail so that suspense doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. 

No, the real problem with this process is that it takes up an entire week . . . in December!!  I am trapped in a hotel room somewhere in Baltimore, MD (it changes every year) with no vehicle or means to escape.  I’m at the mercy of my superiors as to what time I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I have these 3 meals with the same people with whom I’ve just sat in budget meetings for 8 hours!  At that point there is nothing they have to say that I want to hear (unless it’s “Hey Angry, here’s a raise” and that’s never happened)  What if I need to run out and grab a gift card for my niece’s fiance that she’s just decided to bring to Christmas dinner?  What if I need more contact solution because my eyes have been crossing looking at all these numbers?  What if I need some Preparation H because this whole process is a royal pain in the @**??  I’m like Locke on Lost – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”

I need a lot of freedom.  It’s vital to my well being.  I don’t do well with any type of restrictions.  I remember being in elementary school and the janitor came to the room to tell the teacher that the water would be off to the building for about an hour so.  During that time the children couldn’t use the bathroom or the water fountain.  The horror!!  I was immediately thirsty, if I’d known what dehydrated meant at the time I would have been that too.  And I had to tinkle.  Right then.  It could NOT wait.  Five minutes previously when I lived in a world with unlimited water availability, I was perfectly fine.  Flash forward (a lot of years) later to the other day when the power went out.  This is the conversation that occurred in my head:  “Oh no!  I need to use my computer!”  Reasonable me responded “You have a laptop with an hour and a half of battery life”  The real me, “But I need to use the internet!”  Reasonable, “You have a wireless card and if that’s dead your phone is its own ‘hot spot’.”  Real me, “But I want a cup of coffee and there’s no power.”  Reasonable, “It’s 4:00 pm and you never have coffee in the afternoon.  Why in the world would you decide you want coffee today of all days?”  Real me, “Um . . . because I can’t?”  It was about that time that the power came back on.

"Must . . . have . . . water . . . "

So anyway, this is the week that I dread the other 51 weeks of the year.  It’s filled with excellent food and culminates with our annual Holiday Party on Friday evening, but all I can think about is getting “my life” back.  I’ll gladly eat Taco Bell instead of Maryland crab cakes if I can go there on my own and eat that 99 cent taco when I want!  Well, let me have at least one of those crab cakes first.

(Please forgive me if my posts are a little drab this week.  These meetings suck the life out of you quicker than a teenage vampire.  Take care everyone!)

Tanorexia – It’s not a myth anymore . . .

See - no tan lines! (photo from FreecessionLessons.wordpress.com)

So if you are a regular visitor to my blog, you may remember the post Party Dress Humiliation about me trying to find the perfect outfit for an upcoming holiday party and, more importantly, how to squeeze into it.  It involves some embarrassing moments and possibly a can of Crisco, but that’s not the end of it.  The selection of the dress and proper undergarments is just the beginning, because once you’ve put on the dress and smoothed out your lumps and bumps you look at your face hovering above it all and realize you look like a corpse!  (Note:  Never, ever, ever search for corpse images on Google.  I need therapy now.)

I’ve been working 50-65 hours a week, daylight’s getting shorter and the weather is turning colder.  How am I going to cure this sickly pallor?  Oh the humanity!  I finally solve the dress dilemma only to discover that I forgot my head was attached to my body!  Then, as I’m sinking into yet another pit of despair over this damn party, an idea comes to me . . . I can go tanning!

This looks completely safe! (photo from photobucket.com)

I can go once a day to a tanning salon and lie in a coffin that shoots rays of death at my body in an attempt to look better in a week or two.  This sounds horrific, but if you can get past the increased chances for cancer, the fact that some other naked body was lying in that exact same spot just moments ago and the smell of slightly charred flesh – it’s really not so bad.  I mean you get 10 – 20 minutes to take a nap while lying on that piece of plexiglass.  (if the sweat pooling beneath you doesn’t bother you)

If you’ve ever been tanning, then you know what I’ve written above to be true.  If you haven’t, then after reading that you are probably thinking “NEVER!”  But there’s a condition that is recognized by doctors everywhere . . . or at least WebMD.com.  Tanorexia!  I am NOT making this up.

Tanorexia is the theory that just as anorexics can’t get skinny enough, tanorexics can’t get tan enough.  While you may think you are just subjecting yourself to these deplorable conditions for a few days to knock the white glare off your pallid complexion for a special event, you will look in the mirror and think “Oh good heavens!  I’m still pale – I need more fake and bake!”  (note:  Fake and bake is a technical term for indoor tanning.)  After your special event has come and gone, you will still feel the need to continue the indoor tanning lest you feel you have “lost your glow.”

I'm totally rocking this look

Tanorexics also believe that they look slimmer and sexier when they are tan.  This is compounded by the fact that it is true.  Seriously, when you think of nerds do you envision tan ones?  No, they are super-skinny and pale like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  When you think of super-models or bare-chested hunks do you see one with alabaster skin?  No!  They always have a healthy glow if not a deeper, richer color.  There’s also an expression:  If you can’t tone it, tan it.  So if working out isn’t working out for you, tan it!  What’s the harm?  Oh yeah – cancer.

Then there’s always the chance that while you are subjecting yourself to this tortuous situation and burning your skin in order to be sexier that you will over do it.  There’s nothing more difficult than trying to explain a sunburn in December when it’s 30 degrees outside.  People look at your red face and first assume you must be drunk.  Who would think you had suffered a sun-burn?  It’s not a sun-burn it’s a bulb-burn.  I spend a hundreds of dollars a year on make-up and moisturizer with sunblock built in only to scrub my face clean of it before lying underneath direct ultraviolet rays.  What is wrong with me?

Don't my teeth look nice and white?

If you are new to my blog, then you may be expecting me to now say something meaningful and altruistic about how we should all embrace our own unique physical appearance and not feel burdened by society’s demands that we look tan and slim in the middle of winter.  But this ain’t that blog.  I say, do what you have to ladies!  Buy the restrictive undergarments, fry your skin to a golden brown – whatever you need to boost your confidence.  When you find people asking you why you look like a piece of shriveled up bacon, come join me at my next TA meeting.  People there are very friendly once you get past the smell of fried skin and tanning accelerator.  “Hi, my name is Angry, and I’m a Tanorexic”

Freshly Pressed Awe and Jealousy . . . and Awe

From myexposition.wordpress.com

There is nothing better than having one of your Blogger friends Freshly Pressed.  Except of course if you are Freshly Pressed yourself.  (Just to be clear, I wouldn’t know about that)  It’s great when someone you’ve been following has that honor bestowed upon them.  It’s exciting!  Mostly exciting, a little heart-wrenching, but still mostly exciting.  You can’t help but be happy for them.  Happy and jealous, but mostly happy . . . and jealous . . . but more happy than jealous!  Mostly . . .

Seriously, of course there is a hint of jealousy but that’s because it’s so fantastic, but I really thrilled when a fellow blogger I know gets Freshly Pressed.  Not in that phony first-runner-up to the Miss America pageant way.  You just know as fellow contestants are crying and hugging the new Miss America and helping her pin on her crown that they are stabbing those pins deep into her skull.  No, not that kind of happy – true joy because they deserve it!

"Just hold still . . ." Miss World 2011 (Who is Miss World??)

The first time this happened with Pretty Feet, Pop Toe, I had just read her post, Grumpy Old Bag and on the following day she was Freshly Pressed!  I was very confused.  I was not confused as to the reason she was Freshly Pressed, it’s obvious that she is an amazing writer, but I thought I must be mistaken that I had stumbled upon her blog the day before.  “Was she Freshly Pressed the previous day as well?” I thought.  “Is that how I found her?”  Did I seriously just have the incredible luck to find her hours before Freshly Pressed did? 

The second time this happened, it was to littlesundog and her blog Day by Day the Farm Girl Way.  I’m not positive, but I think the first post of hers that I read was Real Deer Rehabilitation.  Then I read Lazy Days with Daisy Deer and I was hooked.  I believe I left a very intriguing comment something along the lines of “Wow, that wuz gud.”  Perhaps my comment was slightly better than that but not much.  Then I kid you not, the following day I check the Freshly Pressed page and I see this familiar picture of a deer.  I think, “Hey, that’s a deer.” (again I take a moment to point out how brilliant my brain is) “Are two people blogging about raising a baby deer?”  I double, triple checked and then I confirmed that Day by Day the Farm Girl Way had indeed been Freshly Pressed!  

So I rushed right over to her Freshly Pressed post and left this brilliant comment, “OMG (yes I really wrote O M G) you’ve been Freshly Pressed!  How awesome is that??”  I was just so darn excited that another one of my “friends” had been FP’d that I completely forgot how to properly use the English language.  I had clicked that little button to “notify me of follow up comments via email”, but I noticed that my email wasn’t exploding.  I couldn’t believe hundreds of people weren’t commenting on this amazing post.  Then it dawned on me, “She doesn’t know yet . . .  O M G she doesn’t know!”  I imagined her surprise when she checked her computer later.  I think I even giggled thinking about how exciting that was going to be for her.  I was in awe.

Scott Baio - from Totallythebomb.com

Having found two bloggers just hours or days before they became Freshly Pressed leaves me with the feeling of having had a brush with fame.  It’s like getting that signed photo of Scott Baio when I was 12 all over again, but even better because I knew these folks before they were famous!  Like when the small town girl hits it big and I can say “I knew them when . . .”

Not a rabbit's foot because that was one unlucky rabbit

Hey – here’s an idea – maybe I’m a good luck charm for this Freshly Pressed thing.  It sure seems that way.  So if you are a fellow blogger who’s eager to get Freshly Pressed just beg me to begin following your blog, I’m not above bribery, and you could receive that elusive honor by Monday.  Well . . . maybe . . .  But just to be on the safe side, if you do win, don’t ask me to help you pin on a crown.

P.S.  LittleSunDog not only replied to all of her comments, but she also found time to stop by my blog to leave a comment.  She didn’t forget the little people!  PrettyFeetPopToe replied to all of hers as well.  And they both received a LOT of comments!  More evidence that they are worthy recipients.

P.S.S  I’m off until Monday folks.  Have a good weekend!

Home Alone

Risky Business (soundtrack)

Image via Wikipedia

I get ridiculously excited when I get to be in my own home all by myself.  I don’t know exactly why this is.  I have no desire to run around in my underwear singing “Old Time Rock n Roll” like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.  Nor do I feel the need to pour a glass of wine at 11 am.  I don’t really want to do anything that I can’t do when my husband and daughter are home, but I still get just as excited as a 16-year-old whose parents are going out-of-town for the weekend.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to be home alone for an entire weekend.  No one to ask me where the mayonnaise is (in the refrigerator in the same spot it always is, I didn’t move it to the laundry room), no one to complain to me that her life is over because her favorite jeans weren’t washed overnight (despite the fact that they were under her bed and not in the hamper), no one to consult when I want something to eat – that in itself would be amazing.  Just to eat when I get hungry and not to begin thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner before I’ve finished breakfast.  Dinner could be cereal!  Hmm, I don’t really like cereal – that’s beside the point, the point is it could be cereal.

I usually work from home 2 days a week but I travel the other 3.  At least 3-4 days a month this travel requires an overnight stay.  So it’s not as if I never have a chance to pick my own dinner without considering others tastes or never get to be the only one holding the remote, but there’s something special about being in my own home by myself that’s entirely different from a hotel.  And I rarely get that opportunity.

I think one of the reasons I love the idea of being home by myself is because I can be certain of completing a thought without interruption.  The other day I was working from home and the only other person here was my husband.  I was on the phone so I closed the door to my office.  He wanted (wanted, not needed) a file folder so he just opened the door, came in and grabbed one.  My phone conversation was not ultra personal or private or anything he could not be privy to, but I completely lost my train of thought.  Wouldn’t common sense tell you that if you are the only other person in the house and a door is closed it must mean for you to stay out?  You would think that, but neither my daughter nor my husband see it this way.  I wonder who they think I’m trying to keep out?

keep out sign in nevadaville

Here’s a typical day:  My husband comes in, “Hey do you have a folder?” leaves the room and returns 1 minute later “Hey do you have some paper?” 2 minutes later, “Do you have some paperclips?” OH MY GOD GO TO THE DAMN STORE ALREADY!  but instead I say, “Do you need anything else?”  Him, “Nope, that’s it.”  3 minutes later, “I think I just ought to use staples.”  (I’m thinking “I think I need to beat you about the head and neck with the !&#$% stapler!)  But I say, “Honey, I’m really trying to work.”  Him, “Well I’m not stopping you!”  Me, <Heavy Sigh>

Multitasking is exhausting and I can prove it.  Here’s an article from Partners in Productive Leadership that proves that “our brains are trained to focus on one thing at a time”.  According to this article, when you go from one thing to another, “your brain has to load new information.”  Load?  Like when my computer has to load a website?  Good heavens that can take a lot of time and battery power – I mean energy!  So now I have proof!  It really is exhausting to be around my husband and daughter!

But when I am home alone for more than an hour, I start wondering what they are doing, if they’ve had enough to eat, when are they coming back, what would they want for dinner tomorrow night, etc.  I also notice that it gets terribly quiet in this big ol’ house all alone.  No one needs me, and that’s a lonely feeling.  As much as I love to complain about my family, and all the misery they cause me, I don’t know what in the world I would do without them.  I am willing to give it a try at least once or twice a week for about an hour and a half at a time though.

Party Dress Humiliation

Jackson and Justin Timberlake at the Super Bow...

Most women who read this title immediately understood what this post would be about.  Men are probably thinking this might be an interesting read about a wardrobe malfunction equal to that Janet Jackson/Super Bowl incident several years ago.  Sorry to disappoint gentlemen (but trust me, a wardrobe malfunction would have been equally as disappointing) but this post is about the humiliating search for a holiday/party dress.

When I was 23 I remember my sister-in-law calling me to tell me she had seen the most amazing party dress that only 1 person in the world could wear and that person was me.  It was on sale and she insisted that I go right that moment and purchase it.  I did indeed go straight to the mall, found the dress and tried it on.  It was Kelly Green and made of stretchy ruched satin and very, very short.  It did indeed look good on me.  I was 23, everything was where it was supposed to be (and firm) and I weighed 101 pounds.  As my mother used to say, “A flour sack would look good on you.”  That was me – way back then.

I really, really miss those days.  Every year the company that employs me hosts a holiday party for the employees.  Cocktail party attire is the dress code.  For many who attend, it is the only chance all year to dress up.  For equally as many, it is a lesson in humiliation.  We women must find a new dress to wear to this event and the hunt itself is devastating to our self-esteem. 

So off I went to the department store and ventured into the holiday dress section.  Oh the horror!  Now that I am no longer 23, no longer have all the parts in their ideal location, (nothing feels firm) and I sure as hell am not 101 pounds, none of these dresses are made for me.  But neither am I ready to shop in the “Grandma” section.  So I swim through the ocean of holiday dresses grabbing a few to take to the dressing room.  There will be no Kelly Green nor Christmas Red at this stage in my life.  Every choice is black because black is a color that hides middle age issues. 

Each dress I try on is more horrendous than the last.  They look beautiful hanging in the store and on those perfectly proportioned mannequins, but on me they reveal all my worst features.  “When did that roll of fat appear?  Why is my rear-end so lumpy?  Oh Lord, it’s time to clear all the clothes off the treadmill again!”  These are just some of the thoughts rolling through my mind.  Finally I choose a dress that a nun could wear and wander off dejectedly.  Then I remember something.  Spanx!

Crisco

For those of you who do not know what Spanx is, think of the girdles women wore in the 50’s and 60’s only Spanx come in nude and black and with a slightly naughty name.  So I go to the Intimates section.  Hmm, well Spanx may be “intimate” but it sure as hell isn’t sexy.  These garments range from giant panty-styles to things that look like mini prison jumpsuits.  The sales lady helps me pick out a size and style.  I ask, “Do you have to use a can of Crisco to get into this?”  She laughs, luckily she is the age – and possibly size – that would also know what a can of Crisco is.  “It stretches,” she says, “go try it on and then put your dress on over it.  You’ll see.”  So off I go to the dressing room. 

It takes me 10 minutes to squirm into this garment which goes from my mid-thigh all the way up to my ribs.  When it was finally on, I think I heard my kidneys scream.  It was either the kidneys or my liver and gallbladder – I’m not sure.  I was wondering how the heck I would get out of this to use the bathroom when I discovered it has an “escape hatch”.  I’ll leave the description at that.  Then I tried the dress on.  HOLY COW!  I looked amazing.  There were no rolls of fat and my rear-end looked like it did when I was 23!  (Ok, would you believe it looked like a 33-year-old ass at least?)  I looked . . . what was the word . . .  GOOD!

25 minutes later, after I’d wriggled out of that contraption, I was back in the dressing room again with different dress.  One that a nun would not wear!  It showed a little bosom and clung tightly to my body.  I put the Spanx on again – another 10 minute ordeal – and then the new dress.  By now I’m sweating like I’ve just completed Biggest Loser Cardio Workout and having a little trouble breathing but again I look good.  Almost . . . dare I say it . . . hot?  Well, definitely warm. 

If I’m not mistaken the Spanx cost almost as much as the dress but it was so worth it for the self-confidence it inspired.  I won’t lie and say I feel like my 23-year old self again, but I sure don’t feel like I’m just a short step from the Grandma dress section anymore.  If this were a different type of blog, this would be the point at which I would decide that I’m comfortable with my middle age lumps and bumps and to hell with the Spanx and on with the sexy dress.  As I’ve said before, this ain’t that blog.  Thanks to some lycra and spandex, and maybe a miracle bra, I can go confidently to this year’s holiday party.  Of course I won’t be able to eat or drink anything but I will look fantastic in the pictures!  I still think I’m going to have a can of Crisco on hand just incase.