Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yeah. I liked the story the first hundred times you told it!!

The one problem with surrounding yourself with the same friends for years is that you have heard all of their stories and they have heard all of yours. When we get together with the family for reunions or holidays the same stories were heard over and over again. “Remember when Wendy was jumping around in that box and fell into the bush out back? She had to have eight stitches. Doc Stratton stitched her up at his office downtown. His office had that crazy sailfish on the wall...the one that had the eye that followed you wherever you sat?”Another relative would chime in. “Then there was the time she and her friend Cathy snuck out of the house to go to a party. What were they, thirteen? Boy, she was grounded for a year!”

These stories not only get told over and over, but they often take on a new and better twist. “Daddy had to rush her to Doc’s because she was bleeding like crazy. What was it, thirty stitches?”You come to expect the stories from family. They saw you through all of the strange boys you dated, like the one that would run up and down the street in front of your house for over an hour, but never come in. Or the one your sister dated that would never come up to the house. The horn of the car would blow and she’d be gone. We still tease her about that..was there ever really was a guy?

Your family has seen you through the clothes of the sixties; the miniskirts, large bell-bottoms and gauze. The seventies with the halters, silk shirts and maxi dresses and those platform shoes. Then the eighties... well, I spent most of the early eighties in Maternity wear. But even that isn’t sacred. “Do you remember how huge you got with the second baby? I mean HUGE.” I HAVE to listen with family. It’s what we do. We sit around the kitchen table eating Massey’s and reminiscing. The memories and stories are who we are.But with friends we know we can look at each other and smile and simply say, “That’s a good story, I enjoyed it the first hundred times you told it.”-Wendy

Waddle Waddle

So you’re fifty something. You look in the mirror and like what you see. For the first time in your life, you take really good care of yourself. You work out. I do water aerobics three times a week. My sister, who is a year older (and always will be) walks and does yoga. I have a sister-in-law that could out-ride Lance Armstrong and another that you don’t dare call between 5 and 6am as it’s her workout/meditation time. Most of my close friends are into the walking thing. I hate walking. I get bored seeing the same sights day after day. If I go out to walk it’s usually with the damn (I mean, wonderful) dog. By the time he sniffs, pees, barks at the birds, squirrels, rabbits, other dogs, bees, gnats...well you get the idea... I’ve walked a mile in just under an hour. This is not working out. It’s painful and boring. But I am overcome with guilt walking without him, as I pass my house on the second mile and see his little nose pressed up against the window. An hour later we make it back to the house and I’m exhausted from standing around watching him do his thing. I tried to take him to the dog park, but he seemed to want to get to familiar with some of the other male dogs.

So we, as fifty-somethings, walk, swim and twist our bodies, strengthen our cores with yoga and Pilates. Our bodies are firmer than ever. We eat better because now that the kids are gone there are no snacks around to tempt us. However, glancing in the mirror you still see a few parts that can’t be covered. They’ll give your age away every time; your hands and your neck. There are those pesky skin tags and age spots. Every time a spot pops up, I remember the commercial where the woman says, “They call them age spots, I just call them ugly”. I’ve tried the creams and they work temporarily, but I’m not good at having to do something every day for the rest of my life. I bought into the crazy ads and tried all of them. But once I embraced the changes and went back to my soap and water and a light moisturizer I was much happier.

My dermatologist has become my new best friend. One quick snip and those pesky skin tags are gone forever. He offered to use a little Botox around my eyes, but I explained that years of raising children had already given me that constantly surprised look I’ve come to love; I’ll leave the Botox for others.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Early Bird Gets the Worm...

...which brings me to another of my little quirks that annoys the hell out of the kids. I am always early. It comes from having to get three kids and a husband ready each and every time we went anywhere. I needed time to deal with that last minute spill or disaster so I learned to leave plenty of leeway. I usually played the old half hour time difference game. A fun game where you tell everyone you have to leave by six when you actually need to leave by six-thirty. Then you get to the place and of course you’re early.

When I first moved to Florida and the kids were beginning elementary school, I was determined to get involved. I was room mother and agreed to be in charge of refreshments for the PTSA meeting. (As a side note, I grew up where we had PTA so I didn’t understand the S thing from the beginning until another parent explained that in this state they liked to have the students involved. Aren’t they already involved? This is where they go to school, right? But I digress.) I had the refreshments lined up and everyone agreed to drop off the cookies a half hour early so we could get set up for the seven o’clock meeting. I got to the school and it was locked up tight. Did I mix up the night? Could I have the wrong time? I walked the perimeter looking for a janitor or anyone who might have an answer. At ten till seven there was still no sign of any of the other goodies and no one for the meeting. Back then no one had cell phones and I finally noticed the pay phone...behind the locked gate. At seven o’clock, the janitor opened the gateway. Just as I stepped through, here came the other women with the goodies. I started to chastise, because by now I was a little pissed, when one woman spoke up. “Honey, you’re in the South. Nothing starts on time; in fact I bet the principle won’t even be here until seven thirty.” For a crazy early bird, this threw off my whole sense of being. I could move from being early, I could even get used to the being on time. But it would take an act of God to get me used to things starting late.

This malady has stayed with me throughout the years. I’m still the first one at a restaurant waiting for my friends to show. It seems I’ve surrounded myself with latecomers, but over the years we’ve started to laugh at the differences. Many a time I will be sitting in the booth waiting, wondering. “Is this the right restaurant? “Is this the right day?” Some things never change.