Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are You There God? It's Me, Menopausal Madwoman

Mid-week, I suddenly find myself in that wide-awake, Hello and How-do-you-do-Menopause state of mind.  And naturally, it’s 2:15 in the morning, because Menopause is careful enough to make sure that crazed women are in this state at a time when no one else is going to cross their paths, tip toe around them, or have an opportunity to bear witness.  There are certain aspects of the developmental milestones along the stages of life that occur in such a fine-tuned and carefully orchestrated and executed manner that I find astounding.  I think the timing of these stages when comparing how they occur at different, but overlapping generational peaks could lead even the most assured atheists, or common ordinary heathens, to have to wonder.....

For instance, as I have arrived in Menopause and became a card-carrying member of panic, perspiration, palpitations and pulsating electric charged hot flashes, I have to prepare my youngest bird to leave the nest.  I probably don’t have to go too deeply into this.  Maybe you can just reread that first sentence and pause at the word prepare.  And now, you can get up off the floor because, it’s true- It is funny.  Prepare?  That bird has been planning that flight from the first time he heard me digging through the attic swearing and banging boxes around, asking if he knew where my summer clothes were in the middle of winter.  And each time I forget something, like the question I asked him two seconds ago, or ask him about a CD when I’m supposed to say DVD, he neatly stacks another box or suitcase in the trunk of his car.  Prepare him to leave the nest?  What a lark that is!  Or…….maybe …..just maybe….Divine Intervention.

The flipside of this?  Leading up to getting that card for Menopause that I am proudly carrying, or at least carrying in full view, I was truly worried about how difficult my life was going to be when he left.  What would I do?  Who will I be?  Real time was spent, or wasted here.  I went on a long extended road trip last summer, partially, because he was away and I wasn’t exactly sure how I would manage some of that time.  (Of course, I managed.  It was fabulous and fortifying and I was also able to fight through some fears and worries, often over a fine wine and a beautiful view or alongside some incredible friends or freely on my own.)  The joke here?  The developmental stage of a soon to be launched teenage son or daughter is already equipped with surly, snide and sarcasm.  When it comes time to push that bird, I won’t even stop long enough to hear if there is a flap-flap-flap, or a splat.  I will be packing my suitcase and grabbing my tickets for some unchartered course of my own.  I will be flying like a kite in the wind, all high and twisted. Or is that my thong all high and twisted?  Anyway....who can keep track?

Here’s another perk-  at 2:15, mid-week when I awoke and greeted Menopause with a how-do-you-do-I-think-we’ve-met-before, I reached for my laptop to check the state of the world, the in-box full of overwhelming I’m-not-sure-what’s from I-don’t-know-who’s and maybe facebook, or Amazon, or, my daughter messaged me.  So just like that I’m awake in Menopause, she’s awake in Albany and we get to visit.  In that mother-daughter mysterious bond of, mystical, madness, and melancholy missing.  OK, maybe that's a bit much.  I type- “Why are you up so late?” in that way that mother’s have of making you feel like you are doing something wrong and you’re caught.  She types back.  “Grrrnnn, I knew you were going to ask that.”  But really?  I am thrilled that we are suddenly on the same schedule and I get her all to myself.  She is old enough now to trust and know that I truly like her, and that I'm sort of OK, in addition to providing all that mother-sized love that can fill up a room and squish the life out of it.  What with that last cortex of her brain developed, and the first of mine starting to go, quickly.  She has the upper hand.  And she earned it fair and square.  She types again, “Why are you up so late?”  I tell her, “Oh good old Menopause.”  (I refuse to protect that be-otch!  I am not taking Men-o-pause on alone, the secret's out. Hrrrrumpffffff!)  My daughter responds, “Oh, I can’t wait for that, no thank you, go back to pre-puberty? Blecchhkkk!” 

I get stuck here and maybe this makes me question the meaning of life and the possibility of a higher being…I start to think of my favorite book from early puberty, the one that all girls read collectively and knew intimately.  It also dealt with religion and the belief in God.  That beautiful story of that other rite of passage by Judy Blume, when we were all crossing our fingers and hoping for our periods and our breasts to emerge….

"Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God."
      Judy Blume, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

I stop questioning God, or a higher power, because this can't be a natural occurrence.  Natural occurrences don’t  understand human interactions, in fact nature doesn’t typically distinguish whether it’s taking out a tree or a small family or a nuclear power plant when it launches a hurricane or tsunami.  But, Menopause?  Now that is one sick sense of humor that only a male-like deity could create.  Pre-puberty?  Before Menses?  I think not!  Let me tell you something, If I had my current height with my pre-pubescent build? Well, let’s just say women in their 50’s would be the goddesses that our youth try so hard to emulate or date.  I was a stick of a thing in my prepubescent state.  With my stylin' pixie haircut?  OMG Fab-u-lous!  Oh Yeah, I would be owning that cat walk and my claws, or talons would be waving bye-bye and taking a few eyeballs out just for fun.  But, nooooooooo.  I have a mustache and a beer gut.  What in the name of Menopause is that about?  A five-oclock shadow, an occasional snore, dry, transparent skin and panic attacks.  What’s next?  Funky Man Odor and ass-scratching in public? 

Uh-Oh.... Are you there God? It’s me, Menopausal Madwoman.  I didn’t mean those last comments.  I can’t control anything these days.  But really, if you’re there God, I would like to have less facial hair growth, I will work on the muffin-top or beer gut myself once I get to sleep through the night again and have enough energy when the gym is open…..and maybe God? If you’re still there, I wouldn’t mind if Philip Leroy, or Tom, Dick, or Harry would dance with me, or say hello, or have some God-forsaken moment of understanding that I am going through "the change", and these bursts of freakish insanity really don't represent the sweet, sassy, loving, sex fiend I truly am.  But maybe God?.... if they weren’t all dating twenty year olds with moisture producing skin ducts my friends and I would be a lot easier to talk to!  God?  What exactly is your problem with women?   What kind of sick joker are you?  Yeah! I’m talking to you, God! Really? You aren’t going to answer?  Oh, nice, you're going to pretend you can't hear me and the other 3 plus billion women out here?  You are just going to zap me with electricity and have my eyes swell and burst with tears?  You do know that I am not really producing a great deal of moisture these days and having all those salty tears flow down my dry skin, burns?  Oh?  You did know that?  Yeah, you are a real peach aren’t you now?  Oh yeah. I guess this was your master plan after all.  Well, OK. Thanks, God. 

Was that my last bird who just burnt rubber in the front of my house…..?  Did he pack my eight tracks?  

OK, Soooooo God, Old pal...JK, No, no, no, not "JC", jk, as in just kidding.  Yeah, I'm still a spitfire, little, sassy, cracker-jack.  I know you have this all worked out and one day I will be let in on the joke and suddenly it will all be clear.  But if you aren't too busy, ....the facial hair?  and the bursts of crazy?  Well, how will I ever get 7 minutes in heaven without a little help from my friend in a mighty high place?  Just sayin, Margaret got her 7 minutes and she was prepubescent and moody and probably had a lot of zits...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Zen and the Art of Love, Friendship and 49 Cent Fuses

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is one of those books I read and appreciated deeply.  I might have liked the concept of taking apart machinery and putting it back together.  Like some Zen goddess, I love figuring out the interdependent intricacies of how things work.  How one gear sets everything in motion or how one belt can stop everything with a halting screech after a long drawn out almost inaudible squeal, or whirrrrrrrrr.  I like to know how things work and why.  Machinery, electric wiring, cars, people…..myself in the world.  Well, maybe a Zen goddess just quietly accepts the intricacies and whirrrrrs and finds her place without question.....

There are times when Damn it all! I just want things to work.  I want to rely on something or someone and I don’t want to put much thought into it all.  I equate this to my early upbringing as a Queens girl.  You turn on a faucet the water comes out, Hallelujah Jiminy Crickets the world is a beautiful place to be!   Don’t ask, don’t tell, I don’t need to know, just keep the gears moving and tell me where I need to be a cog and in what wheel.   I didn’t need to know where water came from or how or why.  It just did.  All the time.  Without fail.  

I lived for several years in Western New York on a farm (don’t ask).  The lovely charming couple that sold said farm, built a darling modernized, contemporary ranch across the street and maybe 500 yards to the left.  They neglected to disclose that the barn across the street that was now neatly partitioned with their modern contemporary and darling ranch house, also contained access to the well that supplied sufficient water to the house and surrounding farm acreage.  They closed off this particular well when they sold the farm and took it with them, leaving me with access to a hand dug 25 foot well from perhaps the Neolithic time period, or maybe if I’m feeling generous, it could have been from Medieval times.  The 2500 square foot house I purchased in the late 1980’s with an interest rate of 13% at a time when it was believed rates would continue to climb… was not meant to operate with a 25 foot hand dug well.  Needless to say, I started to understand that water actually came from somewhere, or it did not.  Often, water came not.   On that farm.

Water is not something I like to be without or give much thought to.  Transportation, or the lack of access to it, is another area that I don’t have a great deal of tolerance around.   Queens.  Girl.  You know how it goes….You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.  Subways, buses, feet.  Mobility is an important thing.  When you move beyond the five boroughs, however, transportation options are limited and never guaranteed. You can’t really take them for granted.   I have not lived within the 5 boroughs in over 28 years, give or take a week or two just to be clear.  And I purchased my first car while living within access to all of this readily available public transportation because I liked the freedom afforded in a vehicle you can call your own, even if it was a rusted, cold-war-orange-colored '72 Saab 99 from the days when Khmer-Rouge was in existence, as well as Czechoslovakia, and Nixon was in office.  The ignition was on the floor of the car, the roll top sunroof would occasionally blow open mid ride and the small hole in the floor of the back seat would occasionally make me think of the Flintstones and how they operated their mode of transportation.   The previous owners, beat this car down, on the cold, snow and salt covered roads of Burlington, Vermont during 'Nam. I only say this because it sounds nostalgic and important.  I purchased it in '83 for $200.00 with a ball of wire, which might also sound nostalgic, Khmer Rouge no longer existed, Nixon was a dirty word, and Czechoslovakia was morphing into the Czech Republic or Slovakia.

I learned how to replace the driver’s side window after some rowdy, Met's fans broke in and stole my boom box.  (I lived at that time, within walking distance of Shea Stadium, which is now likely called, Disney, or Bloomberg, or Kardashian, or maybe it's Citicorp Field-who can keep up?).   Anyway, I’ve been a Yankees fan since.  I learned which auto parts stores in Astoria carried various and random parts I needed.  I learned which garage in Williamsburg stayed open late on the weekends.  Long before Williamsburg was a place anyone ever went to, let alone became a desirable zip code.  I learned what I would need to do, if I needed to abandon it on the road side, if it got to the point that it died, as it sometimes did, and could no longer take me to Montauk, or Robert Moses Beach, or Bear Mountain State Park for a Sunday drive.  (Occasionally, it’s handy to have relatives in the police force to help you figure out covert operations on the cheap.) I learned how a 49 cent fuse could make all the difference between abandonment and saving grace. 

I still feel occasionally put off by the inconvenience of needing a car and knowing they are not always dependable or reliable.   And so I like to imagine myself a Zen-like goddess that can sometimes fix and repair cars in my care.  A few years ago, I figured out how to replace the heat accuator motor in my Ford Windstar.  I felt thrilled and accomplished and was happy to have a very slight and nimble 13 year old at my steed, to climb in through the radio access door to replace the pieces that I purchased, with grace and speed.  We worked together as a very compatible team and saved a few hundred dollars and felt quite zen like in the process.  At least I did. 

Fast forward 4 years and my slight and nimble car repair companion hovers 7 inches or so above me.  He can’t exactly maneuver himself through any bypass doors or curl up under the pedals to screw in a component or tighten a wire or two.  Worse?  As my car is in the repair shop I am borrowing his vehicle.  And, sadly, in spite of my love for jerry-rigging and Zen-like repair and maintenance, he can’t be bothered.  The more computerized all of the wires and electrical functions have become, the harder it is to fix a darn tooting thing in a car these days.   And he has other things to do with his time.   

Last week I had the thrilling pleasure of taking his car to the shop to be fixed.  After he pulled out one radio to replace it with another hub woofing, bass beating, ass-kicking version of the first….he was a little dismayed to discover, A) the new super sonic sound machine doesn’t work.  B) he can’t restore the old radio to its functional, operating place in the world and C) now his dashboard lights are no longer working.  After going a tad nuts about why it is ab-so-stinking-lutely not safe to drive without dashboard lights I require that he get it fixed.  Which means he said “Yup”, but that’s as far as it got-until I decide to take his car to get repaired while I am recovering from minor surgery, because well, when else do I have a free day?  As I was waiting for his car, cheerily even, believe it or not, I decide to throw in the inspection and an oil change.  I’m scheduled to come in, and I’m asked to come in at specific time, because it will be done in a speedy quick jiffy, if I do.  Maybe 20 minutes.  The car had spent some time there prior to my visit so everything was already figured out.  I come, when I am directed, only to find out the needed part wasn’t ordered.  I am assured that isn’t really a problem because they can send someone right quick…Right quick turns into an hour and a half.  Lunch interferes and adds on another hour, the return from lunch is when it’s discovered that the wrong part was ordered, and hence delivered, and low and behold, they won’t be able to get the right one until next week. 

And, what can you do really?  We rely on these cars, we have to keep them operating, right?  In addition to the other problems, now the shop somehow added a new feature.  The parking lights won’t go off.  At all.  The suggested remedy in the meantime is to pull out a fuse, to turn off the lights so they won’t burn out the battery until the right part comes in.  OK fine.  Worse problems exist in the world.  My car will be ready for pick up….tonight.  No? Monday?  OK that’s inconvenient but….Tuesday? Oh you just discovered after having it in the shop for 8 days what’s wrong? But you prrrrrooooommmmmiiiissssssedddd.  I’m whining. I’m frustrated. My son is getting impatient.  I have been borrowing his car and popping open the hood to pull out the fuse for three days now.  (Just for the record, his real problem is the body component module and the pricey reprogramming with the scanning device available in only 3 GM certified garages across the state, jerry-rigging is a long shot, but a much cheaper alternative if it works.  I’m not sure why I know these things, but I do.  It could relate to Queens, and my humble beginnings and desire to be self-reliant and financially savvy, but my siblings don't know this stuff, or give a Queens-sized rat's ass about it….)

This morning, in the rain, with my bandaged, booted, post surgery foot, I am yanking out the fuse. I am wondering how my life became this strange and odd comic book version of the worst case scenario.  And yet I’m happy.  Truly. Calm even.  I think that bunion on my right foot might have been altering my entire well-being, my disposition, and my outlook on life.  The way brain tumors might. Or TBI.  This is worth investigating…but not right now.   I head into school, put in my time.  Have an enjoyable day.  I am nearing the end of the car borrowing, fuse pulling, transportation transition and I am all the happier for it, until, I go to start the car and the battery is dead.   When I was finished yanking the fuse, and getting all happy, I apparently neglected to turn off the headlights.   

Can this really be my life?  I’m wondering.  And yet I’m not even frazzled.  It’s really just laughable at this point and I've discovered help is not far away.  Ever.  I suppose the laugh is on me, in me and through me or emanating from me.  This has become my life and it’s filled with people that I can rely on and depend on for help, to listen, to laugh along with.  Which can only mean one thing really...I am operating at full capacity, finally, and I am functioning once more, with others, like a well-oiled machine.  Zen and the art of love, friendship and 49 cent fuses have been my saving grace.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Zippity Doo Dah, Zippity Date

This morning I arose, drove my son to school, all filled up with the joy and beauty of a new day. No, Really, it's true. In spite of my snarky, odd-ball point of view and wizened Yankee-like disposition, which can sometimes appear cold, hard, and coastal, as in barnacled, and my devil may care smile, the joy and beauty of each day ALWAYS stops me               and   s l o w l y  fills me with gratitude. I feel blessed each morning in the beautiful Hudson Valley.  So, today was a little like everyday, bless-ed.   In addition to the external beauty, I started to think more thoughts and connect more dots and maybe, just maybe I have reached some point of Nirvana in my greater understanding of me as a possible “date” out in the world.  Acceptance. Harmonious joy. Namaste.

This recent acceptance was helped along somewhat by the big, old, by now, just plain annoying coverage of Manti Te’o.  Why is it being highlighted and examined ad nauseum Honestly.  Leave it be already.  We have become such a nation of bone-sucking vultures, awaiting to pounce on someone else's misfortune, mistake or misstep.   I can tell you, I have had a fewAnd I count myself in some very good, bad, and regular ordinary and average company.   I just hope that when I stumble again and misstep that I will not be judged solely on that moment in time.  Even if that moment occurs stretched out across a year or so.  I live by the ideal that grace and forgiveness accompanies personal accountability, and a million or so apologies.  That's what I can offer, and that's what I want in return.  With our widespread fear and panic of germs, we're not likely to walk in each others moccasins anytime soon.  Mind your own beeswax is another plan.  And it's germ free.  Sorry, I went off on my little misguided media soapbox.

Manti Te'o and the circus spectacurama news parade have helped me reach my peaceful conclusions about myself.  I am at the other side of examining some scary cybery mishaps of my own.  Please don’t send the news crews or check into my phone records or look underneath my toaster or in my junk drawer.  No body parts, just crumbs and tangled balls of string and tape and sticky grime. Just know this: it got messy.  My toaster, my junk drawer, behind the refrigerator, attempting to communicate via text, just a big old mess.  The unknown landscape of putting yourself out in the world in hopes of receiving positive attention or to make sense of  those big giant tingly feelings we have while simultaneously knowing it might end in rejection can just be oozing with messy.  Texting and on-line romance can seem safe, and tidy.  If it doesn't pan out no one has to come and collect his/her toothbrush or decide who gets to keep the whatever.   There are the sms records and the messages that are permanently floating around in space.  And the news vans and the constant disruptions of the press knocking at your door.  Messy.

All this because dating sucks. There. I said it.  Sure, there are those sweet times when you get all gushy with excitement, and all light headed and floaty feeling when dating seems momentarily magic. You know, when that special someone is acting and feeling special at the very same time and very same place that you are.  When everything falls into place and before you know it, you’re at that special restaurant with the red checked table cloth, and the bottle of Chianti and the swirled spaghetti that you both swirled together meets up in that special …..kiss. Oh. That’s that cartoon isn’t it?  That wasn’t me and…..?  Um, yeah I guess it was those cute little Disney dogs. But wasn’t that special? And Peggy Lee is singing that song and the streets outside just happen to be in Paris, or New York City in the spring, or maybe it’s Rome…..

Ah, yes, dating sucks. Because it usually doesn’t meet those cartoon sized romanticized expectations. And you have to throw yourself out there. And if you have to throw yourself out there, well, that means you are kind of in this alone and…. Oh my, I might need to lie down for a spell and recall why I thought I had reached Nirvana in the broad overview of dating, as me.

OK, I remember. I don’t like to try out new things in front of others unless I have some sense of confidence, or experience in the area, or trust and safety is established. I know this is a widely shared feeling.   Of course there are the rare .003% of us that will do anything and try anything and not think twice about jumping off a cliff or into a fire or asking someone out on a date. And well, in some cases they die, quickly, and foolishly and they kind of had it coming. Even the hard core adventure bound weekend warrior type risk-takers typically have some level of skill or knowledge and the ability to pull a rip cord or tie a strong knot around their caribiners. When they perish, we think, they were so adventurous, they liked taking risks, they died doing what they loved. There’s more respect in it. The rest of us, we move through the Earth, on the time and space continuum safely, cautiously and maybe some a tad more anxiously than others, like me. 

I tried out some risk-taking attempts toward dating.  I tried longer and harder in one particularly, long drawn out instance just to try to get to the first date. I felt outrageously uncomfortable. I pulled my rip cord a few times, I might have even attached the caribiner and tied up the potential date-mate but I'm not sure...  I threw myself into a few on-coming trains and I kicked and spit and smiled wantonly just for good measure.  In the end, I never presented myself long-enough or consistently enough or calmly enough to appear remotely appealing, or appear anywhere close to myself.  I think I needed to remind myself that dating sucks. I completed the task with flying colors.

Nowadays, the texting, chatting, facebooking, twittering piece is just a part of the fabric. Which really complicates things, for those of us that are not big risk takers or skilled risk takers and don’t have the devil may care approach piece in place. Those of us like myself and Manti Te’o and all of those other crazed lunatics that marry people in prison without ever seeing them face to face because taking risks is HARD and UNCOMFORTABLE. Texting and on-line dating provide this false sense of a secret place to ask and share and reveal all sorts of things in this seemingly safe venue in the safety and comfort of your own bedroom, or breakroom, or on line at the super market. There’s quite a bit of research being done on thisThere are many theories on why this is happening and how it is happening and honest to goodness just leave Manti alone already. Maybe he was duped. Maybe he duped us all. But Really? I don’t believe Manti owes me an explanation.  And if we are afraid as a nation that he duped us all for fame, well I think some of us handed him the key to the Warhol City of 15 days of fame with a grand tour of fantasy proportioned spotlights and celebrity making.

I personally miss the phone, that peach fleshy or avocado green one chained to the kitchen.  The one you had to dial. And wait for the dial to rotate back to the starting point before you could dial the next number.  Back in the olden days, phones offered so much more safety and built in all of these now missing parameters. First and foremost way back when in my life when dating was taking place at the intended timeframe on the regular ordinary developmental pathway, my mother was usually the first line of defense on the phone and the dating frontier. If you got past her, well, you were something. Courageous, strong, and determined, I’d say. One did.  He made a raspberry at her, over the phoneLegendary.  I think it scared me that he was bold enough to take her on.  He's the one that got away.  Or he might have been one of those risk-taking cliff jumpers who would surely perish, because my mother was hard to get past on that phone. The avacado green one that was tethered to the wall within earshot of her and anyone else that wanted to know, “Who’s on the phone?” "Who's she talking too?"  "How long are you going to be, I'm expecting a call?You had to be quick on your feet and charmingly quick with your language skills. 5 minutes in, my mother would be announcing it was time to free up the phone line, or do homework, and the cost of the call would need to be a consideration…People were busy way back then.  We didn't have all this extra time to be making all these phonecalls. Parameters. Healthy boundaries. Structure and controls built in. Life was good way back then….At least things had to be done out in the open more or less. Some things anyway.

Recently, out to dinner with a dynamic and attractive friend, we started talking about dating. When, how, wishing it could be easier.  Through humor and kindness, and maybe a couple of shared hijinks, we reach acceptance about our desire to find dates.   The reality is, our shared local time and space dating continuum potential, is limited at best. We discuss dating sites, and the pitfalls of them. I share some of  the insanity of my last approach. I reveal what I believe is  the perfect scenario for me to be seen as potential dating material. I need to be experienced in somewhat natural surroundings. Just doing my thing and being me without all the dating angst. It would look something like this; I’m outside. Probably in my little garden. There’s a sundress involved. Oh, I don’t know maybe the farmer across the street, or the farmhands, all of whom are 50+ years old and still able to put in a good days work toiling in the fields, they, he, any which one, well not any…see me. He, of the many, notices me day after day in my sundress, in my garden, working, struggling with an unruly root or hammering a chair that I just created from assorted types of milled and rough hewn wood, or maybe I'm beading or sewing, you get the picture.  I'm seeing something through, maybe smiling and watching the birds whistle and flutter about. Of course,
earlier in the day I brought a pie out to cool, and he noticed that too. After a brief time, he approaches, strikes up a conversation, we get to talking, we laugh, eventually we decide to meet for a picnic, a drink, a walk in the park. Except I don't actually live across the street from a farm....

The bottom line? I want to be seen. Over time. And the potential He-man needs to come to his own conclusions without any tampering from me and my keyboard. Because, you see, texting just doesn’t offer the view. The time and the space. The opportunity for me to gain confidence and the comfort of building trust. I've come to a conclusion about myself and making any attempts toward dating. In my Nirvana reached dating peak, I have decided the writing of the profile or the attempts to text your best features are not conducive to dating, in fact they have been detrimental, for me. On a keyboard I determine my own best features and maybe some certain he really likes knobby knees and the way my sundress gets caught on the swinging gate, every time, causing me to trip, slightly vulnerable, and a little goofy. And my pies are good. So I need to be seen to be appreciated.  And this summer I will be outside happily working on some thing or other.  I have time.  I have a whole lot of other aspects and chakras that are Nirvana bound.

Meanwhile,  I might need to start hanging out at the local Grange Hall and putting up some peaches. I just might fulfill my biggest fantasy in this lifetime…it involves a barn and some hay.  A flowery sundress.  I'll settle for jeans if the overalls seem a bit much.  Maybe I’m humming some old spiritual song with that farmer or the farmhand. The good, strong, decent one that still likes to toil in the field all hot and sweaty like, unnn hummmm. Oh yes.
Wasn’t this another Disney movie?  Weren’t there birds singing? ....Is that a new movie, 50 Shades of Disney Cartoon characters?.... Is there speed dating at the CSA?  I mean slow, and steady opportunities to toil in the hot field of you never know...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Feets (used to be) Too Big and Too Bumpy

I broke out today.  Post foot surgery.  Hostage to my couch and living room.  Me?   Immobilized? Crazy, laughable nonsense!  Around 2 days in I made my way upstairs. The third day I found my compression boot and was at least partially mobile, but cautious.  I did stay indoors and I didn't drive.   It's been 17 degrees with a windchill of 20 below, so the indoor thing wasn't tooooo hard to abide.  (An earlier post made reference to a Universe informed prediction from a feel good website suggesting this was going to be my break out year.   I'm hoping this is not what was meant.)   

It's a week after surgery and I have my first post op check-up today.  What's a girl to do?  I just couldn't interfere with my son’s swim practice schedule.  I tried slightly to reach out for a ride but I guess I'll have to drive myself.  Wooooooohooooo Hot Damn!  I'm free!!!    My son came home to give me his car.  Mine is at the body shop getting it’s deformity, or hood, repositioned from the cab crap shoot that closed out last year.   I tell him I'm just going to try it out, if I'm ok I'll pull over and switch, not wanting to over do it.  This is the first time I'm driving his car ever.  And the first time I'm out of the house, in a week.  Let's just say I'm a little giddy with excitement.  His car seems to be just as giddy with excitement.  Loose knobs, wiggly flasher adjustment, loose steering.  Now I can't pull over because the giddy excitement and the loose knobs have me holding on tight as I take the curves all wide and loose. I'm a little afraid to step on the brakes too soon,  what with the wound and the stitches and the strict orders not to use my foot.  God, is it thrilling to be out of the house and driving! 

I drop him off at practice and make my way to the doctor’s office.  I feel a little deceitful grabbing the crutches and hobbling into the office- but it's not like I'm standing in front of the office with the crutches and a tin cup.  And it’s almost Lenten season, I need something to confess.  I'm a little worried about the x-ray or the pain that might come from unwrapping and poking around at it.  It looks pretty good.  In the scheme of things.  I suppose.  I'm not a good judge.  I don't like feet much.  Earlier this year, the first day of school in fact, one of my returning students was so excited to see me she jumped up to hug me and landed, squarely on my big toe.   She's a handful, that one.  I guess I got a toeful that day in exchange. By the  weekend, the entire toenail came undone.  Just came right up and off as though it was a press-on. Full. Intact.  And now 5 months later, its still not replaced.  It's kind of green and navyish.  Shredded around the edges.  And then there's the bunions.  And the corns.  And the toes that bend a couple of different opposing ways. 

I was stripped of the illusion of pretty feet when I was around 9.  I was at the local pool with my best friend and after noticing my wet foot prints she stopped and laughed and pointed and said - "What's wrong with your feet?!!"  And laughed some more as I looked from my feet to my foot prints to her feet.  As though I didn't realize I was a green eyed purple people eater with hooves, that's how I was looking and feeling as I was trying to calculate when and how and why I never noticed before.  But not really.  I looked, I thought my feet were lovely and I said "Maybe something's wrong with your feet.  Did you ever think of that?"  I imagine after saying that I might have looked down and slightly to the right with my hand on my bikini covered hip.  The way only 9 year old girls can respond to their best friends, before hopping or skipping or smoothing my towel out to put in maybe 3 minutes towards sunbathing time.   But I heard her words and took them in and I started noticing until I could look no more at other’s feet, or my own shameful,  disfigured pair.     

I decided to get my left foot done a couple of years ago.  It hurt for a while after, a lot, causing me to temporarily regret having it done. After a while I didn’t much notice it.  I suppose that meant it heeled OK.  I'm an avid hiker and last summer I started realizing that my right hip didn’t seem to move quite the way it once had, and I started noticing that if I hiked for a long while that  right hip seemed to get pretty pissed off at the rest of me.  I started running a couple of years  ago, too.  My right knee would every now and again sort of decide it wanted to find a different way to go, not liking to always have to go in the same direction as my feet.  Kind of like when you are holding a 4 year olds hand, comfortably, and you don't quite notice that they are lagging behind or not paying close attention, but just as a car turns the corner you find yourself yanking that 4 year old hard and straight. And they look at you with fright, at their first  lesson in the realness that they are not the center of the world and just maybe you weren't kidding when you said “I put you into this world, and I can take you  out, little man, unn hmmm”.  Well except that my right knee started yanking my entire body mid run, hard and straight, stopping me in my tracks.  So a few of those right knee getting too high and mighty moments were enough to let me know maybe if my beautifully, ahem, bunioned foot was operating at full capacity and not acting all weak and sorrowful- my knee and hip could pull my caboose across  a couple more mountains- like 23 or so.

As I sit in the waiting room with my crutches close by, and the guilty knowledge of not really using them, I start to think up all of this foot stuff.  I decide feet are just ugly.  I don’t feel too badly here in this opinion.  It’s not like I’m really putting myself down or trying to hold off a pity party.  I don’t get fetishes.  Period.  But a foot fetish?  OK to each his own.  I do start to feel a little guilty pleasure recalling how, not so long ago, I had seen someone’s foot and I actually starting thinking it sort of matched his character.  This much is true.  I really had that thought.  Some girls go for tight abs or buns or even hands.  But this guys feet?  They were beat to crap.  Hold on now.  I know I said they matched his character.  It worked like this for me, they were beat to crap, and unapologetic.  They were lived in and they looked like they had covered some real miles.  REAL miles.  The kind that could beat the crap out of someone.  But then, there they were, visible and unashamed and ready to go a few more miles.  I liked that.  Right out and OK with it.  Take it or leave it.  Of course it’s off beat. I know this.  And off the beaten trail.  Like my knee, and my take on the world.  And maybe it was an odd thing to share.  I lost myself for a moment or two.

So what I was thinking when I first got into the waiting room was “Why would anyone become a foot doctor?”  But maybe, feet have a way of telling a lot about a person.   Maybe another way to get to know someone.  Or maybe feet aren't so bad.   I just hope the doctor can’t tell I haven’t been a very good patient when he looks at mine.

I got my walking papers.  Cleared for take off.  Running begins in six weeks.  I’m free!  WoooooHoooo!  And the foot guy?  Yeah, well, I might have been a little too off the beaten path for his appealing, I mean tired dogs. And I'm freeeeeee!  WoooHoooooo!

A few years ago I saw Five Guys Named Moe.  I had a belly laugh hearing Fat’s Waller song, Your Feets Too Big.  My feets was always too big and too bumpy.    It’s always good to know we’re not ever alone in our flaws so I included the link here.