Friday, February 21, 2014

Cruel and Unusual Amusement

*I checked. I haven't posted on here for over 6 months. Yeah, yeah ... I've been busy, guys. Get off my back. Let's see ... I've moved from my home of 20 years into a lakefront, fixer-upper cottage, I've had a new grandchild and I've turned the corner on my sixth decade. 

So what prompted my setting down my paintbrush and Aleve and taking this little time-out to return to journaling about the minutiae of my life, the pieces of my mind? You only get one guess and even that doesn't count:
                                     A rib-pounding bout of laughter. What else?

So I was having this dream, one of those ones where the heroic protagonist (me) is locked in battle with an evil force. In this particular case, that force was an especially mean-girl type, who actually killed people by driving them crazy by grabbing onto them in a bear hug and never letting go. Ever. By way of interpretation, this may mean I don't like overly-needy types, or I've conformed to imagining a gentler form of murder after all these years of maternal censoring. Who knows? Who cares? It was a dream. Anyway, this evil, human boa constrictor had already killed others and was setting her snake eyes on me.

Then she made the grab. I went crazy, launching into a frantic fist-swinging fight for my life. In the dream, I was severely clobbering her about the head and neck. Then, out of the dream, I heard someone say OUCH!

It's true -- you always hurt the one you love. Apparently, in my vigorous somnolent struggle to live another day, I had decked my husband.

Naturally, I woke up and ... well, inside I felt a great deal of shame and remorse, but that wasn't adequately reflected in my external behavior. I could barely squeak out an apology through my hysterical laughter. I mean, come on. It was soooooooo funny! Just imagine -- one minute you're having a very realistic dream in which you're an indomitable force for good, and the next, you hear someone outside of that world say, indignantly, "OUCH!"

For once in my life, I could nearly grasp of the implications of The Hurt Locker.

And the harder I tried to explain, the harder I laughed. Fortunately, I was able to establish that I hadn't injured him (as if he'd admit it), which only served to free me to come completely unhinged.

I laughed until I cried. I laughed until I gagged. I laughed until the entire bed quaked. I laughed until I could actually hear my victim trying to suppress his own chuckles. Finally, I had to get up and walk it off. I drank some cold water. I paced, and the dog looked at me with a furrowed brow. His expression said, should I run for help, perhaps call 911? When I finally climbed back into bed, I still battled the occasional choked outburst.

It was painful and luxurious at the same time. I love nothing more than an uncontrollable siege of laughter; I truly believe it is life-extending. So while I didn't want my protracted period of enjoyment to spill over into the cruel and heartless, I thought it felt just great. Just what the doctor ordered as a detox after months of unrelenting stress.

Fortunately, my husband's a good sport. Usually.

So here it is the morning after, and I'm feeling refreshed and, for the first time in months, my muse has worked it's way out of hibernation. Thank you, God.

And thank you, mean girl and hubby. I owe you. I will resist the urge to hit either of you the next time you really tick me off.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Keeping it Simple

I just found my cell phone in my makeup case. Stuffed right in there beside my mascara and loose powder.

What's worse is I knew it would be there. I had spent a big chunk of the evening looking for it in all the logical places -- purse, car, desk, bathroom, upstairs, downstairs, pockets, back deck, kitchen counter. No go. So I sat down in front of a mindless television show (a great way to concentrate ... on anything but the show) and practiced a type of mindfulness I learned on Sesame Street years ago, when my kids were little: Walk backwards through your mind. I had said this many times over the years to tender, forgetful little ears.

Okay, I'd finished dinner, taken a shower and dabbed on a little bit o' pretty, even though my husband was likely to be the only human being to see me at that hour. (After thirty-five years of marriage, it's no time to start taking things for granted.) I could absolutely visualize myself scooping up my compacts, tubes and cell phone and putting them away ... together.

Thanks, Bert and Ernie. Once again, I note that your wise words are still a valuable resource for me. And I think I'm in good company. I remember a brilliant young woman who once told me that what she learned from an association game that was a regular feature in Highlights magazine helped her ace a section of her LSAT's. She also said her peers complained that specific section was the most difficult for them.

I guess there are all kinds of things we accomplished a long time ago that we shouldn't take for granted.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mower Madness

I am fit to be tied. FIT. TO. BE. TIED.

Nothing, I mean nothing, pushes me to this degree of fitness like feeling inept. A sense of ineptitude makes me furious with myself and takes me to the mat in a fraction of a second. And if I anticipate that sense of ineptitude, I'm likely to throw myself on the mat voluntarily and await the inevitable. Then, when the fury descends on me, it's a little like being in a padded room.

If that doesn't make any sense to you, pretend it does, because you DON'T want to take me on right now. All I need is an excuse to Stooge-poke your eyes.

Why? I can't get the mower started.

This is one of those asinine things that falls within the traditional realm of manly duties that my husband usually assumes, because -- and this is my considered belief -- he thinks I'll screw it up. And I can't even spunkily prove him wrong because I can't get the damn thing started!

I tried everything. Clutch in, weight back in the seat, choke out a little. No go. And here's the depth of my desperation to prove I can mow the lawn with the hairiest of men: I Googled *starting a mower* on the Internet. Don't even say it -- I know that just makes me more pitiful. (Do you have any idea what it takes for me even to admit that I did it?)

Know what the Cub Cadet site said? That I did everything right! Know what that tells me? THAT EVEN CUB CADET DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO START THEIR MOWERS. But that gives a woman determined to assert her self-sufficiency little comfort.

A minute ago my husband called to tell me he was finished golfing, and I oh-so casually mentioned I was having difficulty getting the mower started. He replied, "Oh, that thing is really tricky to start. I'll do it when I get home." I thanked him, not revealing my aforementioned fitness to be tied. Then I hung up and fell to my knees, sending up a prayer of gratitude that our particular Cub Cadet riding mower has a difficult disposition and that I am not as inept as I thought I was.

I'm trying to block out the thought that Jim is currently on his way home, saying thanks that I didn't get the opportunity to screw up mowing the lawn.

He probably installed a hidden kill switch somewhere on the mower, just in case I ever got a burr under my saddle to mow the lawn when he wasn't around.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Post on Ask the Go-To Girls!

Check out what's been happenin' (or, in Best-in-Show talk, "Wuh HOPPEN??") that's causing such a lull in the GTG action!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Big 3-5 Anniversary Bash

If you were to say my husband and I are a match made in heaven, you'd get no argument from me. On the other hand, if you were to say ours is a storybook romance, I'd accuse you of  reading a lot of Dr. Seuss. Case in point: Our 35th anniversary dinner.

Mind you, I'm not saying our marriage has been completely or even primarily Seussian. We've enjoyed some normality ... just enough to put us on the fringes of traditional but keep us osmosing into full-frontal social acceptability, which, as a status quo, just wouldn't be a prudent choice for us.

But enough background bio, here's what we did to celebrate our 35 years of domestic blisters:

With quaint intentions, we drove to a darling little lakeside community an hour away to enjoy the atmosphere, Jim in his sensible shorts and running shoes and me in my airy, white gauze peasant skirt and theretofore comfortable flats. Gotta look age-appropriately chic for your anniversary trek, right? It was a beautiful, albeit hot, summer day. (Bit o' foreshadowing there, btw.)

So we took off our shoes and walked the hot sandy beach, stopping to admire an especially fine specimen of a rescued brindle-colored Great Dane, who was all nuzzly and sweet. Having owned a giant-breed dog ourselves, an Irish Wolfhound, we bonded with her owners, engaging in the fraternal secret handshake and code language only colossal-dog families are privy to. Then we took to the streets, foraging around in antiques shops -- for my husband, a big enough nod to my idea of fun, not his, to displace his C-2 vertabra -- and generally sightseeing the adorable, vintage surroundings.

Not far into the process, I noticed I was sweating profusely and developing a blister on my right heel. But what doting, 35-years-married woman would be so self-absorbed as to give up such a picture-perfect anniversary outing as this because of a few minor physical complaints? Not this tough old broad!

So I slipped off my shoes (bare feet and white gauze skirts go together, right?) and we continued our trek, strolling around the cute little neighborhoods bordering the downtown area, taking in the sights ... on hot asphalt. So now my condition was worsening from sweaty and blistered to drenched, drippy and lame on both bare, fricasseed soles.

This is one of those moments in a woman's life when she reminds herself about her birthing experiences as a means of putting uncomfortable physical experiences into perspective.

Fortunately, we made it back to a quaint, authentic-looking Czechoslovakian restaurant we had noticed earlier in the death march. Jim sauntered in and I staggered behind him on my bloody stumps. The air conditioning felt borderline orgasmic. The hostess approached and said she liked my outfit. I wondered in what universe a dusty white gauze skirt and a knit tank top with sweat marks the size of frisbees were fashionable.

I managed to make it to the restroom and fall into the sink, splashing my face with cold water and inspecting the soles of my feet. I dared not look in the mirror, a real exercise in self control for the likes of me. When I reemerged, Jim was seated at a table beside the "entertainment" -- a old fashioned, presumably Czechoslovakian gal with a long skirt pulled up to her ribcage and a gray bun on the back of her head, seated at an electonic keyboard. I looked around for the first time since we'd entered and observed much souvenir-looking decor, suggestive of a Czechoslovakian amusement park gift shop.

As I sat down, Jim and the "entertainment" were discussing what we'd like her to play ... at her performing station two feet away from our table. She was saying she could do almost anything, with the exception of the piece requested earlier by a party that had just left: Smoke on the Water.

Jim requested Purple Haze. I kicked him under the table with one of my bloody stumps. The entertainment launched into an electronic organ rendition of Jack the Knife. It was surprising soothing.

The music, along with the airco and high-fat paprikash and spaetzle I comforted myself with, worked wonders. I suppose the Czech beer didn't hurt any, either. Afterwards, I barely hobbled back to the car and settled in for the long ride home with my feet propped on the dashboard, covering the air-co vents. Frankly, I didn't care what the truckers saw when they looked up my grimy white gauze skirt. It couldn't possibly have tempted them to linger.

So ended a fitting salute to three and a half decades of our brand of romance, the kind that occasionally hurts so good. And now for at least thirty-five more of the same, but maybe in orthopedic shoes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More on (or "Moron") Age-Appropriate Attire (the subject that will not die)

*Before I write another word, utter another e-peep, read and listen to the latest Ask the Go-To Girls latest: podcast #16:

               dress your age, not your shoe size

And in the spirit of age-appropriate dressing, I, the Uppity Woman, additionally offer you this:

How much bling is appropriate after 50? Are these "old friends" being too ostentatious?
(My dear friend Pam and I show off our dazzling, 4th of July, blinking-bling rings)

The subject of age-appropriate dressing seems to get itself in my face all the time lately. When a fifty-year old grandma asked the Go-To Girls whether or not her outfit was appropriate, it was only the beginning, the proverbial can of worms. (Wait ... surely there's a proverb that mentions a can of worms, right?)
So we did the podcast (click on link above to listen: dress your age, not your shoe size) and I thought we'd put the subject to rest, but NOOOO, it has reared its ugly rear -- I mean, head -- several times since.
Or maybe no more than usual, maybe I'm just sensitized to the issue now. For example, just today I opened Facebook to see this post from an "old friend" (interpret that as you will):

... today when I bought a dress...perfect fit, comfy, on sale...only to find out it was a maternity dress, my confidence and sense of style took a hit :(

Yes, it's funny, but that's not the point. The point is, we mature gals really do think about this topic a lot. SHOULD WE? I mean, aren't we supposed to be jauntily wearing purple and spitting in public these days?

What's up with that? I wanna know what YOU think! Talk to me.


Monday, June 11, 2012

I can explain ...

*For those of you who are following our sister blog, Ask the Go-To Girls, I offer this
post. For those of you who are only following The Uppity Woman, I also offer this post. I hate to break it to you, but I'm two-timing you.

I know, I know — you’re sick to death of my excuses and you’re beginning to think of me as mere mucus. Regardless, I’d like to try another mealy-mouthed explanation as to why there is no podcast available THIS WEEK.

Seriously, I have an even better reason than the Memorial Day/John Edwards one, and this one has the added advantage of being true.

Here it is — drum roll please: We were too busy.

Yes, you read that right. We were too busy to care what all of you, our dear friends, listeners and supporters, thought of our negligence. And there’s a dang good reason for that. I was embroiled in an urgent, electronic business conference.

Whaddyah mean that doesn’t sound like something I would ever be able to do, even in my wildest delusional state, during which I harbor the illusion that I’m a highly respected business magnate??? I would take umbrage if I weren’t actively groveling for your forgiveness right now.

But I am, so here is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth that I put my own slant on to sway your opinion of me:

On the only day the Go-To Girls could coordinate to record our podcast, I was embroiled in the aforementioned urgent, electronic business conference with a realtor, filling out an “Agreement to Buy” a lakefront building lot in South Carolina.

See? So there, Mrs. Jackson. I am fo’ real.

And for my next act, I will go for your sympathy …

After spending hours on the phone and online with the realtors, the bankers, the candlestick makers, I received the following message from the realtor:

“Um … hi Mailyn. I was just out walking the lot when the woman who lives next door came over and told me she bought it in May.”

Me, brain-fried but semi-celebratory and already swigging a beer to unwind after what I thought was a completed transaction:

“That’s bizarre.”

The realtor:

“Yes, it is bizarre.”

So there I was, all wily and pumped up about having negotated this slick deal and — HAMMER TIME, right on my head. Wouldn’t you know that the first foray into personal real estate acquisition for the hubby and me in 29 years, two months and six days — but who’s counting? — would turn out like this??

The final word is — well, we actually don’t have the final word yet. We should know sometime this afternoon. But the best-case scenario is that, if we actually get the lot, we’ll have a bitter, crazy woman as a next door neighbor.

And that, my friends, is why there is no podcast this week. I promise we’ll make it up to you next week.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get a beer.