Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Becoming Andy Rooney

I've been sick for over two weeks now.  The thing about getting old is it takes longer to recover from everything.  Even going to the grocery store requires I have a little down time to recuperate now.  But, having an illness or an injury is the absolute worst.  And I want to complain about it all the time.  How shitty I feel.  How I exhausted I am. But, no one cares.  I'm just an old curmudgeon with a plethora of grievances.  I've become Andy Rooney.

No one thinks they're going to become Andy Rooney (especially if it comes with the overgrown eyebrows and hunchback posture).  I'm pretty sure Andy Rooney didn't even want to be Andy Rooney.  But, sooner or later, it happens to all of us.  But, it happens so gradually you hardly even notice.  And then, before you know it you're that person who's outraged that the sign in the express line at the grocery store says '15 items or less' instead of fewer.  Or you're shocked that people don't know how to balance a checkbook anymore.

[As I write this it's 6:30am on Sunday morning and I've been up for an hour.  My husband just got out of bed and brought me an inhaler because, apparently, I've been coughing (completely unaware that I've been doing so) since I got up at 5:30am.  (Old people get up early, even on the weekends.) As a doctor, he's diagnosed me with asthma.  Which I think is a load of crap.  I've just had a cough for the past 9 years.  And hell if I'm going to use an inhaler and then become dependant on it.  All to solve a problem I don't even have. (Old people often live in denial.)]

Before I got sick with this respiratory illness (that I have no idea how I got because I'm basically a hermit who hangs out at home writing, reading and balancing my checkbook), I suffered an elbow injury back in December which aches constantly.  I feared it was Tennis Elbow; I also worry that I'm going to develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and/or Arthritis, which would restrict me from doing the things I love. My husband says it's just overuse and that I need to rest it. do I not use my elbow on my right arm?  I'm right handed.  And among all the other things I do, like laundry and making dinner, I also scribble reminder notes for myself on scraps of paper (which I later lose) with that hand.  Which is very important at this age.  Not to mention, balancing my checkbook. Making it impossible for me to rest my elbow.  Plus, as my husband likes to remind me,  I'm old, so it's going to take me even longer to heal.  So forget that, I've got to do stuff now while I still can. Before I die.

Last weekend my husband's band played a gig at a bar.  Thank god, he was slated to perform at 7:30pm: the early bird special.  I was already exhausted and just the thought of socializing at a bar on a Friday night depleted me even more.  Then, when the waitress came over to take my drink order she carded me.  Are you even joking?  Don't patronize me. Look at the scowl lines on my face.  Do young people have these?  I have earned each and every one of them.  On top of that, she was one of those people who calls everyone by a term of endearment like "baby", "honey", "sugar", which I hate. It's cringeworthy, as my youngest would say.  Especially because she's 26 (I know this after she made me guess her age, which is also really annoying) making her young enough to be my daughter.  So really, I should be the one calling her "baby".

Then, I'm sitting at this table by myself when my husband's band comes on when this couple (that I know I know from somewhere, but I can't figure out where) joins me.  First of all, they don't even acknowledge my existence.  No..."is this seat taken"?  No eye contact.  Nothing.  Weird, right? Then, at the end of every song, they just sit there.  No clapping.  Nothing.  Where are your manners?  Can you get up and do it better?  Are you waiting for them to play Free Bird?  What's it gonna take for you to clap?  It still pisses me off to think about it.  And the fact that I still can't figure out where I know them from.

My transformation to Andy Rooney is complete.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Mystery of Daylight Savings Time

Has anyone even asked daylight savings time if it wants to be saved?  Can't we just have a 5k run to save it like we do with everything else in America instead of changing the clocks?  And would it be possible to just roll this daylight savings time into my IRA?  Because why the hell do we have daylight savings time?  What are we saving it from? An abusive relationship with nightfall?

It's one of those American cultural things we do that we have no idea why we do it.  Kind of like asking people how they are.  We don't actually want to know the real answer, so why do we ask the question?  Because that's what we've always done.  And that's what our parents did.  That's what we're supposed to do.  Same with saving the daylight.  Or not switching over to the metric system. It just doesn't make sense.

But, the difference between coveting inches and saving daylight is that we're not the only ones still holding on to this tradition for no apparent reason.  And we Americans didn't even invent it.  It was invented by a entomologist in New Zealand who wanted more time to look for bugs after work.  Seriously.  And then the British proposed it.  But, it really took off when the Germans were looking for ways to reduce energy costs in WWI.  And that's when we jumped on the bandwagon and it became law in 1918.  Because we were a country run on coal and changing the clocks back then did actually save us energy.  

Now we just do it because we've always done it this way.  And who doesn't like to go listen to live music in a local park in July and have picnic dinner on a Tuesday night after work?  Except that eventually you'll have to use the overused porta potty there.  What about waiting until 10pm until it's dark enough to see a movie at the drive-in only to get eaten by mosquitoes?   That and it's really hard to convince a little kid that it's that bed time when it's not dark outside yet.  Not to mention that your house doesn't cool down until 1am if you don't have air conditioning.  And you know how depressing it is in November when we're done saving the daylight and it's pitch black at 5pm again.  Plus the revert back is linked to higher heart attack risks and car accident fatalities.

Wait, why are we saving the daylight again?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Fashion Trends I Like (On Other People)

Photo from Pinterest
There are actually a lot of fashion trends I like.  Not that you'd know that from what I wear, because I don't wear them.  I find that I like them better on other people.  Other women who are willing to put in the work and suffer the discomfort to pull them off.  I'll let them be slaves to fashion, while I remain a slave to comfort.

Let's work from head to toe.  Bangs can look so edgy.  Bonus, when you're in your forties they also  provide cover for the lines on your forehead.  Making it a very multi-purpose, strategic style.  Unless you look horrible in bangs, like I do.  I know because I had them in the late 80's and I looked like Michelle Duggar.  Which is why I'll never get them again.  Nor will I ever go blond.  Although I'm a fan of that baby blond that's almost platinum, but not quite.  I just don't have the personality to go with it.  Plus, I'm lazy.  I get my hair colored and cut semi-annually and even that exhausts me.  And that subtle cat eye look?  Have you tried it?  I'm convinced that women who get their black eyeliner to look the same on both sides are witches.  And while I love the colors that lipstick comes in (and ogle it at the store), I don't wear it because I don't look good in it.  Not only that, it makes my teeth look yellow.

Whenever I'm shopping and I see a poncho I'll always try to figure out a way to justify buying it.  But, I can't.  They give off such a whimsical, I'm-hanging-out-at-a-fun-fall-festival-where-there's-a-chill-in-the-air-but-it's-not-too-brisk vibe.  However, poncho weather only happens exactly 10 minutes out of every year.  And fall festivals are never as fun as you imagine they're going to be.  But, most importantly, ponchos are so incredibly impractical.  It's like wearing a big afghan your grandma crocheted for you and then dredging it through everything you touch.   It's much the same with the new bell sleeves that are so popular right now.  I bought an adorable bell sleeve sweater earlier this year.  And when I wore it for the first time I realized I'm also relagated to wearing everything I eat on my sleeves.  But, it is like a built-in napkin, so there's that.  And forget lighting candles in it, especially if the shirt is made out of a really flammable fabric.  Honorable mention: I also love white button down shirts.  But I don't wear them for two reasons:  I don't iron and I'd be sure to stain it with the first wear.   

Oooohhh pencil skirts, how I love you.  Except I don't live a pencil skirt lifestyle.  I live more of a twill capri lifestyle.  But, I don't like twill or capris.  And I hate shorts.  I hate them so much.  However, I love jeans so much that I wear them every day.  Even when it's hot and I hike.  I buy them in a dark wash and size up to account for shrinkage.  Then, I wear them until they're almost obscene: tight, faded with holes all over them.  That's right, I'm an old-fashioned girl, so I like to earn the holes in my jeans.  Also, why the hell is the inseam on women's jeans so damn long?  We're not all six foot tall long-legged Amazon princesses.  Which is why I often cut the bottom hem right off so they're frayed.  Which oddly, looks like it's trending right now.  I'd like credit for starting this lazy-ass trend years ago!

Oh I could make my short legs look longer by wearing heels I suppose.  I used to wear heels with pencil skirts to work back in my 20s.  And then I turned 30.  And then overnight, I stopped caring if I had visible panty lines while wearing my ass-hugging skirts.  And I realized life was far too short to go hobbling through it because my feet hurt constantly.  Plus, I never really could walk in the damn things anyway.  Partly because I walk really fast.  Which probably makes me look like I'm rushing to the ladies room.  Flats are the obvious answer.  I'd look like Audrey Hepburn in a pair of ballet flats.  I've tried.  And I don't.  The thing with ballet flats is you don't wear socks or you wear those thin, tiny no show socks.  Either way, my feet are always cold.  And when my feet are cold, they sweat.  (I know that doesn't make sense. Welcome to my world.)  So, if there's something that looks worse than me walking in heels, it's me looking like I'm race-walking in ballet flats while sliding on the foot sweat in the bottom of my shoe.  

And this is why I wear t-shirts, jeans and sneakers every day and have resigned myself to appreciating fashion trends on other people. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Culture Shock

You know how sometimes you don't know the answer until someone asks you the question.  Last summer I had a dear friend move back to the States after living abroad for seven years.  She asked me whether it was part of the normal reverse culture shock of moving back to feel overwhelmed by texts, e-mails and trying to keep in touch with people.  No, I responded.  That's not from moving back.  That's the new normal for American culture.  Everyone feels that way.  

Not only that, everyone also feels disenfranchised, no matter what your beliefs.  And in the great American tradition, if you feel like no one's listening to you, just say it louder and more frequently.  It doesn't matter what you're saying and whether it's true or not.  The people with those same beliefs will gravitate to you and you'll make like-minded people like you and more importantly, your shared beliefs, even more.  That's how extremism works.   Which only makes the divide in our nation even worse.  If that's even possible.  

Because of technology, everything is changing so fast.  We have to stay connected to keep up. Because of fear, we're rushing to judgment and seeking quick fixes instead of seeking long term solutions.  The result being,  we're all in a constant state of stress and I don't think most of us even realize that we are.  "But how are people coping?", my friend asked.  "By being assholes", I replied.  

Not that everyone is a but-what's-in-it-for-me-selfish-asshole, I actually firmly believe they're in the minority.  But the thing is they're a really, loud obnoxious minority, so they seem like they're the majority.  Now, the better part of the rest of the world has thought Americans are assholes for years.  Because let's face it, we've done a lot of selfish, asshole-ish things around the world.  It's just that now it's starting to effect our bottom line.  

While 2017 was a record year for international travel, travel to the US was down by 4%.  Which doesn't seem like much, until you convert it dollars which ttranslates to 32 billion dollars lost, not to mention the subsequent loss of American jobs in the tourist industry.  Foreigners are scared to travel here.  With the travel bans and derogatory comments about their countries made by our president, I can't blame them.  You're scared to travel here?  Try living here.   Last week I had to contemplate what to do when a student at my kids' school threatened to blow it up.  This is the new normal now.   And there's no end in sight.  

What's the solution?  I wish I knew.  But, it starts with realizing that what we do (or don't do) has an effect on everything and everyone else on the planet.  And the effect of those will come right back to us like karma.  We live in a global economy, therefore, isolating ourselves isn't a viable long-term solution.   We need to focus on what we have in common to move forward, instead of the curating the diviseness that's crippling us as a culture. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Olympic Sized Questions

I'm going to go ahead and admit that I'm more excited about the summer Olympics than the winter ones.  I wouldn't have watched much of them at all except for two reasons: I don't have many TV channels to choose from since we cancelled cable and my daughter got her wisdom teeth extracted and is planted on the couch in the living room watching them.  I can't blame her.  She's in pain.  And when you're in pain, it's kinda nice to see other people in pain.  Misery loves company, right?  Before I get comments that I'm a heartless curmudgeon, I really do get that watching the Olympics is inspiring.  And if there's anything everyone in the world needs right now, it's to be inspired.

While I think someone speeding down a 100m high track at 90 km on skis and landing it safely, let alone traveling the furthest distance, is pretty damn amazing, I also think it's pretty elitist.  As are luge, skeleton, figure skating, bobsled, skiing and snowboarding.  Really, almost all the winter sports are really cost prohibitive for the majority of people.  Think about it.  Ice time, ski lifts, bobsleds, not to mention warm outerwear from REI for the snowboarders.  Have you been to REI?  A pair of socks that are on sale can run you $50 there. Then think about the last time you saw a luge track anywhere.  Nope.  Never have.  I assume they're in Lake Placid, NY.  Population approximately 2,500.  *cough [under my breath] Elitist.

Now think about the summer games.  Track and field, volleyball, field hockey, basketball and soccer. You don't need much fancy equipment. Pretty much you need legs, a net and a ball.  Maybe a stick, a pole and/or a javelin. And if you're Zola Budd, you don't even need shoes to break a world record.  Don't get me wrong, there are a few elitist summer sports.  Gymnastics, water polo, synchronized swimming and all the equestrian events.  (And I say this as someone who's high school sport was synchronized swimming and back in high school I briefly dated a guy who played water polo.  I'm not even joking.)      

The summer games are much more inclusive and egalitarian.  Not by design, but by nature.  Is it Switzerland's fault is has the Alps?  Or that it's one of the top 10 richest countries in the world?  Or that it's also in the top 10 countries to medal in the winter Olympics of all time?   But, remember, it's also the most expensive country in the world to live in.  And their cheese has all those holes in it.  And the whole country is rigged with explosives to isolate it from the rest of the world in case of an attack.  (Ok, that one's pretty cool actually.)

My point is this: you're not a loser because you didn't compete in luge at the Olympics.  You simply never had the opportunity to luge because so few people do.  Think about it, you could potentially be a gold medal winning luger,  Or curler.  If only you were born in Luxembourg, the richest country in the world.  None of that is your fault.  No, you're a loser because you've never competed in track at the summer Olympics.  Because all you need for that is legs.   

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Upside of Downsizing

I'm at that stage in life where I'm starting to fantasize about downsizing.  Because that's what old people do.  Less stuff means less cleaning right?  But, I also can't deny that bigger is better.  Because I still have four kids living at home which requires I have a big car, a really large capacity washer and dryer and a Costo membership.  I also just ordered a king size bed to create the distance that I hope will bring my husband and I closer together or at the very least muffle his snores.  But, a big screen TV?  I didn't think we needed one.  Until, my husband convinced me we did.

I loaded up our big, old and heavy TV in the minivan to give it to Goodwill.  But, they gave it back.  Not to get political here, but I'm very pro-recycling.  However, I refuse to pay Best Buy $25 to recycle something for me.  So, I left the TV on the curb at the bottom of my driveway with a FREE sign on it.  And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  By the next morning, it was finally gone.  I like to believe it's found a good home with another family, but the reality is someone from the HOA probably threw it in the dumpster because it was blighting the neighborhood.  However, I choose to believe my Disney-esque fantasy ending anyway.

The new 65" screen looked ridiculously huge hanging on the wall.  That was until I sat on the couch.  From where I could not only see the screen clearly, but I could read the channel guide without wearing my distance glasses.  Come to think of it, it's ridiculous that I spent years watching a screen so small I needed my distance glasses to see it.  Which I rarely did because I was too lazy to get off my ass to go get them.  Creating a fuzzy, yet very flattering nearsighted filter for TV viewing.  You probably already know this, because you've probably had a big screen HD TV for a decade or more, but a big screen high definition TV it's really the great equalizer.  Because everyone looks ugly on a large screen.  And really old.  I'm talking about people my age.  Which I sometimes forget is old.  Because I'm old, so I do that.

Most people who splurge a new TV want to expand their viewing options by also getting satellite TV.  Which, of course, is not what we did.  Instead, we reduced our viewing options by cancelling our cable.  And installing a free app called Pluto TV which has channels like Cats 24/7.  Which is exactly what it sounds like: all cat videos, all the time.  I don't even really like cats.  Not only that, it's a pain to access it.  For a technologically illiterate person like me, playing around with the remote control it more frustrating than fun.  And it requires me to go find my reading glasses so I can see the buttons on the remote.  In short, it's a very long process that requires a lot of swearing.  When really, all I want to see is when the shows I want to see (like cooking shows, Anthony Bourdain,  60 Minutes and Frontline) are on.  Because now that we've downsized we don't have any way to record shows to watch later.  We have to watch it when it airs (and run to the kitchen and/or bathroom during the commercial breaks) or we'll miss it.  Just like back in the olden days.  Good thing I'm an old fashioned girl who likes to watch PBS.

So,  I'd argue getting a big screen TV is part of our downsizing.  

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What I'm Like in Bed

My bed is quite sensual.  Adorned with a silky grey satin coverlet that begs to be touched.  In addition, it provides front row seating for my stripper pole that stands in the corner of my bedroom.  The ambiance is an exquisite fusion of masculine and feminine.  Complete with sandalwood candles to fill the room with an exotic aroma.  Setting the stage for nights filled with erotic encounters.  The kind that you can only dream of.  Because I'm already asleep.

Sure, I have good intentions of lighting those candles for a romantic evening. You know, reading one of the books stacked on my nightstand by candlelight.  But, when my head hits the pillow it takes me all of a whole entire minute before I fall asleep.  With the blankets tucked in around me like a cocoon.  That is, until my husband brutally rips the sheets and blankets out from the end of the bed.  What kind of a psycho does that?  Because when the blankets aren't tucked in, my whole night is spent adjusting the blankets so they cover my whole body as I toss and turn.  Then my husband wonders why I steal the covers.  I steal them in self defense.  Because I'm freezing, dammit.  And obviously it's all his fault.  Because if the blankets were tucked in, I wouldn't need to clutch them for dear life to prevent frostbite. Plus, he always complains he's too hot in the night.  So really, I'm doing him a favor.

Sleeping together is one of the worst things for a marriage.  

Really, who came up with the absurdly overly romantic notion that couples sleeping in the same bed is a good idea?  And why do we still do it?  (By "it" I mean sleep and not the other "it", obviously.)  It's unnatural, I tell you!  When I was little both sets of my grandparents had not only separate beds, but separate bedrooms.  Which seemed weird to me when I was little, but I totally see the brilliance now.  I wouldn't have to listen to my husband snore.  And he wouldn't have to get my elbow jabbed in his side until he finally rolls over.  Which again, is all his fault.  It's pretty simple, if you don't want me to physically assault you in the middle of the night, don't assault my ears by mimicking the sound of an oncoming freight train.  

I'm not claiming that I'm so great in bed.  But, I do have to admit, sleeping with me wouldn't be a disappointment.  I stay on my own side.  I don't snore unless I have a cold and then come on, who doesn't?  I'm not a sleep talker or a sleep walker.  And I don't grind my teeth.  Although, I do clench my teeth when I sleep, leaving bite marks.  But the marks are on the inside of my own cheeks, which doesn't effect anyone else.  Also, how weird is that?  Ok, don't answer that.  I do have this charming little thing that I do in bed though.  I rock my body back and forth slowly.  And It drives my husband crazy.  I don't know why, you'd think it would be soothing, right?  Like I'm rocking him to sleep or something, but no.  Apparently, it's kind of annoying.  Just like when I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee or to go downstairs for a 2am juice box, hoping that I don't get the box with the missing straw.    

So, do we get a divorce for irreconcilable sleep differences or can this marriage be saved?  We'd have to wait until the kids leave home to have separate bedrooms.  And then I guess we'd have to separate the kids' bunk beds to make that work.  But, moving up into a king size bed would give us more distance from each other, which would actually probably bring us closer together.  Come to think of it, it would make the perfect Valentine's Day gift to each other too.  


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