Now that I have my first bona fide health issue ever in life, I have become obsessed with the inner workings of my body. For example, I subscribe to a variety of health and wellness online magazines and when one arrived last week with the subject line “What Does Your Poop Say about You?”, I near cancelled a client meeting so I could stay in my office and read it.
When I had an extra hour to play yesterday, I spent it browsing the new health food store by my house as if it were a shoe boutique giving away its size 8 inventory.
And lately, I wake up every morning to examine the reflection in the mirror with a new kind of scrutiny. I no longer just focus on the lines around my eyes or the random hairs sprouting from, well, anywhere, but at the circumference of my waist (have the new thyroid meds kicked in?), at the steadiness of my hands (are my adrenals calm?), and at the energy coursing through my body at any given moment (did I eat something that may have zapped me?).
I must admit, while I’m not happy about having these issues, it has added a certain amount of novelty and suspense to the otherwise normalcy of things. For example, I have a renewed curiosity about what will work, now that I’ve been diagnosed properly.
After four long years of trying, will the new diet plan actually bear fruit? What will the changes look like (it’s been so long since I’ve been able to solicit even a cheekbone)? Where will they start – face first or straight from the donkey? How long will they take? And will I still look like me when all is said and done?
I mean, it’s not like I have to lose 100 pounds or anything, but even a 20-pound weight loss can be profound in terms of changing a person’s appearance—not to mention how they feel about themselves.
But the most positive thing that’s happened as a result of knowing what’s going on and having a plan for addressing it, is that I have newfound hope. It’s manifested in a renewed interest in getting dressed in the morning–buying trendy clothes and bold accessories. Trying on a new hair style (well, more like getting a hair cut). I even splurged on a pair of 5”-inch high Dolce Vita leather boots that not only lack a rubber sole, but are downright hot.
It’s all part of my plan for 2011 as the year of resurgence: The return to hotness, if you will. Not necessarily the kind I may have had in my younger years, but the kind that I always hoped to have at this age—hotness that has me going gracefully and appropriately but with spunk. Never mind classically tailored lines and subtle tones. Finally cutting that hair off to just at the neck. I want long wild hair, to wear red. Give me a tight tank top with ruffles under a motorcycle black jacket. Give me tights.
I’m aiming for that more than every-once-in-a-while moment, when a head turns and a jaw drops at the mention of my real age (of almost 48). And I WILL get it. Even if it kills me–and it might.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is it’s amazing what a good diagnosis and a little validation can do for a person. Truly.
And so, while I remain focused on how to shape and live in my body, my husband remains focused on how to shape and live in our house.
You see, we lost another one—a cleaning person. She left us about six weeks ago to take care of her ailing mother. So here we are again: Forced to either find a new person we can trust or clean the place ourselves.
Of course, I’m tired. So I opted for the former. But my husband, with great vigor, insists on the latter. That we can save money and dust our own floors at the same time—and what can be wrong with that?
So who am I to argue? Although, I did tell him that my exhausted alterego Priscilla is not all that interested in participating. Especially since I’ve been working every weekend and, well, I’m really not up for anything beyond picking up the occasional tuft of dog hair. (Cleaning is just not my thing, even though I do refuse to live in dirt.)
And he’s all good with that. In fact, he’s come to look forward to those three hours of cleaning each week as precious alone time. A form of meditation. Now, that is. But it didn’t start out like that.
When we first made the decision that Dan would take over the cleaning, I slept very well with it, but him? Well, he had a few hurdles to overcome. After all, my husband is a man with a plan and the one for cleaning took a while to cook up. Where I might have just started dusting with your garden-variety Windex and paper towels, vacuuming the area rugs, and wiping down the hard wood with a damp mop, he spent the first two weeks devising a “system” for cleaning that had him very determined to get it right.
He drafted his approach on paper. Created an online flowchart to identify the most efficient way to move around the house. Did a little research on the escape velocity of dust. Studied green cleaning products and did a comparison test on various and sundry spots around the house. Invested in a series of toolbelts to see which, if any, were better than others in allowing him to transfer cleaning supplies easily to and from the various floors of our three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse.
All while I rolled my eyes, and during commercials shouted, “Just spray and wipe something already.”
Then, three weeks into his due diligence, he finally started taking my advice. First, he hung and wiped several new shelves in the laundry room to store the cleaning materials in a way that was easy for him to find what he needed. After all, they were “hidden” under the sink in a way that was apparently not all that “user friendly” (even though Gail seemed to navigate around them just fine).
Then, he spent several secretive hours each weekend in the garage but wouldn’t tell me why. “It’s a surprise,” he’d say. But I was beginning to think he’d hidden a prostitute or a hibachi grill and several pounds of red meat out there.
And then one day, he came out from the garage and asked me if I was “ready”. I was watching “Clean House” on the Style Network. Niecy Nash was just about to do the reveal on some hoarder’s bedroom.
“Ready for what?” I turned up the volume on Clean House.
“To see what I’ve been doing in the garage.”
I turned up the volume a bit higher and nodded towards the television. “They’re just about to show us the new bedroom, hon. Right now? Really?” I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
“Really.” And with a shit-eating grin, he proceeds to roll out his version of a “cleaning cart”: Unfinished wood on all sides dropped onto four castors and framed by a series of compartments for holding various and sundry cleaning products. There are two holes in either corner of the bottom back of the cart to hold the pole ends of both a mop and a long duster. And there’s landing on the cart floor to hold the Hoover Wind Tunnel, which is also Velcroed at the top so it doesn’t topple forward while he pushes it all around the house.
As he explains what each feature means, my husband beams with pride. Glows like a nuclear waste dump.
“Well,” he says. “What do you think?”
I look at the reveal on Clean House. I don’t like the color of the paint—too white. Then I look over at his cart.
“Not bad. You should paint it yellow, like mustard.”
And then, I changed the channel. I was pretty sure I could catch the tail end of Bill Maher on HBO while Dan started to beta test the new cart (since I knew that step was coming). I didn’t watch him, but could hear him hauling the cart up and down the steps. Thud, thud, thud. My poor hardwood.
I suspect he may have accidentally wheeled over one of the dog’s tails or paws, since there was a bit of squealing at one point. But I know better than to look or get involved. He’ll figure it out. He always does. He doesn’t need me to watch.
After all, I’m down here, embroiled in a fresh episode of Clean House, preparing a grocery list for later. Nothing on it with dairy, gluten, or eggs. So fun. Really. Practically exciting. How will it all turn out.
So how are you living in your house? Your body? Your life? Do tell.
Until next time!