Posts Tagged ‘vacation’
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
As you may or may not know, when you get to be a woman of a certain age, you find yourself having to multi-manage an increasing number of fairly high-stakes tasks. For example, in this very moment, I’m trying to a) recover from the world’s worst vacation (think traveling with a moody teenager exacerbated by her narcissistic and inconsiderate mother), b) create a will (a fairly depressing task), and c) refinance our house (which requires too much hassle and interaction with title companies, banks, and complicated math for my taste). This, all the context of my busiest season at work, a never-ending assault of demands and requests via technology that never sleeps (thanks a lot, Apple), and my husband’s need to travel more than usual—leaving me alone to care for two needy dogs and a temperamental sump pump. Suffice to say, it’s been quite a month. I know, I know, this is life. But, these days, it’s got me so frazzled, that I’m not thinking straight.
For instance, eager to leave our vacation resort (where upon arrival, after an eight-hour drive, we were unsuccessful in coaxing a hysterical 14-year-old out of a locked bathroom because she didn’t like the perfectly lovely suite), I accidentally left an ENTIRE drawer full of important clothes behind. Fortunately the cleaning staff found them and sent them back to me, so I can put that horrific experience in the past. But my monkey mind continues… Case in point: Yesterday, I put the creamer in the microwave instead of the refrigerator. The other day at work, I wore my shirt inside out all day (yes, even during a meeting with clients). And, on the way home, I sat at the Starbucks drive-thru window even after they’d delivered me my drink. “Excuse me, uh, do you need anything else?”
Instead of feeling bad about myself or worrying about early onset dementia, I simply attribute it to the human version of my Intel processor being overheated—my brain is moving slow, trying to compute the overwhelming cadre of tasks and responsibilities on my plate. And while I’d hoped to get some much needed rest and rejuvenation this weekend – in fact, I had the doing of nothing all planned out – life, once again, had something else in mind.
You see, yesterday morning, I woke up at 6 to start the day so Dan and I could be at the farm for our scheduled 8 a.m. work shift (a requirement of our participating in a community-supported agriculture program in our area). When I came downstairs to retrieve our much-needed coffee, I was greeted by a two-inch layer of water under my feet. Apparently, the dishwasher (which we’ve been setting to run in the middle of the night for six years, since it’s too noisy to run while we’re awake) broke and leaked water, well, everywhere. We soon learned that it had not only formed a wading pool in our kitchen, but seeped through the walls to our dining area and down into the basement through the fancy Owens Corning tiles left to us by the previous owners, forming a small but determined waterfall over our prized treadmill, favorite sofa and loveseat, and two-year-old shag carpeting.
It goes without saying that we never made it to the farm, but instead, spent the day filing insurance claims, shaking our heads, and entertaining the folks from ServiceMASTER, who promptly ripped apart our basement, and set up a series of dehumidifiers and air blowers that make us feel like we’re living in a hostile wind tunnel. The irony that they’re excessively loud is not lost on me (nor is the fact that running the dishwasher while you sleep is a bad idea).
All of which sucks—including the fact that our dishwasher is now busted, so we have to wash everything by hand--something I haven’t had to do since living in a city apartment my early 30s. It makes me wonder: Is the crest of 50 about the time in life we start going backwards? Or is it just me?
Whatever the answer, these are grownup problems, to say the least. And I could use the levity of backtracking right about now—of juvenileness. I thought I would get at least a piece of that when we went to see the Jackson Browne concert (two days before the debacle that was our vacation), but even then, as evidenced by the aging crowd, I felt like I was at a PBS special on how to keep your brain healthy. (Something I could probably stand to watch). What was even more depressing was that I fit right in. In fact, when my beloved Jackson continued to play well into the 10 o’clock hour, I actually complained to my husband, “Gosh, is he almost done? I’m exhausted!”
What I didn’t know was that I would spend the next few weeks being reminded of just how far afield from my youth I really am. Not that being young is the Holy Grail or that it doesn’t involve problem solving; to the contrary. But I could use the vitality and low-stakeness that generally come along with it. With that said, I know we’ll all be okay. I’m really just venting. (Thanks for listening?) Our house will eventually restore itself to order, the wills will get done, my monkey mind will resume normal pace, and Dan and I will enjoy a 2.7% interest rate. It will all be worth it. (Although, I fear the Scooter Store will send me emails into perpetuity…)
It’s just that, well, sometimes I miss the days when problems were more about fitting in than staving off a flood or having to always be a grownup.
How about you? What’s happening in your grown-up world? Do you miss the laissez-faire of youth? Do tell!
And until next time!
Sunday, August 7th, 2011
We just got back from a week at the beach—me, Dan and Steppy. I must say, it was not our finest vacation. Weather aside, Steppy came to us off the heels of a cold and fever, which she promptly gave to me. So by day three, when I should have been slow cooking like a fine piece of prime rib at the beach and enjoying lemonade and Kohrs Brothers Ice Cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk, the salt air making my skin dewy and my nerves less frazzled, I was instead, stuck in the hotel, fighting a throbbing virus/pain in my neck and back, craving sleep, trying to swallow without wincing, and watching a day-long marathon of Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo. I can now tell you firsthand, much as I love Patty Stenger (and she is ALWAYS right, trust me, if only those hard-headed millionaires would listen, they WOULD find love, I’m sure of it…), being sick on vacation sucks. It sucks BIG.
Of course, it’s not all kinds of fun to be spending a week with a miserable, sullen and uncooperative teenager, which would accurately describe Steppy these days (along with being tall, thin, blonde, tan, young, and beautiful, which she takes so for granted, which doesn’t help one bit…).
Add to that four nights in a row of watching Shark Week on television (programming that features various iterations of sharks in the water and the old wrinkly guys who study them) and there you have it. My vacation. (Of course, I did get to spend some time with my good friends Ben and Jerry and they never disappoint…)
The thing is: these precious five days were mine to deep breathe and relax between working hard to get away and working even harder to make up for the time off. Not to mention the fact that, in my business, we’re about to head into our version of tax season…and there you have it.
Sucky vacation. Not cool.
Now, I know there are people who have it a lot worse off than me. So I wouldn’t go so far as to call the vacation a dud—I wasn’t at work, after all, or getting a root canal or applying for food stamps, living in my car, addicted to heroin, diagnosed with a terminal disease, dealing with the death of a loved one, the aftereffects of a Bernie Madoff, or even locked in an elevator with my husband’s ex-wife—but still. It wasn’t award winning. A model for future vacations. Or even something I’ll look back at one day and laugh about.
Because when you have such limited amount of time off to play—and life is so hard, and busy, and high stakes and hectic—you take those precious few days seriously. So for me, now that they’re over and in my rear window, I’m bummed.
Of course, the days leading up to the now mediocre vacation weren’t exactly a delight. Working hard, dieting hard, managing people and relationships hard, exercising hard, thinking hard, checking things vigorously off my list, scrambling for sleep, trying to negotiate hard realizations.
Like, for example, my boss’ so delicately reminding me that, while I was doing a good job at work, I was on the “downslide” when it came to my overall age and career trajectory. (I can’t remember how we got on the subject, but we got there, unfortunately.) He even drew me a diagram of a bell curve. I’m rounding the top, he says, at the ripe old age of 48.
“Are you gonna live to be 100?” he asks, while I watch him draw dotted lines on my downward spiral on the diagram.
“Maybe. I don’t know.” What’s next? A Gantt chart of my demise?
“Let’s just say for the sake of argument, you are. Even then, you’re just really getting over the hump here…” He runs his red pen over the top of the curve a few times for emphasis.
Now my boss and I have a very good relationship—we’re friends, practical jokers, and truth tellers. We are not sugar coaters, which I especially like for professional reasons. But the declarative notion that I am at my peak was—is—hard to take. Because frankly, I feel as if I’m just getting started.
And yet, the only consolation is that he’s a few years older even than me, so he’s willing to admit he’s blazing the trail, but still. I didn’t need to hear that. Who wants to hear that? Who?
Then, in preparation for a week away, I had several things to get done, one of which was to return these shoes I’d ordered from Zappos. I had to take them to Staples to be picked up by UPS. So after a very long hard day at the office, I stopped on the way home, figuring it would only take a few minutes. That’s until the guy behind the counter couldn’t figure out how to put the UPS label tape into the little machine, so he couldn’t print a label for my package. Fifteen minutes later, there are four Staples employees trying to figure it out while I stood there, fuming like an idiot, the ticker tape running through my head:
“Just leave. Why are you standing here?” I asked myself silently. “Because,” I answered myself, “I have already put in now 20 minutes. I am not leaving with this package.” It’s the exact same reason I spent 11 years with the wrong man. Too much time invested.
But then, much like it wound up with the boyfriend, at 30 minutes, the now five Staplettes informed me that they couldn’t fix it and, ergo, would NOT be able to mail my package. To which I stormed out, after first asking them very loudly, “WHAT DO YOU SELL HERE? ARE YOU OUT OF COPY PAPER TOO?”
Then, I heard from my dear friend Jill that her aunt, who she’s very close to and has been for as long as I’ve known her (25 years), was just diagnosed with bone and lung cancer and given months to live. Which just made me feel bad for feeling bad about the Staplettes not shipping my package and being on the downslide because at least I’ve got some—I’d say a pretty good chunk (boss)—of slide left.
I don’t know where I’m going with this. I guess to quote my friend Jill from the very same text in which she told me the bad news: “Middle age is so hard. So much to deal with.”
So well put. And so, as Dan and I and Steppy got into the car to leave our beach vacation—and I started to think about it all (Steppy’s bad behavior and how she’s mine for life, mom and dad, work, the dogs, my husband, my diet, my health, Dan’s health, my parents’ health, our finances, our next vacation, when I’ll see my Chicago friends next, how tired I am, how long it will take me to unpack, how much regular mail we have, the bills, the dead sea scroll of emails in all three of my inboxes, my first day back at work full of too many meetings, grocery shopping, laundry, returning shoes, getting my hair colored and my chipped nails fixed, figuring out the detox I got from the doctor, getting the dogs groomed and my husband a haircut along with a physical and those sunspots checked, why people don’t talk on the telephone anymore, how much texting is ruining the next generation since it’s so impersonal, the need to learn meditation, whether we need toilet paper, whether the debt ceiling debate will ruin Obama’s chances for re-election, why we can’t just unilaterally ditch all of Congress and start from scratch, who’s making dinner, and when I’ll get to relax if ever again, etc.)—I stopped for a minute to breathe and whisper in my husband’s ear:
“Aren’t you supposed to leave vacation less stressed than when you arrived?”
Alas, I fear another fallacy—and stark realization of mid life.
Oh well, how was your summer vacation? Did you have fun? Do share because, frankly, I could use the pick me up.
Until next time!
Sunday, May 15th, 2011
Last week, my husband and I met our friends Joan and Dave in San Francisco for a much needed vacation. We’d been planning for months and finally, the day was here. We got on a 7 a.m. flight and by 5 o’clock California time, we were at our destination—the InterContinental Hotel in Nob Hill, San Francisco. Once there, we were looking at six full days of glorious decompression time.
Time that would be filled with the usual suspects—a tour of Alcatraz, a meditative stroll and shopping along the scenic Fisherman’s Wharf, and the hiking up too many hills to count. There were the several Crab Louis salads. And who could forget a day spent traversing the streets of Haight Ashbury, ingesting the second-hand smoke with our fingers crossed.
I couldn’t help but notice, as the week passed, that by the end of our trip, we’d have been on every possible mode of transport known to man—with the exception of the space shuttle. (Although, had we chosen to indulge directly at Haight Ashbury, we might have been able to at least mimic the experience…)
After all, we took a plane to our destination, a boat to the “Rock”, a cable car to Union Square, a double-decker bus to get a flavor of the city’s neighborhoods. We took a taxi to our hotel, which was not easy to flag, after a big meal in Chinatown that put a dent in both our desire and ability to literally repel up the side of the city to our hotel.
But the most fun we had was on the pedicab and then the hot air balloon.
We had just come out of a Michelin-rated restaurant, whose name currently escapes me. (I do, however, remember the Crab Louis, so bravo!) It was later on a Sunday night and the city was quiet. To walk back to our hotel, we’d have had to climb up approximately 10 city blocks—something we were reluctantly prepared to do in lieu of a taxi until we happened by a young guy pulling a pedicab: You know, a bicycle, pulling a little wagon with seats, kind of like a modern day rickshaw for peasants.
The cycler, who’s name is John, took one look at us—four middle-aged tourists pointing to buildings and trying to keep the wind from blowing up our map—and knew he’d found his next fare. Tired, stuffed, and confused about where we were, we were ripe for the picking.
So he stops his bike, using his feet as a kickstand and calls out to us. “Hey…” Intrigued and, early enough into our vacation to be open to anything, we walk over to him. “Want a ride?” he asks, nodding to the two-seater cab hitched to his bike shaking ever so slightly. We are interested, but concerned. The seat looks small.
“Oh, no worries,” he says. “I can easily get the four of you on here.” And promptly directs me and Joan to sit on our husband’s laps. Now just so you know, neither one of us are lightweights. Not that my friend is fat – to the contrary. But she’s tall and long limbed and I’m not sure I’d want her to sit on my lap while some strange guy on a 10-speed hauls us up the hills of San Fran.
With that, we collectively contemplate the pros and the cons. The pros: The large meal we just enjoyed had begun settling ever deeper into each of our stomachs, making the idea of walking in imaginary crampons up the cement terrain to our hotel seem like a drudge, to say the least. The cons: The seat looked uncomfortable. And the pedicab itself was anything but lush. Let’s just say the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would have sent him on his way. But we decided, in the end, it was okay for us.
And so we climbed on and prepared ourselves for anything.
So John starts pedaling, talking to us non-stop about the sites of the city and how long he’s been doing this and why, as we admire his strong calves and wonder why he isn’t out of breath. All I can think about is how dangerous this is (after all, we were sharing the street with cable cars and tour buses and confused drivers and tourists). And why did I eat so much? And will my leg muscles recover in time for a lot of walking tomorrow, since they were burning from my not wanting to put all my weight on poor Dan (think extended wall squat).
Then, we hear the bells getting louder and louder. And we realize that a cable car is gaining on us. In response, John pedals faster. My face begins to feel flush and my heart start to palpitate.
Oh dear. This is what lazy will get you: picked off by a cable car. I can read the news now: “Four unsuspecting middle-aged tourists mired down by too much rich cooking and too lazy to walk, look for vicarious exercise in the wrong place. After sharing a meal large enough for seven, they were innocently lured onto a dangerous pedicab that due to only 10 bicycle speeds and a chatty and distracted driver was crushed by an aberrant cable car. There are no survivors.”
Focused on the cable car behind us, I didn’t realize that we were finished climbing and now preparing to go straight down. This raises new concerns: Like how John is going to control the pedicab as we careen down a long incline…
“Don’t worry,” he says, again, reading my mind. “I have disc brakes.” And then, as we begin to drop, he hits them, and we go jolting ever so slightly forward. It’s like almost getting thrown off a horse and only mildly comforting in the face of flying down the block with a cable car up our a*^es. John suddenly and unexpectedly jerks the bike to right so he can get us on to the sidewalk.
I chant, nervously and uncontrollably, “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God…” My husband and our friends share a maniacal sort of “I’m going to die” laugh. And all the while, John continues to talk, about his near miss accidents and how he’s survived, and how we’ll all be just fine.
“I’m gonna get you to the end of the street, so you can guys can grab this cable car at the circle down there back up to your hotel,” he says. I pray he doesn’t take his hand off the handlebars to point. By the time we get to the end of the road, my adrenals are blasted. And to make it worse, I’ve said about 250 Hail Mary’s–and I’m Jewish.
Fortunately, we survived it just in time to get to our next vehicular adventure: The hot air balloon.
Now keep in mind: I am terrified of heights. I used to have a client with offices on the second floor of their building and stairs you can see through. I always took the elevator. You know never when one of those cracks will suddenly open up and suck me through it.
Do you watch the SciFi channel? Ever seen a Twilight Zone? It could happen. It really could.
So imagine my getting on a hot air balloon. And yet, on another trip we’d taken to Taos, New Mexico, with the same friends, we’d contemplated the idea, enticed by the beautiful views and the prospect of landing in the lovely but shallow Taos gorge. So we decided to take an informal poll of the locals to see if they thought it’d be a good idea for people like Joan and I, who had a fear of high places.
“Uh, well, yeah, you’re in a basket in the air, so probably not so good.” This was the consensus. So we didn’t do it.
But this trip, well, I was determined. So when my friend Joan sent me a link to the BallonsAbovetheValley.com as a joke, I signed us up. Ha ha, I thought, joke’s on her. (And, well, uh, me.)
When the day came, we left San Francisco at 3 a.m. to drive to Napa, since the balloons lift off just before dawn. There were about 50 of us there to ride on three balloons. We were told that ours was the largest balloon in the country, holding as many as 24 people. I was glad – if I had to get into a wicker basket and go up into the air with an oversized swath of parachute material and four large tanks of propane, I’d need as many people as possible for morale support.
Now, let me just say, there’s no graceful way to get into the basket of a hot air balloon. It’s high – up to my chest and I’m 5” 3” (wink wink) – with just enough grooves for you to place your feet so you can throw one leg over the top and sit on it as if you were saddling up to a horse, before falling fully into the balloon’s cab. And once you’re in, you’re in and, in our case, quickly flanked by other people standing shoulder to shoulder, readying their cameras for the promise of something wonderful.
We wait as the first of the three balloons takes off, which just heightens the sense of excitement and drama, especially for those of us who are scared (and there are several). Finally, the people on the ground with walkie-talkie’s give our pilot the thumbs us. To which he begins fiddling with the tanks, yanking at ropes, and firing hot air into the now fully inflated parachute until we slowly come off the ground.
I’m okay at first. And after a few short minutes, feel the nervousness begin to exit my body like a puff of smoke. I’m good standing behind Dan, peeking over his shoulder at the panoramic views of the Napa vineyards, which truly are spectacular. And as we creep higher, the people around me continue to ask if I’m okay. And I was, as long as I didn’t have to move, remembered to breathe, and we didn’t go any higher.
But then, we got to 1,300 feet and I started to panic. Looked over at the pilot, at least 75 pounds overweight, sweating and grunting like a football player in preseason, and I was instantly lost in the thought of what would happen if he just stroked out. What if his heart gave way—he suddenly grabbed at his chest and dropped off the side like an angry bird.
What would happen to the 20 of us now so high up in the sky, we could barely see the vans that brought us to the launching field?
Now I was scared. Instead of admiring the views, I imagined all the many ways we could drop to our death. I could read the headline: In a cruel twist of fate, four innocent middle-aged tourists who were too lazy to walk and lucky enough to survive a crash with a cable car, fell to their untimely death during a routine balloon ride after the pilot has a heart attack and the balloon drops like a penny from a 12th story apartment building onto hard dirt.
It could happen.
Fortunately, it didn’t. We survived. The balloon came down more gently than I’d anticipated and I managed to climb out without seriously injuring any of my lady parts (although don’t take a picture). But you never know—it could have been a close one.
All in all, it was a great ride. The pedicab. The balloon. The whole vacation. Would I go on a hot air balloon again? You bet. I’d even go on a pedicab, but maybe just with my husband and someplace flat, like Indiana. Or the track by the high school, just a mile or so from our house.
How about you? What was the most death-defying thing you’ve ever done on vacation? And would you do it again? Do tell.
Until next time!
Saturday, August 21st, 2010
Hello to all and my apologies for taking so long to provide you with a new post. As you may imagine, re-entry after vacation can be an ugly thing. Trying to catch up after being away for a week can take almost two weeks (as you can see), so please forgive me.
As if that weren’t bad enough, we’re coming into our busy season at the office and I can feel the first brushes of “Priscilla” coming over me.
For those of you who are longtime readers, you may remember that Priscilla is the alter-ego I created last year as a way to deflect any responsibility for being awful to the people around me. It’s just that, I work in the employee benefits industry (creating their employee education materials) and now’s a big enrollment period for many of our clients. As a result, I spend most of my time working, which I why I feel the need to create another personality to take responsibility for my actions under extreme exhaustion.
For example, last night my husband asked me if I wanted a glass of water, and I’m pretty sure I roared like a caged tiger.
Add to that the fact that I’m:
a) on another cleanse (in my never-ending futile attempt to get rid of my fat stalker); and
b) 11 days clean and sober off of caffeine (although I did have a dream last night that I was standing in front of a rabbi and an entire congregation taking vows with a grande skim extra cold frappucino)…
…and I’ve got a bad personality disorder brewing. (Oh God, I miss coffee.)
But I digress. Or, maybe I’m just rambling.
In any event, as a result of the time of year, withdrawal, and the need to do double duty because I dared to take a vacation, not to mention the tsunami of work heading in my direction (only made worse by the fact that I can see it coming and do absolutely nothing to stop it), I haven’t been sleeping well.
Actually, that’s an understatement.
Of course, that’s nothing new, when you’re my age and, well, when you’re my age. Or so they tell me. In fact, here are some responses from my informal poll around the question “How do you sleep?”:
My mother: “It’s your age. It’s just your age. I don’t sleep. Haven’t slept in years. Don’t you think your hair’s a little long for a 47-year-old?”
My friend Carol: Oh no. I never sleep. In fact, I’m making peace with the fact that I’ll probably never really have a good night’s sleep again.
My friend, who prefers to remain nameless: I was like to my doctor, “God, if I could only sleep, if I could only sleep.” I told my shrink I didn’t want to take anything but everything is so hard when you don’t sleep, you know. Well, then she put me on this [stuff] and, now I sleep like a dead person. And I have these vivid dreams. Along with my thyroid medication, this stuff is unbelievable.
My friend Jill: Oh NOOOOO. Jilly, are you fu*^in kidding me? If I get four good hours, that’s a fu*^in good night.
My friend Jane*: I haven’t slept in years. BUT my acupuncturist says that I should get some black cohosh for night sweats. AND my craniosacral therapist thinks maybe I have some past life issues, like maybe I went out in a bad fire, which are contributing to the extreme internal heating.
My husband Dan: I sleep GREAT.
My friend Donna: Huh?
My friend Lorrie: I sleep like a dead alligator. Who wants popcorn?
My friend Lorrie’s children (Spencer and Kyle): Mom snores like a chainsaw.
My analysis? Most of us in our 40s, with few exceptions, are NOT sleeping. To which I ask: WHAT THE WHAT?
I mean, if we were struggling to enlarge our penises (which, of course, we don’t have) or invest at a higher rate of interest, there’d be an entire McMansion industry dedicated to the cause. But when a cadre of middle-aged women can’t sleep, what does anybody do about it?
Nothing. Not. A. Thing. And when I ask the “experts” (read: useless endocrinologists who think the only answer to anything is to strap a person on a table and stop feeding them for two weeks to get them to lose any weight, which I know is off topic, but still), the only answer I ever get is: “Well, it’s the age.”
It’s as if being this age is like having a chronic disease for which there is no a) cure or b) pain management. Doesn’t anyone care that an entire movement of women is operating heavy machinery, raising the children who will be the future of our country, and making important decisions in business on as little as 240 minutes of sleep a night?
That doesn’t even take into account the psychological and environmental effects on the actual person suffering from (apparently) age-induced insomnia—like watching middle-of-the-night television.
Another case in point: The other night, I sprang up in bed, as usual, at about 2 a.m. After about a solid hour of twisting and turning—wondering how I was going to get that enrollment guide and manager’s toolkit to my client by Wednesday, why my husband’s ex-wife hasn’t been punished for costing us some $30,000 in legal fees unnecessarily, and how come Tammy L**** and Wendy M***** were mean to me when I was 16 since I was nothing but really nice to them—I decided to stop trying for sleep. Instead, I got up and chose to numb my senses with a little CNN.
Despite the fact that my husband was sleeping, I promptly turned on box. (Mind you, the one time in 12,000 years he couldn’t sleep, he was considerate enough to watch TV in the family room, so as not to wake me; yet, I find having to leave my cozy bed rude and punishing.)
A rerun of Larry King was on. Perfect, although the guest was Snoop Dog and as a statement of the obvious, I’m not exactly in his demographic. Still, I watched because it was better than watching the clock and the precious minutes I had left for sleep passing.
Then, the commercials came on, one after the other, in almost slow motion. Spot after spot, there was some aging celebrity or voiceover hawking reverse mortgages, cemetery plots, life insurance, denture cream, walkers, osteoporosis medication, electric wheelchairs, and retribution for mesothelioma. I never thought I’d long so much to see a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Somebody promoting a new Pillsbury new cake mix. Even Jamie Lee Curtis promoting Activia.
As I lay there, eyeballing this death-festival, one after the other, in horror, I had a bad revelation: I had just entered a new demographic—and it wasn’t Snoop’s. I was no longer so put off by my exhaustion and the fact that I had to soon get up for work, as I was by the fact that I was officially old and going to die someday. And getting closer by the moment.
Now, I was lying awake, asking myself if I should be thinking about a reverse mortgage instead of refinancing? Does flossing really prevent dentures? And, how do I know if I have mesothelioma? What are the symptoms?
But the bigger question was and still is: What’s it really all about? And why hasn’t somebody come up with a f*^in remedy for middle-aged women who can’t sleep. (Sorry, I’m sleep deprived.)
How about you? How do you sleep? Ever watch middle-of-the-night television? What questions does it raise for you?
Until next time!
*Not her real name.
Friday, August 6th, 2010
Here’s a quick post for you all since we’re down at the Jersey shore for a week of vacation. But first:
- A note to would-be thieves: There’s a gaggle of people overnight-house sitting, pet sitting and plant sitting for us at our house so no funny stuff …
- A note to other readers: In the spirit of full disclosure, I started writing this blog on Monday and now it’s Friday, which may lead you to believe this has been a fine vacation so far and, in this respect sir, you would be correct. (Why am I writing like an 18th century Englishman? Or am I…)
- Another note to would-be thieves: Since, as it turns out, it’s already Friday, we’ll be home on Sunday, just two days from now, so your window for taking advantage of the situation has quickly diminished. That being said, remember the gaggle that awaits you—that I mentioned in the first point above—and continue to KEEP OUT.
Whew! Now that that’s over, onto business – our week at the beach. For those of you who know me, you probably know I’m not a beach lover. For those who don’t know me, but have been reading for a while, this fact alone may not surprise you. After all, some of my favorite subjects to gripe about are a) my inability to shrink my donkey b) both surprising and agitating hair growth and c) my love of cold weather and air conditioning (blessed invention that it is).
Given these points, it makes sense I prefer to avoid a) stuffing my back end into a bathing suit at all costs b) having to be totally hairless for several days in succession (which requires two-a-day shaving sessions) and c) the sun, for fear I’ll look like an alligator skin pocketbook well before my time (think age 97).
And yet, my husband and Steppy love the beach and since I must sometimes be in service (can’t always be about me—SHUT UP), here we are. I will admit: the relaxation part of the experience has been quite wonderful. A break from the office does NOT suck. And not having to navigate the turnpike traffic has been like winning the little lotto – you know, the kind that pays out in the $40 range, but still pays.
And while there’s lots to do at the resort we’re staying at just outside of the New Jersey shore points—and amenities (tennis courts, pools, spa, driving range, golf course, evening fish frys and all-you-can-eat barbeques)—I’m most delighted by the thin mirror that is the hallmark of the living room in our two-bedroom suite. Upon discovery, I even grabbed Steppy and made her jump up and down in glee with me. She was confused by that, but whatever: Whoever came up with these Marriott Fairways—and frankly, the thin mirror—is genius.
After all, who doesn’t want to look in a thin mirror as often as possible? And, even more compelling, who doesn’t want to return to a thin mirror. Year after year after year…I’ll be here. Just brilliant.
Which leads me to my next point: Preparation for exposure. I spent many a weeks prior to this vacation contemplating how to avoid exposure of both my thick knees and the backs of my thighs. After all, no amount of diet or exercise can get rid of, you know, the dreaded cellulite. So I made a pact with myself that I would show off my fairly toned shoulders and not-horrific upper arms. But I would keep my bottom half covered like a Dutch oven full of hornets.
And for the first few days, my plan was a success. I managed to keep myself reined in by a rotation of shorts and sarongs without question. Oh, sure, Steppy wanted to know if I was ever coming into the pool or ocean or body of water du jour, but I always had an excuse: No sweetie, I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m tired, I’m hormonal, I’m sleep deprived, I’m feeling contemplative, my navel feels funny, my stomach hurts, my head is pounding, my knees are itchy, I have laryngitis, I’m just in the mood to watch. And, for three days, it worked like a charm.
But then, my brother and his girlfriend came down for the day and all bets were off. The peer pressure to get in the pool became simply off the charts. As soon as we arrived at the swimming area, along with my husband and Steppy (who, naturally, has a lovely 12-year-old tan lithe body that belongs in an itsy-bitsy- teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot bikini), the others disrobed and immediately jumped in the pool. There was no sit and read a book time. No contemplation or small talk about the pending clouds or pockets of sunshine. As soon as their bags hit the beach chairs, they took it all off.
It was as if they were on fire.
And then there was me. Stripping slowly as if I were auditioning for a pole-dancing gig at the Bada Bing. I watched in horror as they gleefully jumped in the pool with the plastic shark named “Eugene” and plastic whale named “Penny” we bought at the Shop Rite when we first got here (and then, of course, promptly named).
Mind you, with the exception of Steppy and perhaps even my husband, we could all stand to lose a few pounds, but nobody else let that get in the way of their fun—but me.
So what else is new. Seems I’m always missing out because, well, I hate my body—and, it follows, the way I look and feel in a bathing suit. After a few minutes of panicking as to what I was going to do, how I was going to keep my cover both literally and figuratively, and how I hated feeling so left out of things, I realized: It didn’t have to be that way.
I no longer wanted anybody to frolic in the water without me and quickly moved into action. Neuroses be damned, I ripped off my sarong and jumped loudly into the 5” deep section. CANNONBALL. It was utterly freeing.
And Steppy? Well, she clapped for me.
Which brings me to this: Isn’t this what all vacations are supposed to be all about? Not just freedom from work, but freedom from the craziness in our brains? All I can say is ever since that moment, Pool Jill has been having a wet and willy good run.
Until yesterday, that is, when I fell on air (typical) at the Cape May Zoo and scraped my leg from my knee to my ankle. And now, the thought of salt water –or any water, for that matter – touching 30 or so tender cuts makes me cringe.
My subconscious at work? The evil booty-hater that lives deep inside send me sailing down to the ground? I hope not–I hope it was just too much heat and a pair of faulty flip flops. But we’re off to the beach today anyway. I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not I muster up the courage to show my bruises—along with everything else.
In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying your week, vacation or not. Until next time!
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