Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Call It What you Will. . .

Menopause.  The Change of Life.  The Critical Period (or really lack thereof).  Whatever you want to call it, I've been ready for it since the day I gave birth to my last child.  No more children; no need for the uterus, the fallopians or ovaries.  I was ready to yank them out and donate them to an organ bank a long time ago.  My gynocologist, however, wasn't in agreement.  So, I toiled on until now.

I've had some symptoms for awhile.  Hot?  All the time (southerners call it "my own personal summer").  Itchy? Check.  But really, the bitchy and forgetful part haven't been so bad. I've been fairly open and ready to poke fun at myself when the sniping bitch rears her head and am quick to spin it back into position. In fact, I pride myself on quick thinking and innovative action.

Last week, a friend dropped by with little notice. I had enough time to pick up the dog toys, put the extra dirty dished in the oven and make a fresh pot of coffee.  And, we had a delightful visit, talking about, of all things, our experiences with The Change.  Her biggest complaint is her swiss cheese memory, which her children are quick to point out when it involves something they claim they have already told her.  You know, things like I'm having fifteen people over tonight, will you cook something?

That evening when Moondoggy came home, I told him of the visit, laughing at the funny stories my friend shared.  I preheated the oven for dinner, then continued the conversation, asking in a somber tone if I had been successful at not being overly moody or bitchy.  Moondoggy assured me, my bitch has been painless and sometimes downright funny.  I felt pretty darn proud of myself.

Proud, until I smelled melting plastic.  The dishes!  I had left them in the oven and forgotten.  My white plastic colander was dripping through the oven grates and pooling on the oven floor at a temperature of 375˚.  The stench overpowering.

I was stunned.  How could I forget?

Moondoggy grabbed his coat and brought me mine.  As he helped me put it on he said, "You know, you only asked about being bitchy, you didn't ask me about how your memory has been."

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

And The Beat Goes On. . .

Often, during the oppressive days of the summers of my youth, the neighbors with pools would run up a flag signaling that the pool was open.  Like vultures, we would ride around the neighborhood, circling, waiting for the flags so we could pedal home and drag our parents to the neighbor's pool.  We would play games: Marco Polo, Shark, Underwater Tea Party.  And when there was nothing left to do, we’d ask our mom  (who had grown up as the oldest child in her family) to “Judge” our underwater handstands.  Enjoying the poolside herself, she would assign arbitrary numbers to our attempts as a form of judgement without using any uniform criteria.  In other words, she was making it up as we went along.  And it worked.  We would repeatedly attempt to better our score.  As the older child, I caught on to what she was doing so that when I got tired, I joined her at the side of the pool and “helped” her continue to judge my little sister until she was thoroughly spent. I knew the game was over.

When my kids were small and bored and looking to expend extra energy, I would tell them to run around the house and I would time them.  I’d sit on the front stoop and when they returned, assign an arbitrary number for which they would then attempt to beat.  Around the period where my oldest could tell time, he caught on to what I was doing so that when he was tired, he would sit with me and check his watch while his younger brother continued to run around the house in attempt to better his time. (In all fairness, youngest did take the State Championship in the 4x400 at the State Track Meet in his junior year of HS.) My oldest son knew the game was over.

Yesterday, a cold, windy, blecky day, I was home.  No longer a child, my own children grown and out of the house, I pulled the same trick on my dogs.  I stood at the top of the steps and tossed a ball down.  The dogs chased the ball, ran it up the steps and I’d toss it again.  Finally, they figured out they could do it all themselves.  Drop the ball, chase it down and return to the top only to drop it again.  My older dog (12 pounds, age 11) kept pace fairly well, but the “baby” (5 months, 28 pounds) has boundless energy.  On the final toss down the steps, the oldest was in the lead, got the ball, returned to the top of the stairs, ran into the living room (with the baby right behind him) and pushed the ball under the couch where neither of them can reach.  Then, he ran back to the stairs and pretended to drop the ball, sending the baby back down the stairs and on a frantic search.  Older dog curled up on the couch. Game over.