Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fabulous at 40...or F$%k you, 40

I haven't really thought a whole lot about turning 40. I have a few more months to overthink the heck out of it anyway. And, while I haven't really stressed much about it, lately, it keeps getting thrown in my face. I've been reading and following a lot more bloggers who share a common link: They are all right about my age: 39. These lovely ladies are smart, witty, uproariously funny, sarcastic, and dealing with many of the same issues as I am. Not only are they the type of woman I aspire to be, but they are also the types of women I'd like to sit around with and drink wine.

So add to that the fact that one of my best friends is celebrating a milestone birthday in a few weeks. We celebrated our last milestone birthday shortly after we became friends. Now, we've been friends for more than 10 years, and are facing yet another one. Seems like 30 and 50 were sexier than 40 and 60, but time marches on. Back when I was younger and sexier, I set out some rules for myself about turning 40. Some hold true, a few seem silly in retrospect, and I'm sure I'll come up with dozens of dumber ones in the next few months.
  1. Have cute short hair cut after turning 40. Well, that is not going to happen. Like an idiot, I cut my hair off when I turned 30 thinking I would look smart, successful, blah blah blah. Who says you can't be or at least look like you are those things with long hair? Anyway, looking at pictures, I realize, I don't look good with short hair. However, since I often take out stress on my hair, I am counting on someone to remind me of this. It won't work, but I'll ask anyway. The last time I cut my hair off, my family literally formed a human chain in front of the door and begged me not to do it. I broke through--I was a champion Red Rover player--chopped off my hair, and cried for the next several days.
  2. No more babies after 40. Since I've all ready got one more than we planned, Brad and I have both taken permanent birth control precautions, and I've got my uterus on every prayer list in the country, God willing, this one should hold.
  3. Be one of those smoking hot, fabulous at 40 women. Well, in order to achieve that one, I will need to stop eating birthday cake for breakfast. And really, I don't care to be someone that men ogle, I really just don't want people to ask my smoking hot husband if I'm his mom. Because I will drop someone if that happens. And I don't want to be on the receiving end of those, "What's HE doing with HER looks?"
  4. Quit smoking. This is on every goal list I've ever made. I'd hoped never to start again after the last few quits, but here I am. That was kind of about number 3 too, unfortunately. Quitting smoking was really more about wrinkles than health. I know that is so superficial and vain, but I'm being honest. I was more afraid of looking old than actually getting a disease that could kill me. But quitting smoking was also about God. If you're addicted to something, that addiction becomes your god. So, my decision to quit had a lot to do with obedience. I didn't really feel I could truly submit myself to God's Will when I was always asking Him to wait until I finished my cigarette.
That's not really a lot of rules, but a few of the ones that have been knocking around in my head. I feel better having gotten them out of my head and into cyberspace. Plus, I've made room for more neurotic musings in my mind.

My girlfriend turns 60 in two weeks. She is fabulous. Even more fabulous now than she was at 50. So, I hope that at the very least I can follow her example and be a little more fabulous this decade than I was last. Since my early 30's were kind of a trainwreck of losing jobs and finding myself, I should be good. But who wants to settle for good?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I am just going to preface this by saying I am in no way looking for sympathy. I love my life, my family, and feel very blessed even though I feel slightly overwhelmed today. In the past month, we moved Chloe to Pittsburgh and sent Lily to kindergarten. After a two-week reprieve, Peyton broke his arm, kicking off an ongoing ordeal of xrays and surgery and more xrays and doctor's appointments. Thankfully, P is good, his arm is healing, and his spirits are high.

Now, in between all our normal activities of work, school, dance, gymnastics, football--Peyton still wants to go to practices and games--and doctor's appointments in Akron, we are moving my mom into our house. This requires packing up my family of origin's home and locking the door on that chapter of life. Thankfully my sister has been vigilantly helping my mom pack because I have been little or no help. To thank her, my mom is giving her a lot of crap and referring to her as the "slave driver."

Normal right, everyone's life is busy and hectic to a degree, but I feel like lately there has been a larger than normal chaos cloud centered over ours. I attribute part of that to my quitting smoking. Again. After writing about how I treated myself to the Birchbox, I thought it was pretty bad to enjoy a reward for something I hadn't done. So I stopped smoking. Like last time, I prayed that God would give me strength to make it through the cravings, that He'd help me not to kill anyone or gain 50 pounds. And He has. Sorta.

But, I should have been prepared. I have been smoking off and mostly on for about 25 years, so I've quit lots of times. Every time, Satan freaking unloads on me. It's as if there's a little group of evil minions whose sole job is to make sure I never successfully quit. "Come on, she quit again! What are we gonna do this time? Her dad's dead...Chloe went to college...Lily's in school...Her mom's all ready moving in...Let's break Peyton!" Really, you bastards?

Additionally, every time I quit, I get sick. Really sick. This time, it was the worst respiratory nonsense I've had since, well, the last time I quit smoking two years ago. I'll admit I am a dreamer, an idealist, and often an idiot. I wholeheartedly believe that each time I quit it will be the last time. I truly trust that I won't gain weight, I will feel like a million dollars, look 10 years younger, and be able to roll around in my bed throwing all the money I save into the air. I don't have unrealistic expectations. Not at all.

I'm Mary. I'm a nicotine addict. Today is my 9th day clean. I have not killed anyone, but I have gained 5 pounds. Yesterday, I opened my Birchbox completely guilt free.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Pampered Prince

My husband is a great guy. Top notch. He works hard, puts up with all kinds of crazy, doesn’t yell or even get worked up very much. He mows the lawn occasionally, takes out the garbage most of the time—he really fell short in August, but we’re not counting beans—and sometimes even wipes off the counters when I’m with one of our children at one of their events.

I shouldn’t complain about him. But I do. Occasionally. This is one of those occasions.

I know my in-laws, and I’ve known him since he was a teenager, so I know he was not deprived as a child. However, he has this really annoying habit of using, eating, drinking, slathering on, (insert your favorite action verb here) things that I have specifically bought for myself or the children.

Let’s just dive into specifics. I have very thick, wavy hair—read that as FRIZZY. So once in a great while I splurge on some ridiculously expensive conditioner or $25.00/ounce Moroccan oil that claims to miraculously remove frizz. It rarely works but my hair feels super special. My husband has roughly 37 hairs. So, when I see him with more than the recommended dime-sized portion of said hair products in his paws, I want to shave those 37 hairs off while he sleeps. We’ve talked about it. I’m sure he still uses them “once in awhile.” Seriously? I am sure the guys at work comment how smooth and shiny his 37 hairs are once in awhile .

If you get the impression that I’m a pampered princess with ridiculously expensive hair crap, I’m soooo not. I only buy fancy hair stuff about once a year--usually in August when my frizz and patience reach capacity. And though I stand firmly behind my non-princess status, I did recently spoil myself by signing up for the Birchbox. It was my gift for quitting smoking, even though I haven’t exactly quit. Yet. Stop judging me. If you haven’t heard of it, for $10/ month, you get a fabulous little box shipped to you each month. It’s filled with delightful samples of products you’d probably never buy for yourself unless you really are a pampered princess, which we just discussed I am not.

Anyway, in my Birchbox this month was a packet of frizzy hair cream (it's like they know me!), decadent body butter, a perfume sample, and a razor. A girly razor. Well, I was just thrilled because I have never owned a fancy schmancy razor and almost couldn’t wait to treat my legs to what I was certain would be an unparalleled shaving experience. I pranced upstairs giddy with anticipation only to walk into the bathroom and find my husband shaving with my new razor! I didn’t cut his throat with it. I did throw a tantrum that would embarrass most two-year-olds. And he said, “Jeez, I didn’t know it was such a big deal; I won’t use your precious razor,” as if I was being unreasonable.

 This brings me to the food. My two youngest children are Junk Food Junkies. Yes, I capitalized that on purpose. Their addiction requires Capital Letters. So, when someone eats more than their fair share of brownies, ice cream sandwiches, pudding cups or other corn-syrup laden processed disasters, wars of epic proportion break out. “LILY ATE THE LAST ICE CREAM SANDWICH!” Lily, who is nearly always guilty of anything and everything except lying, retorts, “I DID NOT!” Guess who did? Sigh...

Most recently, I got some samples of skin-revitalizing tea in the mail. I promptly brewed them up in mason jars and eagerly anticipated how youthful I would look with my fresh, invigorated skin. So you can imagine my surprise when I hear, “BLECK! What is this???” Have you guessed? Of course you have. There he is spitting my cherry-pomegranate take-all-your-wrinkles-away miracle tea into the sink.

This has happened before. Actually, he drinks anything and everything in the refrigerator. The Gatorade in the sports bottles that the kids LOVE. The last Coke. The last Sprite. The last beer. He polishes them off. Oh, unless it’s in a two-liter bottle. Or a giant jug, like grape juice comes in. Then, he’ll leave about a sip and a half in the bottom of the bottle that will stay in the fridge for weeks. Peyton came up with a plan, and we may just give it a whirl. “Mom, we should pee in bottle, put it in the fridge and see if he drinks it.” We haven’t tried it yet. We might. Be wary, my dear. Be very wary.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


This past year, I've spent a lot of time whining and complaining about my oldest child going to college, my youngest child going to kindergarten, and my middle child and only son not letting me snuggle him in public anymore. Admittedly, I've been a downer. I write another blog--No More Bellyaching--that is aptly named for the lack of whining and complaining. But, I get paid to write that one. This one is mainly to empty garbage out of my cluttered mind so I can write the other one.

And with that marvelous introduction, we're off.

Last weekend, my best friend arrived from Florida. We have clandestine meetings a couple times a year, when she comes into town, to visit her family. She doesn't tell her grandparents--who live very close and expect her entire visit to be devoted to them--when she's arriving and then hides out with me for a few days. We spend these days doing mostly nothing, laughing, and spoiling my children. She has no children and refers to herself as my kids' "favorite fake aunt," which gives her license to buy them all sorts of nonsense they don't need but really want. They share a lot of conspiratorial whispers and giggles and make me really squirmy and uncomfortable at the amount of money being spent on glitter, video games, and coffee. Respectively. Remember my kids are 6, 12, and 18.

This weekend was a lot of that. But thrown in with it, we had some really deep conversations. She is the very first friend I made when I went back to public school after a 5-year homeschooling stint. She was and is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Although we were only friends for three years before her parents moved her to the Sunshine state, we packed a lot into those years. Enough that we are still best friends 26 years later.

We've had fights and gaps in our friendship. It's hard to stay in touch when you can't hang out together all the time like most best friends do. Once we didn't talk for nearly ten years. Although as we discussed this the other day, it was a lot of, "No...10 years? Couldn't have been!" But it really was. In those ten years, we both went through some dramatic life changes. I had another baby. She lost the only baby she'd ever carry.

Sometimes we get caught up in the missed time. Feeling guilty that we weren't there for the other one during difficult times. It's easy to slide down that slippery slope, but we catch ourselves. We catch each other. That's what we have always done and what we will always do. The past is gone; we'll never get it back. But we will also never take our friendship for granted again.

Last year for my birthday she sent me a card with two old ladies lying on the beach all wrinkled fabulosity in their bikinis. It said: Another year older, another year closer to the inevitable: Moving to Florida. Someday. This morning, when I was counting my blessings and cleaning pink glitter off every surface in my bathroom, I counted that girl twice.