Countdown to 40: T-Minus 44 Weeks

So, that’s it. I’ve officially thrown in the towel and succumbed to old age.

That’s right, people, the deed has been done and I feel that I must confess . . . I wore commuter sneakers today to work. Yep, I was professional from the ankles up, but from the ankles down, I was pure casual. White socks and tennis shoes. I just couldn’t take another day of my shin-splinting five block hike from my parking lot to the office, so I threw my flats in a bag, put on my Nikes and threw caution to the wind.

The problem is — I liked it. Sure, I looked like a buffoon, but I was a buffoon with a spring in my step.

But I’m afraid that now that I’ve crossed the line, it’s going to be a fast decline into total frump-hood. I’ll pick up a smart ruffled blouse with a bow around the neck here, and a nice pair of elastic-waist slacks there… And then “comfort” will begin to trump “style” in my daily wardrobe decision, and before you know it I’ll be showing up to work wearing a faux silk warm-up suit.

There’s just no turning back after that.

As my sister so sarcastically pointed out when I told her what I’d worn to and from work — at least I wasn’t also wearing a Walkman.




Countdown to 40: T-Minus 48 Weeks

So, I seemed to have skated right past weeks 50 and 49… Is anyone surprised? Yeah, didn’t think so. But here I am, back at it, nonetheless. Allow me to share what my past month or so has entailed; not that I’m looking for sympathy or a “pass” on bad blogging behavior. Okay, maybe a little…

Rewind to mid-February, when Husband was knee-deep in wrestling. If you’re not from around these parts, you may not realize just how crazy Iowa is about wrestling (well, most of Iowa, anyway). Not only a coach, but a former collegiate wrestler and just all-around fan himself, Husband lives for this time of the year. First it’s the Sectional tournament, then the next weekend the District tournament — and then it’s four glorious days of high school wrestling-palooza, otherwise known as the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament. But what did we do the Sunday after Districts and before the week of State Wrestling? Went to a college wrestling meet, of course!

Yeah, whose idea was that? Uh, mine. I ordered tickets to the Iowa Hawkeye/Michigan Wolverines wrestling meet as a Christmas gift for our family, obviously not considering how tired we’d probably be that Sunday. But we all went anyway, and we actually had a great time overall. Some of us really liked the atmosphere of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, especially during close matches. Others of us enjoyed playing the game “Count the cauliflower ears.” (If you don’t know what this is, Google it and you’ll likely see some great examples of what happens to your ears after being banged against mats for years.) Still others of us really liked to turn around in our seats and stare at the family behind us. (Those same “others” also liked getting ice cream cones and watching the matches on the “TV’s” above us.)

The boys at Carver-Hawkeye Arena after watchin’ some “wrassluhn'”










Everything is more fun when ice cream is involved! (Unless, of course, you’re lactose-intolerant like me…)














Obviously, Boy #3 couldn’t take his eyes off the wrestling match… (And don’t ask where his shoes are. I think I’d given up by this point.)










Needless to say, it was a busy few weeks in our house, full of crazy schedules, long days, reacquainting with wrestling friends and experiencing the highs and lows of watching our team’s wrestlers win — and lose. And the day after State Wrestling was over, I was crazy enough to schedule Boy #2’s belated birthday party — at the Reptile Rescue.

So after the birthday party mayhem was over, I started my “furcation” (otherwise known as that furlough week I don’t get paid). Surely I did something enjoyable with my time off? Nope. I spent the next day and a half painting Boy #3’s room so I wouldn’t be horrified when our houseguest — a teacher from Poland — stayed with us. Not that she wouldn’t have appreciated the various “murals” on the wall, or how it was practically black beside the bed where Boy #3 would always put his hands and feet. (And yes, I do make him bathe, at least monthly.) So while I moved furniture, taped, and painted by myself, I also packed, cleaned out the van and prepared to leave Tuesday evening for Rochester, Minn., where Boy #2 had doctor’s appointments the rest of the week.

I’ve already told you a little about Mayo. Overall, it was good, but very tiring, both mentally and physically. But did I get to rest when I got home? (Do you have to even ask?) Nope, because it was Friday night, and we were picking up Mrs. Wap from the airport on Saturday evening. And our house was a wee bit on the disgusting side. We cleaned hard from the moment we got up Saturday until the moment we ran out the door to get to the airport. Oh, and of course, I waited until this day to do a very necessary cleaning chore — clean my oven.


You see, my oven had had so many things spilled in it, that no matter what you baked or roasted, at any temperature, it produced enough smoke to set off the smoke detectors. I didn’t think it would be too cool to put a roast in the oven for our guest and then have to fan the smoke detector with a towel every 3 minutes, so I knew this had to be done. Obviously, it was a bit overdue.

What followed included flames shooting to the top of the oven, smoke pouring out so much that we had to put our shirts up over our noses, and our eyes were watering — even with every window in the house open (and it was approximately 25 degrees outside), me calling Husband (who was at the grocery store) freaking out and reading on the Google that there was no way to open an oven once the self-cleaning mode started, short of using an axe.

Welcome to America.

Amazingly enough, the fire died out, the smoke cleared, and by the time we got home with Mrs. Wap there was only the slightest hint of burnt cheese smell, which mingled nicely with the AirWick fresheners and Glade Plugins that I had placed strategically throughout the house.

Moving on… The following Tuesday Boy #2 and I were back in Rochester overnight for another appointment and a follow-up X-Ray. And then back home and back to work and entertaining our out-of-country guest.

Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE Mrs. Wap. She is awesome, and we had a wonderful 3 weeks. (Yes, I said THREE WEEKS.) But you know how it is when someone is staying with you, no matter how much you like them and how comfortable you are with them, you still can’t totally relax? Okay, if any guys are reading this they are likely scratching their heads, but women, you know what I’m saying, right? And even though she didn’t eat NEARLY as much as we do, I still didn’t feel like I could just force our normal cuisine du jour on her. (Froot Loops for supper doesn’t seem like a very hospitable meal to offer guests, even though we do just fine dining on it.)

Mrs. Wap, the boys and me at—yes!—Antique Archaeology, home of the American Pickers. Some people go to Florida over Spring Break; we went overnight to the Quad Cities.










So anyway, all I’m saying is that I was busy and tired, and even though I was neglecting you, I did compose plenty of great posts in my head. If only I owned a mind-reading transcription device, you would have been thoroughly entertained and satisfied. I promise.

Because we apparently don’t believe in “leisure time,” our time will now be spent squeezing out every spare minute painting the rest of the bedrooms, cleaning out the basement, getting rid of yet more clutter and doing all those fix-it-up projects we’ve been putting off so we can finally put our house on the market after talking about it for nearly two years. (And as if on cue, as soon as I typed “fix-it-up projects” an unidentified loud noise, like a dying fan, came bellowing out of the bathroom. Boy #3 and I looked everywhere, turned the fan switch off and on, jiggled the toilet handle — nothing. Three minutes later the sound stopped abruptly and Boy #3 came walking out of the bathroom holding an electric toothbrush, which had accidentally turned on in the drawer and was vibrating like a jet engine! At least I don’t have to add one more thing to my “honey-do” list…)

Oh, and as we’re trying to make it look like a family of raccoons hasn’t been inhabiting this house for the past five years, we’ll also soon be going to baseball games and practices in three different leagues AND preparing for Husband to leave in June for A MONTH IN POLAND.

Smelling salts, anyone?

What does any of this have to do with me preparing for the big 4-0? Yeah, I don’t really know either. Except that through the busyness of life and anticipated winds of change, I realize that the older me, the almost-40 me, seems much more relaxed than the almost-30 or even the mid-30s me would have in a similar place. With age comes wisdom, or so I’ve heard. Sometimes I wish the saying went, “With age comes a sharper memory” or “With age comes a rock-hard ass”… but I guess wisdom will do.

Countdown to 40: T-Minus 51 weeks

Last week I turned 39. THIRTY-NINE. To me, that just sounds old. Darn old.

Now, please don’t take offense if YOU are 39 or older. It doesn’t sound old on you, just me. Maybe that’s because I can read my own thoughts, and my thoughts are not those of an almost-40-something. In fact, most of the time, they’re pretty immature. My thoughts are still running around in tight-rolled jeans and a KISS “Crazy Nights Tour” t-shirt. (My thoughts are also a tight-bellied size 6.)

I wish I was one of those people for whom age isn’t an issue. Such things usually don’t bother me. I’m usually such a “Whatever happens, happens” kind of girl. (Thanks be to God and my friend Effexor XR.) Not wanting to turn 40 is so cliche, it’s embarrassing. It makes me think of middle-aged women who insist on shopping in the Juniors section, sporting too-tight t-shirts that say, “Team Edward” or “Boys Suck!” It makes me think of “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” which in turn makes me want to poke my eyes out with a pencil. The thought that I could have anything in common with those women is enough to make me run with open arms toward the section of the department store that sells silky two-piece jogging suits and sweatshirts with the fake scalloped collar and a picture of a cat playing with a ball of yarn embroidered on the front. (Again, please don’t take offense if you currently own such items of clothing. Remember, it’s not you, it’s me.)

I know, I know. It’s time to face the music, accept the milestone that is to come. But like the John Mayer song says, “This is bound to take a while.” (Although what he’s singing about sounds a lot more fun…) So I’m giving myself time — 52 weeks, to be exact. By February 24, 2012, I’m going to be able to look 40 straight in the eye, flash a sly smile and say, “Bring it on, biatch!”

How am I going to do this, you ask? Hmm, good question, I answer. Would you believe me if I told you I had it all figured out, had a plan all sketched out and ready to go? No, I didn’t think so. That’s so not me. Instead, I have some jumbled, fuzzily formed, semi-focused bites of ideas that will continue to simmer as I ponder life and looks and age and attitude.

Here are, for example, some random thoughts I plucked from my cerebral stock pot:

  • Maybe I just need change my perspective. Instead of thinking in terms of years, I should concentrate on the fact that I will be 14,600 days. Then when I go back to thinking 40 years, it won’t seem like that much.
  • Tattoo? Maybe a Liz Lemon quote? Possibilities:
    “Do you need sex advice? Here’s a tip. Sometimes a lady likes to leave her blazer on.”
    “Trying on jeans is my favorite thing. Maybe later I can get a pap smear from an old male doctor.”
    “Mrs. Doubtfire shimself could not do this.”
    “I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”
  • Shedding 30 pounds should make me feel more confident. I wonder if this can be done without having to sweat or give up Golden Oreos…
  • Think: Distinguished. Experienced. Aged to Perfection. Keep repeating until you can say them without picturing Wilford Brimley or bleu cheese.

I will keep updating you on my progress toward aging gracefully instead of grumpily. I know, you are on the edge of your seat. In the meantime, if you have advice for me, like “Suck it up!” or “Get your nipple pierced!” (Yeah, no.), please leave a comment.

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my birthday last week. I was in Rochester, Minn., staying with my sister-in-law while attending some doctor appointments for Boy #2 (gastrointestinal issues). After sitting through a rough MRI with my boy, I was ready for 1) a drink and 2) chocolate. Fortunately, I got both at dinner! Happy birthday to me!

My SIL sippin’ on a margarita. Mmm…













My MIL enjoying her glass of Reisling. Yumm-o!













I opted for the Cranberry Cosmo. It went down smoooooth. Like buttah. With alcohol in it.













Yeah, that’s me. Roasting a marshmallow. When I saw that Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill in Rochester had “Make your own s’mores,” I almost peed my pants. It was SO fun, and SOOOOOO yummy!















Okay, we became a little worried when my SIL’s marshmallow erupted in flames! We could barely stop laughing long enough to blow it out. Good news, though: no fire trucks were dispatched, and her hair is still intact.















This is whatcha call “s’more bliss.” It doesn’t get much better than this!