Category Archives: old

It’s Hell Getting Old

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I make a lot of jokes about getting old, and most of the time they are just that – jokes. But lately, I find myself finding a little truth underneath the silliness and the sarcasm and the self deprecation. I can remember as a child my great grandmother (who we called Nana) saying, “It’s hell getting old” and I never really understood what she meant. As I got older, I decided that she must be talking about the aches and pains of getting older. I can understand that. While I’m not yet ancient, I’ve reached the age where although I can still do certain things in my mind (like back walkovers and roller skating backwards and reverse 1-1/2s off the 3 meter board), when it comes to reality I can just forget it. And I know what it feels like to be tired, and to have an aching back, and to wake up in the morning with injuries incurred while sleeping. Obviously, that is what she was talking about, right?

But now that I am a little older than when I decided that was the explanation, I realize that wasn’t it at all. Sure – the physical aches and pains can be a real bitch, but hell? No, that’s something else.

Though beautiful and wonderful, it’s hell to watch your kids grow up. To watch them lose every little bit of that baby you carried and held and nursed. It’s hell to not be able to instantly picture their baby faces in your mind. It’s hell to realize you aren’t perfect in their eyes anymore. It’s hell to think about them leaving home and going where you can’t protect them. It’s hell knowing that your time with them is short.

It’s hell watching your parent age. Not just get older, but get old. It’s beautiful to be old enough to see past your differences and remember when they were perfect in your eyes, but hell to watch them change into something else. It’s hell to see your friends lose their parents and to know that someday you will too. It’s wonderful if you still have your parents to lean on, but hell to realize that soon they will be leaning on you. It’s hell to wonder who you will lean on then. It’s hell knowing that your time with them is short.

It’s hell when you hear about an old friend or classmate with cancer or heart disease or diabetes and realize you’ve gone from feeling shocked because he or she is too young to be affected by something like that to feeling sad and upset and outraged because it’s so unfair, but no longer shocked. It’s hell to lose friends. It’s hell knowing that your time with them is short.

It’s hell when you find yourself occasionally giving your age and then finding yourself for even a brief instance thinking, “Wait, am I 42? Or is it 43?” It’s hell to feel like your life is flying by too fast and you can’t find the brakes. It’s hell to panic because you have so much left to do, but less time than think you need. It’s hell to suddenly feel mortal. It’s hell knowing that your time is always too short.

You were right, Nana. It is hell getting old.

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My Weekend Getaway

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This weekend, mr b and I enjoyed a nice getaway. I was lucky enough to win a weekend trip to Seven Springs from 96.1 Kiss (I won it on twitter, resulting in a hilarious conversation with my mother where I tried to explain what twitter is – good times). All in all, it was a great time – we got away from the house and the kids and the farting, pooping, destructive beasts. We got a bunch of awesome free stuff. We had lots of good meals and a ton of free beer (YAY!).

I got to people watch, which is always fun. Especially when there is Crazy in attendance and let me tell you – this trip did not disappoint. The night we had passes to a lounge with a live band, Crazy was in the house. My personal favorites were: Peek-a-Boobs (who “danced” with every guy she could get her hands on and then gave one “lucky” gentleman a lap dance and then – true story – spent some time licking his face and bald head; Captain Skanky (who was dressed like a deranged pirate); 80’s Dude (complete with cut off t-shirt); Fu-Manchu Mustache; Girl Who Left Her Spanx on the Bathroom Floor; Tambourine Chick; Sequined Shirt…Dress…Wait, that’s a scarf…no a shirt…Wait – it’s attached? WTF?; At Least 40, But Still Wearing His High School Letter Jacket & Hoodie; Guy Who Kept Screaming “38 Special!” at the Band All Damned Night; and Drunk Dancing Guy (who got right next to our table and did some kind of solo version of the forbidden dance, took off his hat, swirled it around in the air and then SLAMMED IT on our table before charging the dance floor). I was in Crazy People Heaven!

The downside of the weekend was that it seemed to be part of a vast conspiracy to make me feel old. To wit:

*The morning to night free beer wore me out much faster than it did “back in the day”

* I talked to a young guy who asked how we won the contest and when I told him on twitter, he replied, “YOU have a twitter account? I don’t even have a twitter account. The unspoken “But you’re so old” came through loud and clear.

*Skiing – Good lord the skiing nearly killed me. Don’t get me wrong – I loved it. I used to be a pretty accomplished skier (having learned from my dad when I was very young), and I skied several times a week all through my teens. I went as often as I could in my twenties, but then life and kids and money (and a spectacular crash resulting in a snapped-in-half boot) got in the way, and I just never made it out to the slopes again. It had been about ten years since I had been on skis and I was nervous. First, I had to wait in the ENDLESS, ANNOYING, BLISTERINGLY HOT rental lines, the whole time my leg muscles burning just from standing in ski boots (next time, I am renting before I get there). Plus everything had changed so much since the last time I was there that I spent about 15 minutes at the bottom of the mountain trying to figure out where to go, which lift to take and to psych myself up. The good news is that after all the fretting and stressing (and wondering if I was going to be the one that falls getting off the lift, causing the whole thing to shut down), as soon as I got on the slopes, it was like I never stopped skiing. It all came back to me. I knew what I was doing! I felt like a teenager again! That is, I did for approximately 4 minutes, at which time my thighs started screaming something like “Ouuuuuch” (and shortly afterward morphed into “OuuuuuchMOTHERFUCKER!”) and my knees just looked at each other and said, “Bitch CRAZY!” But even though I could only do two runs at a time and had to rest in-between, and even though I stuck to trails, rather than the black diamond slopes of my youth (I may be crazy, but I’m not stupid, I had a great time. The weather was amazing, the conditions were perfect, the solitude was awesome (mr b didn’t ski), and I loved it. I can’t wait to go again (though it might not be until next year).

*In addition to the long lines and sweltering heat of the rental lines, I also had to REPORT MY WEIGHT!

*Aaaaand when I got my printed rental ticket, I discovered that their program uses only the year of birth to calculate how old you are and it ROUNDED UP MY AGE!

*The following sentence may have possibly passed through my lips, “Three dollars for a bottle of Coke? I remember when it was a damned quarter!”

But the best part of the weekend was the random acts of kindness that I got to do. The sponsors of the contest gave each of us a book of passes for activities like skiing, tubing, bowling, skating, mini-golf, meals, drinks, parties, etc. And no one (especially anyone my advanced age) could fit all of it into the weekend (after which the passes expired). So mr b and I had a great time picking out non-jackhole people to give them to. I loved seeing the look on people’s face when they realized they didn’t have to shell out an arm and a leg for a lift ticket, or that they could surprise their kids with tubing or bowling or skating. It made an old lady’s weekend.

In Your Head Syndrome

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I have a problem. A delusion, if you will. I call it In My Head Syndrome. You see, in my head, I can do things. Things I can’t do in reality. It’s kind of like when you decide to paint a room (or finish a craft project or organize a closet), and as you are planning it (in your head), you think, “This will be a breeze. I’ll be done by lunchtime and then I’ll have the whole day to lay on the couch watching old 90210 reruns and eating bon-bons get other things done.” And then you start painting and you think, “Hmmm…this is taking a little longer than I expected.” And then hours and hours go by and you are not even close to being done and you’re getting pissed off because your couch and Kelly’s drug problem and a box of bon-bons your other chores are waiting and you can’t believe you ever thought you could get it done by lunchtime.

If this (or something similar) has ever happened to you, you are afflicted with In My Head Syndrome.

In My Head Syndrome tends to affect us older folks more than the younger set. It’s not that younger folks are more in touch with reality, it’s just that they may have fewer responsibilities getting in the way of getting things done. Or they have more free time to work with. Or – and this is the big one – their bodies haven’t betrayed them like ours have.

Now, I mentioned bodies betraying us and you might be wondering what that has to do with painting or crafting or organizing. But you see – the biggest and most dangerous symptoms of In My Head Syndrome are physical. In the most severe cases, the results can be physically painful. Both severe and mild cases are emotionally painful.

In case I have any young people reading who don’t think In My Head Syndrome affects them, let me offer you some proof that it does. Remember when you went to your second cousin’s wedding and your parents started dancing. The way parents dance? In My Head Syndrome. And remember when your uncle went sled-riding with you and crashed into a creek and just laid there for a while? In My Head Syndrome. And I KNOW you remember your ninth birthday party when your mom and aunt decided to show off their ballroom moves and fell into the TV in front of all your friends? You guessed it – In My Head Syndrome. See – these examples were emotionally painful, although not so much for the afflicted person, but those around them – so like it or not, YOU are affected by In My Head Syndrome.

The severe cases can be very painful. I know this from experience. I was much more athletic growing up (which admittedly isn’t saying much. A cactus is more athletic than I am now). I took gymnastics from the time I was four through high school. I was a diver all through high school and two years of college. And even though it’s been years and many pounds, I am apparently still under the impression that I can do a back handspring or a full-twisting 1 ½ back dive. Now I’m sure this won’t be as much of a surprise to you as it was to me, but: I cannot.

Certain things can cause In My Head Syndrome to flare up – taking the kids to gymnastics/baton/etc, looking at old photos & videos , class reunions, alcohol, and many more. Right now, there is a serious In My Head Syndrome epidemic due to the Winter Olympics. If you are anything like, you will watch the ski-jumping and luge and half-pipe and think to yourself, “That looks easy. I could so do that!”

And like me, you would most likely be wrong. Because In My Head Syndrome means that you are way faster, stronger, smarter, more graceful, more motivated, cooler and more awesome IN YOUR HEAD than you are in reality.

Sadly, there is no cure.

It’s All Downhill From Here

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It started earlier this year – I noticed that when faced with teeny tiny print, it seemed like my eyes took a couple seconds to focus. It wasn’t a big deal, though – after a split second, I could see just fine. Then in October, I took Hedge out to dinner for her birthday. The restaurant was dim and when they brought the menus, Hedge and I looked at them, then looked at each other and laughed – we’re old, haha, we can’t see, heehee. It was funny at the time – a joke (this may have something to do with the mojitos).

Then just after the first of the year, I got the plague flu and found myself camped out on the couch with tea and blankets and approximately 15 different over-the-counter medications. All of which have teeny, tiny print. I laid there on my deathbed sickbed and tried to figure out if I needed one pill or two, if I could take it again in four hours or six. And I couldn’t. I seriously could not read the backs of those pill bottles. But I wrote it off as the lighting – it was dim in the room. Yeah – that’s it.

Earlier this month, I got a new cell phone. I love it especially because I can check my email and catch up on twitter, etc when I don’t feel like pulling the laptop out. I would sit here for hours in the evening, reading emails and blogs while I watched TV. And then suddenly I couldn’t see the teeny tiny words anymore. And I DO mean suddenly – as in one day I could see it just fine and the next, I couldn’t.

As I sat here in shock that my eyes could fail me so quickly, I noticed that my aunt had left a pair of reading glasses on my coffee table.

Hmmm…

I thought about it, then rejected it. I do NOT need reading glasses. Then about an hour later, I tried again. And still, I couldn’t see it. And I thought, well, maybe. Maybe I’ll just try them, so I can prove that they are too much, that I won’t be able to see with them ON. I don’t need reading glasses.

I think we all know where this is going, don’t we?

I put those glasses on and I swear, I heard angels singing. It was like the heavens opened up and bestowed on me PERFECT VISION.

Sigh. It’s all downhill from here.

Tragically Unhip

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During the drunken old lady trampoline extravaganza:

The boy: Ouch I hurt my ankle!

Hedge: Ooo, I know – rice!

Gina: What?

Hedge: You know, RICE. RICE? For sprains?

Gina: I have no idea.

Hedge: Duh – RIIIIIIIIIICE – wrap, ice, compression, elevate.

Gina: Wrap?

Hedge: Yeah, wrap….oooohhh, yeah. What the hell is the R for, then?

Gina: Maybe it is rap.

Hedge: Wrap – W.

Gina: I know, but maybe it’s RAP, I mean – that might distract you from the pain.

Hedge: Oh, you mean rap like…uh…

Gina: Yeah…um…

Hedge: …………

Gina: …um…….

Hedge:….Yo Yo Yo…er

Gina: …yeah yeah…getcha

Hedge: boom chicka…

Gina: We are so white

Hedge: And old. Don’t forget old. You have any Tom Jones?

And I Walked to School, Uphill, Both Ways…

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You know, nothing makes you feel quite as old as helping your kids with schoolwork. This weekend, I was trying to help the boy prepare for his social studies test and I discovered that I have become my grandfather.

The test was on the geography of Eastern Europe, so I set him up with one of those online map quizzes where it asks you to identify countries by clicking on them. He did pretty well, getting most of them right, but occasionally, he would falter and look at me for help and let me tell you: I am a Big Fat Geography Failure.

Now, I have never been particularly great at geography, but I did OK. But this time, I can’t even be blamed for my failure. It’s because I’m old. Not that I can’t remember the stuff from when I studied it back in the 70s and 80s (it’s my short-term memory that sucks). No – it’s the fact that when I studied this stuff way back when, the map was completely different!!

We had East and West Germany. There was no Croatia or Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. We had Yugoslavia. Czech Republic and Slovakia? Nope – Czechoslovakia. And there was one big country called Russia or USSR, depending on who was doing the talking.

I am old! Old enough that the maps are way different from “my day”. I’m not totally sure, but there’s a chance that there may have only been one or two continents back when I was in school. And they were all inhabited by dodos and mastodons.

Sigh.

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Some of my favorite photos from the past week:

A sweet girl’s birthday:

Waiting patiently at the window for her big girls night with a friend:

There was an insane person in front of me in line with a feather purse (crappy illicit cell-phone photo):

To show you how redneck my town is, here is the ladies room at the local bowling alley (I wish I were kidding):

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And today’s embarrassing photo from my youth (first in a series of however many it takes until I get tired of it):

Angel costume, candy apple, toilet: priceless
Also – doesn’t my girl look like me?

In a Funk

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I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately and I don’t know why. I’m not sad, exactly, or crabby, or tired or bored. It’s just a strange out-of-sorts kind of feeling and I can’t seem to shake it. I’m sure if I mentioned it to anyone who knows me they would think it was my 40th birthday approaching (one week fro today), but honestly, it isn’t. I’m not really bothered by the number, other than the feeling that I can’t possibly be 40, since I just graduated high school last month and college last week, right? Eh – maybe it is a little subconscious, nudging reminder of my mortality working on me.

Plus, my boy started middle school today and I guess that’s getting to me a little. I know middle school can be a veritable minefield and I just want things to go well for him. We had orientation on Friday and I almost died of boredom and frustration. They told us that we parents would only need to be there for 15 minutes, so I coordinated with work to be unavailable for about 30 minutes, given travel time. And then two fucking hours later when I was still at the school, I exploded into a million pieces. Or I thought about it, anyway. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been actual, useful information provided to us, but instead it was two hours of droning on and on about every stupid thing and having every single teacher introduce themselves. Including the ones that they won’t even be having contact with this year. I don’t care who teaches 8th grade math when my kid won’t be there for two years, jackasses.

Of course, the orientation got off on the wrong foot with me when they asked us all to stand. OK, sure, they’re going to say the pledge of allegiance – makes sense at a school. But no. instead, we were treated to a teacher singing the national anthem. First off – WTF?? It wasn’t a baseball game, it was a bunch of kids and some of their parents in the middle school cafeteria. Second, it sounded exactly like what you would expect a teacher singing the national anthem in the school cafeteria. But I shouldn’t complain. After all, we got to enjoy such beloved versus like, “What so proudly we hmmmm, at the twilight’s last gleaming” and “O’er the lamp parts we watched…”

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We had a surprise 40th birthday party to go to on Saturday, which was pretty fun. As with every event in mr b’s family, it was a big drunkfest. Scabs and I sat on a glider on the deck and managed to get almost every person that passed us to get us drink refills. It was a thing of beauty. Oh, and also? You know how when you spend the day swimming in the ocean and then you can still feel your body moving in the waves for the next 12 hours? Well, it works the same way with a glider. All night long and into the next day, I could feel myself rocking back and forth. Which made the hangover all the more delightful. Needless to say, Sunday was pretty much a wash as far as getting anything done around the house. I worked for a couple of hours on a dress I am sewing for the girl (Belle’s blue dress, for those of you up on your princess fashion), and then I laid down to rest for the next eleventy hours because sitting upright and pinning pleats is exhausting and has nothing to do with being (almost) old and hungover.

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I swear – the universe was trying to cheer me up this morning. Because on the drive in, I saw:

1 – person standing at a bus stop shaving their face with an electric razor. She wasn’t even using a mirror.

1 – person walking in the park wearing full-blown winter gear – parka and all. And a Hawaiian shirt on top.

1 – Hare Krishna.

And…

1 – man wearing an ankle-length nightgown over his pants (and also apparently a white blanket tucked into the waistband under there) and a leather bomber jacket, who – while crossing the street in front of me as I was stopped at a red light – decided that right now would be the time to stop and do some squats and lunges.

Why, oh why couldn’t I have had my camera ready?

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And finally – the quote of the week:

We were at a restaurant this weekend and we were talking to the waitress about how the normally busy place was kind of quiet. She and the other waitresses were speculating about the reason for the dead night, and she said,

Sweet, but terribly young, waitress: “We usually have slow nights when there are concerts nearby. I heard there is one at Consol Park tonight.

Mr b: “Oh yeah – who is it?”

SBTYW: “The Sticks. I don’t know – I never heard of them.”

Heehee. I am getting old.

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Also – I am pretending like the Burgh Mom get-together never happened, because I couldn’t make it for the second time and I am bummed out about it, so if it never happened, then I never missed anything, so LALALALALALA I can’t hear you…