Friday, July 30, 2010

As If To Prove My Point... 12-year-old granddaughter made the following comment yesterday, upon learning we had planned a short vacation:

"Do we have to go to the beach?  It's so boring!!!

(Please refer to my last post titled "What Happened?", paragraph six, which begins, "After having children...")

Please dear God, let me hang on until my sixties.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Happened? (Or why you should never calculate the time you have left)

I swear, someday I'll post about something I've handcrafted (not just the pathetic excuses I craft to explain why I'm not actually making anything).  But this is more fun.  Or more cathartic.  Well, at least I don't have to get off the couch.  I love my laptop.  So here's my latest realization for all it's worth.

Last night was another late night spent watching old episodes of Roseanne.  (Okay, after I spent too much time and money shopping online.  Again, I love my laptop.)  I was noticing how young some of the characters and guest stars looked, so I opened up my laptop (yep, love this thing!) and started checking their ages.  This required a little math, but I handled myself pretty well given the time of day and my lack of sleep.  The episode I was watching was from 1992, eighteen years ago.  As I was attempting to do the calculations, it dawned on me that those eighteen years went by pretty fast.  I remember very clearly what was going on in my life in 1992, and it seems like only yesterday.  With this came the sad realization that eighteen years from now (which will surely go by even faster than the past eighteen) I WILL BE 70 YEARS OLD.

70 YEARS OLD.  Now that is a sobering fact.  (For those of you who lack my math skills but are dying to know how old I am, I turn 52 this year.) Of course, with this realization I had to take stock of what I've done with my life so far.  Mostly it has been spent  wasted dreaming of a better future.

My childhood was spent dreaming of the day I'd be an adult and could make a happier life for myself.  When I was grown and had my own family, we wouldn't bake our cake mixes.  No, we'd enjoy the batter right out of the mixing bowl the way God intended.  I don't remember a lot of other specifics (or at least any I'd be willing to share).  Just knowing my children and I would eat cake batter with a spoon was enough for me.

As a young adult with very little money, I always dreamed that some day my bank account would be full. I never let myself get too consumed by the day-to-day pressures of adulthood or the things we had to live without.  I knew someday it would all get easier.  And it did.  Well, for a while at least.  Until the real-estate bubble burst, taking my retirement funds (and all the rest of our money) with it.

After having children and realizing it was freakin' hard work, I held on (admittedly by a thread) knowing that someday the nest would be empty and my husband and I could relax and travel the world. Okay, maybe only a couple of times a year, but it would just be the two of us.  No kids whining about how boring Hawaii is or how they wish they were at home hanging out with friends.  And if the kids matured on schedule, we would find ourselves in a kid-free zone before we turned 50.  Hallelujah!  Still young enough to get around without scooters.

Now that my forties are behind me, I find myself raising my two grandchildren.  It will be at least another ten years before the youngest leaves for college. I want to be happy that I'll still be in my sixties when I finally have my freedom.  But I'm already tired.  My joints hurt when I walk.  I've lost my enthusiasm.  And my nest egg cracked long before the kids flew away.  So I'll try to hang on for a little while longer, content (for the moment, anyway) that at least I still have a nest.

Friday, July 23, 2010

All My Children

My husband has seen the evil in me and claims to love me anyway.  And how do I reward this wonderful man?  I treat him like one of my children.  (The details aren't important.  Okay, the details would embarrass me.)

Around 3 a.m. I had to venture upstairs to yell at my 12-year-old granddaughter, who seems to think because it's summer she can stay up all night listening to her tunes.  And singing along... loudly.  And because she's practically a teenager and thinks like one, I don't feel comfortable knowing she's awake and unsupervised.  (I knew there must be some really good reason I couldn't sleep at night.  I thought God was mad at me, but really in His infinite wisdom He was looking out for me by helping me look out for my impressionable grandchild.)  Anyway, I was feeling bad for yet another day spent yelling at my long-suffering husband.  As I started back down the hall to watch some late-night tv, I had this overwhelming desire to go kiss my husband on the forehead as he lay sleeping.  (Well, that and I just needed to check that he was still breathing.)

It occurred to me that I really do treat him like a child---I yell at him all day to pick up his stuff, tell him when he's done something stupid, and fuss at him when he doesn't put his dirty cups in the dishwasher.  Then at night when the house is quiet and he's sleeping soundly, I look at him in awe and wonder how I could have ever been angry at this sweet person.  Then I kiss his cheek and make sure he's breathing.  Just like any mom would do.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's All in a Day's Work

What was I thinking, actually paying for physical therapy when there are endless opportunities to stretch and strengthen my ankle right here at home???  Cooking, cleaning, laundry, chasing after kids...the list goes on.

I'm thinking of breaking another limb so I can get a break of a different kind.  And this time I'll be in no rush to resume my normal activities.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Deceived with Surgical Precision

I had my final visit with the orthopedic surgeon yesterday. Each visit revealed a little more truth regarding my recovery from a broken ankle.

First visit (pre-surgery)

Doctor: "Your ankle is broken in three places. We can put it in a cast without surgery, but you'll most likely develop arthritis at some point.  I recommend surgical repair with the insertion of a metal plate and screws to pull everything together. You're young...blah, blah, blah...and we want to keep you that way" (My husband was in the room and says there was "and active" in the middle of that sentence, but I had heard all I needed. The surgery was going to keep me young.)

Me: "Okay. Surgery it is."

Second visit (post-surgery)

Doctor:  "Everything looks good. The bones all came together nicely. Sometimes the metal plate bothers the patient and they choose to have it removed after six months."

Me:  "No way in hell is that gonna happen."   (Well, that's what I was thinking.)
Third visit

Doctor:  "Everything is looking good." (No idle chit-chat; he's a busy man.)

Me (As he's escaping out the door):  "So when can I expect the swelling to go down?"

Doctor (no doubt thinking, "Damn! I almost made it out the door"):  "I cut my thumb about twenty years ago. It still swells, but I'm the only one who can really tell. Your ankle will probably be the same. It might swell the rest of your life, but most likely you'll be the only one who notices." (For once in my life, it isn't about my vanity. It hurts when it swells.)

Me: "Oh."

Final visit

Doctor:  The x-rays look good. Your ankle will probably never be as good as before, but if it gives you any trouble call me. You might feel pain when the weather changes. And because you have small ankles, you might find that the hardware bothers you. Some people choose to have it removed six months after surgery." (Sorry doc, you'll have to pay for your own vacation home. I can't imagine a scenario where I'll willingly undergo more surgery.)

Me:   "What about the swelling? How long until it goes down more?"

Doctor: "That's probably the best it's going to get."

Me:  "What about the numbness on the top of my foot? When can I expect  that to get better?"

Doctor (doubling back from the hallway):  "When we cut through nerves, sometimes they grow back together.  Sometimes they don't.  You'll know within six to nine months."

Me:  (Frankly, I was too stunned to speak.  Besides, the doctor was already down the hall dictating his notes for my chart.)

What happened to my arthritis-free, active, youthful happy ending???  Seriously, I like my surgeon and he's really good at what he does, which I'm sure is why he's so busy.  But I guess at my first visit I should have barricaded the door and asked more questions.  I don't like unpleasant surprises.

So three months after my fall down the stairs, I've learned these truths: I will probably never recover full use of my ankle, I'll have swelling for the remainder of my life, my foot will most likely stay numb forever, and I now have the ability to forecast the weather.  And I'm still three months older.  So much for staying young.