Get off my lawn!

Getting older doesn’t have to suck. There is acquired wisdom. There are the blessings that accompany age, like seeing your children become amazing adults and then being given the ultimate gift of grandchildren. There is the realization that every day is a present that you get to open. Life is so fleeting; it is over in a flash. When we are young, an hour lasts forever, and both the best times and the worst seem to yawn on endlessly. We anxiously rush through high school, eager to “get on with it” and curse every moment we must wait. Suddenly, we’re in our late 40s and we find it incredible that, as 20-somethings, we thought 50 was ancient.

Let me tell you fuckers, 50 ISN’T old. As a 49 year-old, I can assure you that we were wrong. This body has mileage on it, yes. Three babies, more than a few fractures, surgeries, and arthritis have limited me in minor ways. I don’t spring into action like I used to, and there are days when I want to cry, I hurt so bad. But fuck that. I don’t. I push on, because I’ve acquired a belief that if you stop, you might as well die. I pop the pills and break out the heating pad and try to be safe. Mostly. And sometimes, I forget that 50 looms and I stand on a wobbly stool on an uneven surface and I hang Halloween lights and by the grace of God I don’t fall THIS time and break my ass. When I was 25 I did that shit constantly because I was young and vital and if I fell, so what? I could jump right back up. Time was on my side and recklessness was the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Old people broke their hips. Old people had difficulty grasping things and opening jars and pill bottles. Well, “old” is definitely a point-of-view to me, and while I haven’t broken a hip, I realize that the odds are in favor of that if I keep acting like a 25 year-old. The difficulty grasping is already a daily irritation.

My problem is that I still feel like a 25 year-old. Actually, somewhere in my 30s, with enough mileage on me to make me tough but with enough youth remaining to deem me vital and relevant to the rest of the world. 50 year-olds don’t attract the same attention as younger versions of themselves do. 50 year-olds who act the age they feel are laughed at or called “sad” or desperate or thought to be “having a middle-age crisis”.

Well fuck you, judgers.

I understand…..FINALLY…… why old people say they’ve “earned the right” to say what they want. To act how they want. To have no filter. You know why? Because they HAVE. You don’t need any more reason than that. When you reach the age where you realize this, you’re going to laugh and ruefully admit that you’ve become your mom or your dad. When you mutter tiredly, “I’m old”, it will be with a mixture of revulsion and pride. And when you shout “GET OFF MY LAWN!” you’ll realize it:

Fucking shit, it really is infuriating to work so hard to get the grass just so and then to see some little fucker run through it!

What I find to be bullshit is something much simpler: wear-and-tear on the face. The sagging of once majestically pert tits. And the hair color issue. Burns my ass! I have colored my hair since I was 16. I’ve been virtually every shade of red, brown, black, purple, pink, and green. Every so often, I like to return to my natural shade of darkest brown. I begin with black and let it fade. Autumn is usually when I do it, and it makes me feel good to sport that dark shade.

Until this time.

My natural hair color is no more. It has been replaced almost entirely by that harbinger of all things geriatric: white. White is pretty, and dignified on an 80 year-old. White is not so much on a 49 year-old. I hate white. I can’t wear it. It gets dirty too fast and it washes me out. It’s a vicious thing, age. It robs us of our tight skin, our perky boobies, our elastic bodies, and the melanocytes. Here’s the thing about coloring your hair dark when you have white roots: it’s impossibly high-maintenance. It’s a pain in the ass. And that’s another gift that getting older bestows upon us. We simply haven’t got time for all that maintenance. We’re too busy developing our bucket lists and going to the doctor for more drugs and yelling at those little fuckers on our lawns.

And so, tonight, I am giving the husband what he wants ( No, you dirty minds, not THAT. You’re nasty!) and dying the hair red again, with blonde streaks. It camouflages those white roots better. It’s also a younger version of me, which is who I am inside this 49 year-old shell. And that’s the irony of getting older, too. We’ve earned the right to act as young as we want to, even if we could conceivably break a hip in the process.

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I like the safer bet of sporting red hair, myself.

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Anmiversary.

4 years ago on this day, I was lying to myself.

I’ve always been a believer in my gut, because that deep, gnawing awareness of things has never steered me wrong. My heart has always been my gut’s most worthy adversary, and God knows, I’ve let “the heart have what the heart wants” too many times when my gut was fairly screaming inside my head, warning me that my heart is selfish and narcissistic. 4 years ago, my heart was not ready to admit what it had known at the same time as my gut: that 2 days prior, when my brother came upstairs and said, “Mom needs help” and my daughter had flown down the stairs while I threw on some clothes, the 911 call I would make that day was going to be the last of its kind. We’d made so many throughout the years and indeed, my whole life had been framed by 911 calls. As a child, the frantic calls for the ambulance were made for my grandmother, and then as my mother’s health declined decades later, they were for her. With every single one before September 22, 2012, my gut had reassured me that things might have been a little sketchy occasionally, but “pull through” was what my mother always did. This time, my gut was pretty quiet. As I pulled on a pair of jeans and tripped over my own feet while trying to pull my hair into a ponytail, my gut whispered, and that whisper was louder than any scream. This time is different, it said. You know this time is different.

Throughout three days of reassurances and care plans and then alternative efforts to make Mom’s slow southward descent turn around, I kept telling my gut to SHUT the FUCK UP. My heart was not letting go of the promise of the past few months. We’d been working our way back to a healthy mother-daughter relationship, which was something we’d lost back around the time my brother was born when I was 8 and THAT shitstorm had commenced. 37 years I’d been hanging in the wind while she blamed me for all her bad choices. 37 years of my own bad choices made out of loneliness and fear and not belonging anywhere or to anyone. We were working it out. She was feeling better. She was my mom again. Really my mom. Obviously, my gut was a fucking liar, right? Because I had waited all those years to finally have her in my life in a positive way, and my heart wanted that. Needed that.

In the early hours of September 24, 4 years ago, I couldn’t sleep. My gut was whispering again and I needed to silence it. At 4:30am, I called the MICU and had a quiet conversation with the kindest nurse I’ve ever known. I wish that I could remember her name. She was the charge nurse and supervised all the RNs assigned to each individual patient. My mom’s nurse was busy, so this nurse talked to me. I began to realize that she sounded a lot like my gut, and that I needed to let her talk directly to my heart. In that calm and comforting way she had, she quieted my heart’s cries that I needed my mom. I was able to sleep a bit, and then things happened the way they did. I still remember each and every moment of that day, and that in the end, my gut and my heart locked hands and helped me to make the decision that had to be made. When it was over, and my girls and I had held her hands as she left us and the sunset was so breathtaking over Lake Erie that I just KNEW she had gone peacefully, that charge nurse was coming on shift. She asked me, “Can I just hug you? I wanted to so bad when we talked and I would like to if you would let me now.” Of course. Of course.

The last 4 years have been challenging. I have fallen apart in many ways. I have been at war inside, still wondering if she ever truly loved me. In this process of falling apart and slowly trying to make myself whole again, I have come to accept that yes, she did. She did in the only ways she knew how. Maybe it wasn’t what I deserved, but it was what I was given, which is more than so many lost souls get. It has to be enough, and so my gut is telling me to open my heart and let the sadness I feel in, but to not wallow in it. Let it have the relevance it needs, but to then let it go. Embrace the love that surrounds me, and laughter, and live each day feeling gratitude. Remember that sunset when she left us, and bask in its glow of peacefulness every single day.

I will always miss my mother.

Clowns be shifty creatures

You have to hear the title in Captain Barbossa’s voice; that crafty, wily would-be captain of The Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, for this to work. Aye, clowns be shifty creatures. And by clowns, I mean politicians.

Okay, I  mean Donald Trump.

Look, we’re less than 2 months from election day, when the very fate of this country will be decided. I’ve held my tongue, for the most part, because I’m speechless when it comes to the downward turn this country has taken with regard to decency, respect, and reasonable arguments. But since this is my blog and you read my writing and you know I tend to speak my mind, I figured, awwww, fuck it. Let’s piss some people off. And, might I add, if MY OPINION (guaranteed to me by the motherfucking United States Constitution) pisses you off, then why the hell are you following my blog? Am I being dramatic? I don’t think so. I’m sure there’s some Hillary Hater out there, furiously typing a blog with the same, exact sentiment in mind. She Who Must Not Be Named. Killary. The Banshee Murderess who will take your children and cook their brains and serve them at the next State Dinner. Hillary has more titles given to her than Dr. Seuss. Trump has one. The Donald. How very original! I have a good theory as to why this is. It’s because no one in the history of the world has taken this charlatan, this carnival barker, this con man to end all con men, seriously.

Here’s a true story. When my youngest daughter was about 3, she had a toy telephone that she loved to play with. You moms remember them: Fisher Price made them, they had faces, and kids pulled them around with a string. They made irritating, wonky noises as they were dragged around the house. Sounded a lot like Sarah Palin.

One morning, she drifted into my bedroom and asked casually, “What’s Donald Trump?” in her singsong voice. This was back in the early 90’s, when there were a lot of trash stories about Trump and his mistress and Ivana getting rich off their divorce and Robin Leach’s insufferable crowing about Mar-A-Lago on commercials advertising Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Still, I was a bit taken aback.

“Not ‘what’, Sweetie, but ‘who’. Donald Trump is a rich businessman who has hotels and golf courses and named a huge skyscraper after himself.”

“So he gots lots of money?”

“Yeah, I guess so. But he’s a big jerk and not a nice guy.”

Katie (she used to be Katie before she announced, at age 8, that she was Kat) was silent for a moment, seeming to digest my words and turn them over in her head. Then, I  heard the unmistakable sound of her telephone being dialed, and her singsong voice followed, only it wasn’t sweet sounding anymore. It was a menacing, Ripley-esque “Get away from her, you BITCH” tone.

“DONALD TRUMP. I WANT MY MONEY. You  GIVE it to ME or I will SUE you.”

I was shocked. “I will sue you”? Where does a 3 year-old get the idea to sue someone? Did they say that on Animaniacs or Gem and the Holograms or her brothers’ favorite show, Masters of the Universe? I can just hear  that dialogue :

He-Man: “Alright Skeletor, you’ll regret your plans to rule the universe! By the Power of Grayskull, I will stop your evil ways!”

Skeletor: (cackling) And just howwwww do you think you are going to stop me, He-Man???

He-Man: I’ll….I’ll SUE!

Anyway, this little game of Katie’s went on for a long time. Every few days, she’d be on that telephone, threatening litigation and demanding payment for “all that work” she did for Donald Trump. I laughed about it at the time. Donald Trump was a buffoon. Harmless. And kids need an enemy for their make-believe dramatics.

I’m not laughing now, and neither is Katie, henceforth referred to as Kat. Her make-believe turned out to be prophecy in the form of plenty of stiffed workers not receiving their pay from Trump after failed business transactions; Trump University students not receiving an education they paid for; Atlantic City residents let down by Trump’s failed casino ventures; and let’s not forget all of the charities promised money by Trump who never saw a DIME.

“I want my money!” indeed. But set that aside for a moment. Set aside the fact that he’s seeking the authority to control the country’s economic future. I know, scary. But look at his other “qualities”: dishonesty, bigotry, racism, ignorance, and his notorious thin skin. Do we want to elect a man who might pick up the red phone and launch a nuclear missile at some leader of another country who put him down in a 2am tweet? Because that’s the fucking reality here, kids. Forget that he’s a  rich, entitled coward who got out of Vietnam because his feet hurt. Forget that he cheated on wife number one with wife number two and then cheated on wife number two with wife number three. Forget that he’s really cash-poor, like many “successful business magnates” are. Forget that he has accepted loans from Russian mafias. Forget that he once said that if his daughter wasn’t his daughter, he’d date her. (Creepy-ass fuck.) Forget that he has really poor taste in decorating and that the Lincoln Bedroom will end up looking like a cheap, Dollar Store-inspired whorehouse if he’s in charge of the redecorating. Red phone, my ass. It will be the jewel-encrusted “gilt” phone. Okay, let’s go back to the creepy-ass dad shit because there’s a picture:

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Yep. That’s the guy who wants to be president.

Right now, he and Hillary are neck-and-neck. Did I ever think that was going to be the harsh reality this close to the election? No! I thought BERNIE would be the candidate and that those of us who “felt the Bern” and who weren’t referring to bladder infections would be spreading the message of a new, improved America to the masses. Look, I’m  fine with the excellent work that President Obama has done. I championed him 8 years ago and I champion him now. Sure, there have been disappointments, but most of them are due to the spoiled, rotten, bratty attitudes of the assholes in Congress who flat-out refused to reach across and shake the hand of a president because his skin is black. Elephant in the room, my ass. It’s the goddamned truth. There’s more blatant racism in this country today than there was 8 years ago, and that is truly unfortunate. People are less afraid to share their racist opinions and they have a tool in the form of Facebook (thanks, Zuckerberg!) with which to spew their ignorance.

No, I  didn’t think I’d be this worried at this point. But I am. We are IN THE SHIT if this orange-complexioned hatebag gets elected. He is what’s wrong with this country. Fuckknuckles like him created the economic mess we found ourselves in over 8 years ago with their greed. No, it wasn’t George W. See? I am capable of a kind word or two about a Republican. I was one once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away. Was he a massive dingleberry on the anus of his father? Probably. But he did not create the mess alone. This is what I think. I think reality  TV needs to be outlawed and that this patron saint of the genre needs to be exiled to his gilded penthouse, along with his Children of the Corn-looking spawn. He can spend his days muttering, “I coulda been a contendah” while Melania looks on with her bored, disapproving Slavic gaze and Douchebag VonFuckface and Thurston Shitbag III drop by to regale him with their latest African safari hunting trips.

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Thanks to Bill Maher for those classic monikers, by the way.

I have thoughts about Mrs. Clinton, too. I am an equal-opportunity critic. She deserves her own blog, though, and she will get it. Right now, I need to go wash my eyes out with purified water because I can’t unsee that pic of Trump and Ivanka. My apologies, friends. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Here’s a kitten:

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