For Better or for What?

Today is my 24th wedding anniversary.

There must be some mistake, since I used to think only old people could have been married this long.

We have now been married longer than we were single. It blows my mind.

People often ask hubs and I, “What’s your secret?” which then leads to an awkward silence, since we aren’t really sure we have one.

The more I thought about it, I realized that the real marriage secrets to success are pretty simple. Sure, the marriage counselors and divorce lawyers would love for us to think otherwise. But I think I found the secrets just by studying the pictures in my wedding album.

Once I dusted it off.

Simple Secrets to Marriage Success

1. Always smile and listen when your spouse is telling you something that in no way pertains to the event or situation you are currently in. Like the wife who explains kitchen paint colors in great detail during a sudden-death overtime NHL game. This obviously pertains to the picture above, where hubs is clearly explaining to me how great the donuts were at the coffee shop that morning and that he changed the oil in his car last night.

2. Surround yourselves with friends who like to have fun. Being around other goofy people has always brought out the best in our marriage.

3. It’s not always all about you. Sometimes you need to take a back seat and let someone else take the wheel for a while.

4. When you’re feeling rather cranky and a fight may be brewing? Get some food. Sometimes the only thing between you and an epic battle with the spouse is a big plate of mashed potatoes.

5. Be careful what you throw. That pelting with 15 bags of rice may have stung a bit, but the wrong words thrown at a loved one can leave scars for a very long time.

6. When words fail you, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned kiss.

So to my wonderfully patient, funny, supportive, loving, and handsome husband…a very Happy 24th Anniversary!

I can’t wait for the next 24.

Tooth or Dare

There is a certain amount of annual overhauling maintenance that comes with the territory when you’re over 40.

I suppose that’s the case at any age, but since I don’t like visiting the doctor for any reason, I haven’t always been the best at keeping those annual dates.

But since the fastest way to look 46 older than I really am would be to start losing my teeth, I’ve been pretty diligent about my every-six-months dental visits.

But I hate them.

The only reasons I keep my appointments are:

  1. My fear of losing my teeth
  2. The amount of money my parents spent on braces
  3. My love of corn-on-the-cob
  4. The funny chick who cleans my teeth

Yes, I love my dental hygienist. She’s a mom with two younger girls and a crazy puppy. They go camping, her girls play soccer, and they live in our same smallish town.

So even though my mouth is wide open for 80% of the time and I’m drooling, we still have pleasant conversation.

It’s like a mom’s night out, except without the martinis.

With spit up and ugly bibs, minus the babies.

This morning I pushed myself out the door, arguing (you know argue with yourself too) that at least I wouldn’t have to go back until Christmas and I could have a nice chat with what’s-her-name (because for all my liking her? I never remember her name).

I chugged the last of my HUGE mug of coffee, brushed my teeth a second time for brownie points good measure, and was out the door.

So when some other lady-who-cleans-teeth came out and called my name?

This is where the appointment went down hill.

She led me all the way to the room in the back, a room usually reserved for the pediatric patients. I briefly wondered if I would get to pick a prize, since my daughter got a Rubik’s Cube and a teddy bear just last week.

“I’m Kathy and I’ll be filling in today,” she finally admitted. I wanted to say filling in for who? so I could remember my favorite gal’s name, but I couldn’t speak.

She cranks my mouth open and starts scraping. No questions about the kids, my summer plans, my pedicure, or what the weather is going to be like.

Nothing. Just scraping.

Keep in mind that I chugged that HUGE mug of coffee.

After some more scraping, digging, and generally offensive poking around she gets out what I think is the water-pic thingie.

“I’m going to use this on the stains.”

Stains?

(Mental note: switch to white wine)

She proceeds to use a tool that I know has never been used on my pearly whites before. It’s not that regular water-pic thingie that they use to fill your mouth with an insane amount of water until you gag.

This thing? Like a power-washer for your enamel.

With a sound like nails on a chalkboard (if you are my age, you know that sound).

Tiny jets of water are spewing into my hair, onto the face I actually made-up for the occasion, and down my throat.

I didn’t need any more water down my throat…or had you forgotten the HUGE mug of coffee I chugged?

The over-40 bladder is not something to be taken lightly.

Finally she declares me stain free. Actually she doesn’t declare anything, she just stops pummeling my teeth with highly pressurized water.

And we move on to the polishing and the other water-pic thingie.

Cue full bladder.

The more I hear the sound of the polisher and the whish-whish of the water-pic thingie filling my mouth, the more I need to use the restroom.

Mouth filling with water….whish-whish….

At what point in this torture would I even be able to get up? Not while being blasted or polished or water-picked.

When I almost can’t stand it anymore, she suctions out my mouth and asks if she should raise the chair to an upright position while I wait for the dentist to come in.

I take my opening, not caring that I’m wearing a dry smudge of spit and an ugly blue paper bib.

I excuse myself and practically run down the hall to the beautifully appointed bathroom which I know I’ve helped pay for over the years.

Ahhh.

Back in the chair, the dentist chats me up, asks several nice questions (which I can answer, since he isn’t torturing me with tools), and I’m done. Back after Christmas.

Whew.

Next up? My annual OB/GYN appointment. I love my doctor; she’s a mom and she’s funny and just makes it so much easier to force myself to keep my appointment.

I just hope she doesn’t call in sick.

Why I’m So Hot

I can feel his eyes on me as I dress and move towards the door.

“I thought for sure you’d do it today,” he says through sleepy whispers.

My gaze drops to the floor and I sigh, “Not today; maybe next week. I’m just not ready.”

He mumbles something and rolls over, not wanting to press the issue. How can I explain this to him in a way that he’ll understand?

I can tell by his reaction he thinks I’m a certifiable basket-case; a nut; a kook.

But he’s called me on it, and he’s right.

I’ve developed a phobia of sorts.

I just can’t bring myself to wear shorts this summer.

And today? We hit the 100-degree plus mark.

They taunt me from the drawer with their short legs and breezy leg openings. In their neatly organized piles sorted by color and fabric, they promise summer fun and cuteness.

One pair even has pleats that I carefully ironed last fall before putting them away for the last time.

But was it the last time for the season, or the last time at all?

I’ve always been a shorts-in-the-summer kind of gal, always made sure that I had all the basics covered: a white pair, a dressier pair, denim, khaki, and maybe a crazy plaid pair. Funky cut-offs for the beach; snazzy linen for brunch.

But plans like that were made with legs that I haven’t seen in a few years.

Not the legs I’m hobbling around on these days.

Lately I’ve become rather fond of knee-length short-type things (Bermudas?), skirts that end at the knee, and capri pants. All of those styles that cover that back part of the leg. You know, the longest part.

My ankles are rather nice, thank you very much.

As I get closer to that looming 50th birthday in a few years, I find that even though I’m comfortable with myself, I’m not so comfortable subjecting other people to the horrors that age is bestowing on me.

While my legs have always been pale, now that paleness is accentuated with purplish veins like the doodles of a distracted middle school girl.

In purple Sharpie pen.

Knees are never really sexy, but mine are now encased in baggy skin. Where exactly did the fat under there go?

It quite possibly migrated north and stopped for a layover on the shores of my belly button.

That explains a lot.

And don’t even start on the exercise thing. I suppose that exercise alone would transform my legs, make them shorts-worthy in no time. Or possibly make the veins even veiny-er.

If I were willing to commit to it.

I even went shopping, determined to find the pair of shorts that I could actually wear with confidence this summer.

If I thought my legs looked horrid at home, they looked like abstract art under the tragic fun-house lights in the dressing room at Kohl’s.

Do they do that on purpose? Is there a hidden camera show I’m not aware of that taunts middle-aged women with cute clothes, then lures them into a room with hideous lighting and crazy mirrors?

If there is, I was a contestant.

This battle isn’t over, but for now?

Shorts:   1
Sherri:   0

If You Give a Dad a Daughter

If you give a dad a daughter…

he’ll probably wonder what to do with her.

Especially if he’s a man’s man.

So he’ll play catch with her, teach her to climb trees, and to ride a bicycle.

Which seem like things a girl wouldn’t like to do.

But she will.

He might wonder if she’ll be all emotional and hard to understand.

So he’ll be silly with her and hope for the best.

And she’ll throw it right back at him.

Tenfold.

And when they are teasing each other and being silly, it might remind him of a song.

So he’ll attempt to sing it to her; not necessarily in the right key.

Or with the right words.

Which will make him decide to look the lyrics up on the Internet.

While looking up the lyrics on their iPods, he’ll remember a funny video he saw on Youtube.

So he’ll show it to his daughter and they’ll laugh together.

Laughing will remind him that he’s thirsty.

So she’ll offer to make some iced tea, which they both love.

As they sit together on the couch enjoying their iced tea together, he’ll remember a show he taped from The Discovery Channel about a tea farm in China.

Which she won’t want to watch, but she’ll humor him and sit with him for a while.

Sitting next to him will make her relaxed, and she’ll cuddle up next to him.

Having her cuddled up next to him will remind him why he loves being a dad.

Which will make him wonder what he would ever do without her.

And so glad that you gave this dad a daughter.

One of my very favorite books to read to my daughter was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie …Happy Father’s Day, babe.

Flash Mob Frenzy

Flash Mobs* are all the rage these days.

Liz at a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog was involved in one at the Blissdom conference. She didn’t tell a soul and she rocked it.

They had one in my own little town just a week ago, right in the middle of downtown.

I’ve been thinking that I would love to be in a Flash Mob.

Then I realized that I actually have been…

Hot Flash Mob

Participants: Group of 8 middle-aged women attending their twice-monthly meeting at work.

Setting: Small conference room; oval shaped conference table surrounded with 8 chairs that recline slightly.

Scene: A nice spring day, temperatures in the low 70’s, after lunchtime.

Scene opens in the conference room as three of the participants enter with their work files and large soft drinks from various convenience stores or fast-food joints.

One by one they enter and talk amongst themselves, until the Boss Lady enters and sits at the head of the table. Everyone chooses a seat and gets their files out of their tote bags.

Agendas are passed around and the meeting begins.

First participant appears to be listening to Boss Lady, but suddenly begins to fan herself with agenda.

Others pretend not to notice, until second participant fans herself with her hand, then takes a huge gulp from her soft drink. After she finishes the drink, she holds the cold plastic cup up to her cheek and sighs.

Boss Lady picks up agenda and fans herself briefly, then continues.

Second participant continues to hold plastic cup to her cheek while first participant fans herself with agenda.

Third participant, who was previously texting during the meeting, jumps up and interrupts Boss Lady, asking is it hot in here?

Fourth participant then grabs portable fan from Boss Lady’s office down the hall and places it at the end of the room. When the fan is turned on, a collective sigh is heard in the room. Several participants lean back in their chairs and close their eyes.

After a few more minutes of enjoying the fan breeze, fifth participant states that it’s still too hot and gets up to open the window.

Window won’t open easily, so participant one and three also jump up to help. Participants two and four start fanning themselves with agendas again. Boss Lady removes her cardigan sweater.

 Participants six, seven, and eight (who previously appeared fine with the temperature) begin to show signs of discomfort. These include rolling up sleeves, removing shoes, and more fanning with the agenda.

The peak of the Hot Flash Mob ensues, and all participants are either fanning themselves, standing near the open window, sticking their heads in front of the fan, or pressing their cold drinks to their faces.

One by one, the participants begin to feel comfortable again, almost as quickly as they were overcome with heat.

Meeting adjourns, drinks are emptied, agendas tucked away.

Until next time…

*According to Wikipedia, a Flash Mob is defined as “a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire.”

Trend Setter

Trends.

They aren’t just for the trendy.

If they were, someone like me wouldn’t have had experience with huge shoulder pads, leggings, high-waist jeans, stirrup pants, headbands, leg warmers, or Flashdance-inspired sweatshirts with the collars cut out.

Because I’m not trendy.

I’m the kind of old person who has to see a trend in action for at least six months before I start to think hey, I could do that.

Or most likely there’s no way in hell I’ll wear that.

It took months of coaxing by my way-younger sister-in-law for me to stop tucking in my shirts a few years back.

And now? People are tucking them in again, which confuses the heck out of me.

I fell in love with boot cut jeans because I actually wear boots a lot.

Enter the skinny jean craze.

I finally caved and bought one pair of skinny jeans that I tuck my boots into. That was a big trendy step for me.

What amazes me about fashion trends is that at the time you are wearing a trend you feel like you look awesome; possibly even timeless.

So why is it that twenty years later, when you see yourself in pictures, that you look ridiculous?

There’s nothing timeless about huge shoulder pads, spiral perms, or stirrup pants with flats.

So what am I doing right now that I’ll cringe about in ten years?

Could it be the $1 lipgloss in a shade called Watermelon that I’m addicted to?

The sweaters without sleeves that my hubs loathes?

The overwhelming amount of black clothing that I seem to rotate through each week?

It can’t be. Black goes with everything and it’s so slimming.

Right?

Whatever it is, I am apparently powerless to change it.

And I’m pretty sure boot cut jeans are making a comeback.

So apparently?

I’m timeless.

Senior Hottie!

A few weeks ago, through a convoluted series of tweets (that means Twitter discussions, for the rest of you) Liz at a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog came up with the brilliant idea that we should all share pictures of our Senior Hotness.

Being closer to a true senior than most of the others, I was secretly excited to be chosen for the Senior Hottie link-up. I mean, I’m old! I’ll win for sure!

Then Liz explained that it was pictures of when we were seniors in high school.

I almost choked.

Class of 1982.

(yes, I may be the oldest one in this link-up)

I had every reason to believe my senior pictures would turn out awesome.

The photo studio we all used was also responsible for all of our dance pictures, and they always did a great job.

The appointment was late in the summer, before my senior year even started, so I was tan (yes, for me that’s a tan) and rested, ready to take on everything senior year had to throw at me.

So why in the world did I wake up the morning of my appointment and decide to change my hair? For one of the most important pictures of my young life?

For no reason other than the fact that I was almost 17.

And thought I knew everything.

The payback to this, ironically, is that I now have an almost 17 year-old living under my roof.

And he knows everything.

So those odd bangs that don’t look exactly cut properly? They were supposed to be flipped back in true Farrah Fawcett style, with the rest of the hair.

Which is the look I went back to the very next day.

So this important moment in time, the picture that looms large in the yearbook and will be shown on TV if I ever go missing?

Didn’t look anything like how I looked for the remainder of my senior year. Like at the prom.

And now that guy standing next to me?

Is MY Senior Hottie.

In the other sense of the word.