Extreme Makeover – Mature Edition

I am being harassed, tormented even, by someone I’ve never even met. Someone who seems to be everywhere, taunting me, trying to make me feel badly about myself. Trying to break my resolve.

It’s that damn Chico’s lady.

She dances around in the fall commercials, all happy and skinny; not a mommy outfit in her closet. She wears heels and cute boots. Animal prints adorn her purses and vests. She has a different jacket for every day of the week. She smiles all.the.time. She’s taunting me, trying to outfit me in layers of plaid and necklaces, maybe a scarf thrown in as an afterthought.

But she’s old. At least my brain tells me she is.

I don’t identify with her. But I’m supposed to.

If I were in my 50’s or 60’s, she would probably be my idol. She’s energetic, perky, maybe even sexy. Her hair is cute and there’s not a gray in sight. If she has any wrinkles, they’ve been airbrushed away for my benefit. She’s not wearing mom jeans, an old sweatshirt, or even Spanx. No polyester or sensible shoes for this gal.

Chico’s markets towards the more mature crowd. You know you’ve crossed into this territory when you feel slightly creepy shopping in the junior’s department at Macy’s. When they have mall security kindly remove you from Express or Gap. If you can remember when Gap was “The Gap”, supposedly you should be buying your clothes at Chico’s.

But I still find myself kicking and screaming about this whole transition towards full-on womanhood that I’m supposed to be making at my age. An age when some of my friends are actually already grandmothers….and some still have preschoolers.

And yet, the Chico’s lady stalks me. I even had a dream about her.

On the few occasions when I have actually gone into a Chico’s store, the sales clerks swarm around me like college kids eyeing a free pizza. They smile and ask if they can help me find something. Anything.

They want me on their team.

I feel obligated to announce (rather loudly) “I’m shopping for my mom!” They give a polite smile, a knowing nod….”you’ll be on our team soon enough, sweetie“, they seem to be thinking.

Part of the whole Chico’s philosophy is that if you layer on enough stuff, nobody notices your wrinkles or pesky gray hairs. Plaid vests, checkered jackets, layers upon layers of tops, tons of jewelry….who could see past all that to pay any attention to the cracks and crevices in my face? My newly-crazy eyebrow hairs? My gray roots?

Hmmm, that black top isn’t too bad. Maybe with a few of those cute necklaces, too…..

Damn Chico’s lady.

Mindfulness, or How in the Heck did I Forget That??

I am losing my mind.

Not in a lock-me-in-a-straightjacket sort of way.  I mean in the I-don’t-know-what-I-am-doing-in-this-room sort of way.  You know, like when you find yourself in the garage with a pillow in one hand and packing tape in the other and you don’t remember why.  Or when you walk with purpose to the medicine cabinet, then have to mentally run through reasons you might be staring into it (anyone bleeding? run out of toothpaste? headache? sunburn? need hairspray?).

If you don’t know what I mean, then you may be too young to read this post.

I have always been somewhat of an uber-organized person.  I could rattle off events from my mental calendar, memorized most birthdays, and always arrived on time.  I have made lists for years, for everything from Things to Do Today to Possible Titles for My Novel.  I could probably make a list of the lists I have made.  When I was younger, I would meticulously cross items off my list with satisfaction but rewrite the list if too many things were crossed off….because I didn’t like how the list looked with items crossed off.

But things have changed.

Now if I make a list, it is literally so that I WON’T FORGET to do things.  It has nothing to do with the feeling of accomplishment that I get when I cross things off.  It has everything to do with simply being afraid (terrified!) that I will forget something/someone.

And then it happened.  For someone who prides herself on being on top of everything, I did forget something.

I forgot to pay the semi-annual property tax payment.

Since they mail it annually, you have to remember to make that second payment, which seems to come about a year after they mailed you the original bill.  I usually write it on my brand new calendar every December, as I am writing in all of the birthdays (in red pen, covered by yellow highlighter).  Somehow this time it didn’t make the calendar.

You would have thought my whole world was shattered.  I could think of nothing else for hours.  From the extreme and highly unlikely (“We’ll lose the house!”) to the logical (“I’ve never forgotten it 21 years, everyone makes mistakes.”).  So I paid them, late, and tacked on the 1% penalty for idiots.  Now that’s one mistake I will never make again.

But it started me thinking about all of the times during the day/week/month that I find myself utterly perplexed as to why I have entered a certain room/opened a drawer/picked up the phone.  I know it happens to the best of us, but it’s making me feel OLD.

Maybe I am multi-tasking a bit too much.  As I am working on this post, I am also monitoring a load of laundry in the dryer, waiting for the furniture delivery person to call, trying to save a housefly from certain death in a spider’s web, letting the puppy in and out the backdoor, listening for my sick kid who is sleeping in the other room, finalizing some letters for work, and planning my son’s birthday party menu.  Maybe I need to be a bit more “in the moment”, so I can be more mindful of what’s going on around me.

Being mindful of the puppy, I just let her outside and I am now mindful of the fact that she just ate the housefly that I so carefully saved half an hour ago.

If I can remember where the paper is, I think I had better go and make a list.  I’ve got a lot on my mind.