Monday, April 29, 2013

Becoming Youth Impaired

When did I get old?

Nowadays my body starts to ache when I blink too much, I have to go to the bathroom fifty times a day, and when my mom came to visit the other day, she pointed out that I was getting a smattering of gray hairs. 

Get the irony? My mother pointed out my gray hairs. I told her they weren't gray, they were platinum blonde- a really bright platinum blonde.

And that chick in the mirror looking back at me is starting to get those little eye wrinkles, and a couple in a few other places too. I solved the issue by never looking in the mirror. How my husband hired someone to look like a much older me is beyond me, but I'm thinking she works for cookies and not cash.

As for the aching body, that could be because I'm still recouping from my husband's accident and the move. And the unpacking. And then doing two weekends of back-breaking ministry work. And gaining back the thirty pounds I lost last year. Yeah, all of that can do a body bad.

As for the rest? Well, I never believed in lathering myself with lotions, potions and creams to look younger- though duct tape does wonders when you pull the skin back just right! Just make sure your lips aren't touching your ears and you can blink, then all is good with the world.

Elastic is also a good thing- it turns a size 1X pair of pants into pants that can be stretched to a 3X if you're careful and sit down real slow, breathing out when you do. If you decide to try this, just remember- No Sudden Movements. No one will ever know.
Try not to faint if you're feeling dizzy from the lack of circulation- you might fall, and the impact will make those pants burst open like those banners the football players run through, and then everyone will know you faked your pant size. They also won't be able to lift your butt of the floor without a forklift because you told then you weighed 110 pounds and you really weigh 300 pounds- don't ask me how I know that.

I've also noticed I'm slower that I used to be. I wake up at 5 am, and by the time I get out of bed and get dressed, it's noon. By the time I get the first chore done it's 3, and by the time we are finished eating dinner it's too darn late to clean the house. Though that's more of a perk than a complaint!

Besides, that's why we have children....right? And God gave me a good set of lungs to 'communicate' with my little deafened darlings- even if they're on the third floor with the door shut and the music blaring!

That's another odd thing about getting old- your hearing becomes irregular. One time you can't hear someone speaking right next to you, and other times you can hear people's hair growing. What's up with that? A perfect example is my son asking permission for something, and I give it, not even realizing what he said until he shoots out the door with one of his father's power tools, vs. being able to hear a forbidden muffled candy wrapper being opened on the third floor when I'm in the basement with the washer and dryer running.

The next time I see that older chick in the mirror that my husband hired, I'll just smile and wave, hoping that my arm fat will slap her silly. In the meantime I'll try to grow old gracefully, and make sure I have a good supply of duct tape on hand. Lots of duct tape.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pain Parameters

This week I overextended myself. 

There was a lot to do, and my body decided to mutiny- and it was either sit down or forget walking for a week. Ever done that to yourself?

I was no longer interpreting pain on the scale of one to ten- it was more like one to a bazillion- and I had reached the threshold of what my body determined was feasible. 
Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but only just a little. I think my earlobes hurt from all the stuff I did this week!

The sewing room needed to be moved around so I could build the cabinets that we bought at IKEA- you know, that place where they can shove a cabinet into a 2 x 4 foot box that now has the weight and density of a black hole? Well we got two cabinets, one small and one large for fabric storage. 
The fun part was I had to try to find space around my unpacked boxes to make room not only for the finished furniture, but also to build the thing. It took me two days to put the small one together, not because it was hard (the instructions are so simple a preschooler could do it, provided they could lift a bus as well), but because I had to maneuver myself around the space like a contortionist.

And I wasn't about to complain, since all that unpacked stuff was only half of what I had before the move.Any whining on my part might ensue a fabric audit from my husband!

When finished, I stored some of my fabric in the littler cabinet, and decided that was enough for two days. This on top of all the other stuff we moms and homemakers do.

My daughter was celebrating her birthday with friends on Saturday (she is the big 12 today! Happy Birthday Sweetie!), so I had to clean house and make her a special cake. This year it was crumb cake, which was a nice change from the eight-colored-batter-with-eight-colors-of-icing cakes I usually do. And no, this time I'm not exaggerating!

The crumb cake gave me more time to do some marathon cleaning, because one of the girls is allergic to cats- and we have two kitties. They don't shed much, but I wanted the house cleaned and vacuumed by Friday, so the air would settle by Saturday. I got that tip from an allergic friend, who said if you vacuum that day, it actually makes the allergies worse! So Friday was the Get-It-All-Done day, and I was feeling it by the time I went to bed.

But wait- there's more!

I had forgotten that Saturday morning was Women's Ministry, and we were going to a place called SHARE- they have volunteers come and do what is needed to pack food for those in need. Last year we packed all kinds of yummy fresh fruits and veggies, and though I woke up aching, I still wanted to help. So my daughter and I went to go do some good for others.

SHARE didn't have any food out, which was a bit puzzling. There were scads of empty pallets and skid of flat boxes, and a lot of tape. They didn't need to pack food this time, they needed boxes made for a big charity drive for the next week. How many skids did they need? Fifty of them.

Fifty. Or as much as we could get done. With fifty finished boxes to a skid, that was a grand total of twenty-five hundred boxes. We had four hours to do what we could. The record was held by a group from the day before- about a thousand. 

Little did they know I used to work for my dad's printing company, and I did this kind of stuff all the time in my youth. Little did I know that they had no chairs. I volunteered for taping the boxes before this little fact was introduced.

We formed an assembly line- some would open the boxes, my daughter held them shut, I taped, and sent them down the line to the stackers, packers, wrappers and taker-backers. Others were taping too, but I was doing two-to-one only because of experience, and everyone was kept busy.

I was bent over for two hours before my body said you better sit, before I do it for you. After taking a few minutes to unbend, my daughter and I made seats out of the pallets so I could do the rest of the boxes sitting down. There were a few ladies who joked about it, but when they saw how much I had actually done, no one lamented about my homemade seating arrangements. In fact, some were glad to take a seat when they took their water breaks!

By the end of the morning, the SHARE people said we were done for the day- and we beat the record holders by at least two hundred more boxes. We had finished half of the quota in four hours! I'd have cheered except I had no feeling in my legs and it took a great effort to blink.

And I had to set up for my daughter's party in less than three hours.

We got a lift home afterwards- That was such a blessing! I hurt so bad my cartilage was aching- and my hair hurt! Yet I still had things to do when I got home.

Each year I usually make homemade pizzas for the girls, with dough made from scratch, but because of the diversity of topping preferences (and the fact my arms would probably turn to a gelatinous mass), we decided to order out instead. Thank You God for such a fantastic husband! He not only helped with setting up, but went to fetch the pizzas for me. 

By the time the girls arrived, My muscles had stiffened to the point of cement, my bones sounding like bubble wrap every time I moved. And going to church the next day was fun too, because most of the women that did SHARE with me were hurting too- we would just look at each other and start laughing at our gimpiness. 

I still ache even as I write this, but it's an ache I can deal with because I helped a lot of people and made my daughter happy- and that's all the really matters, right? 

As for the larger cabinet? My husband and son were my superheroes- not only did they put together the cabinet last night after the party, they put up all of my shelving so now all I have to do is fill them up! 

When I'm mobile again, of course!

And now that no one is here to hear me whimper, I think a steaming hot bath is in order- and chocolate- lots of chocolate!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Found Treasures!

Clutter is a very bad, really, really, bad, bad thing. 

This time the clutter is my yet unpacked sewing room. Everything I wanted to keep before the move was packed up- after I promised my husband I would get rid of at least half. 

I did as I promised, and I still have a lot of stuff to unpack.

At the moment I have no storage to put my treasures away, so it's all staying in the boxes. 
Sort of.

The other day a friend wanted to see my fabrics, so I tried to wrangle the boxes around to show her. Unfortunately due to lack of room, I could only show her a single box- but it was nice to see my precious fabrics bright and cheerful in the sunlight. Ahh.

After she left, I was perusing the boxes and remembered a set of binders that held my collection of craft magazine clippings, neatly organized (sorta kinda). it didn't take long before I found them and dragged them out of their cardboard prisons- I felt like a kid in a candy store! It really felt like I'd found treasure- only this treasure was 'lost' in moving boxes for almost four months.

I've done that with recipes too. That one recipe I could never find, then months later I open a cookbook and there it is- used as a bookmark for another recipe. Or I rescued it from the recycling bin- or from my kids art project. The point is I found it and now I get to play and imagine all over again!

Have you ever done that? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Forgetting To Be Thankful

Oh yeah, I've been there, done that- about a bazillion times.

We humans are a fickle bunch. Since time began we have been slopping over with gratefulness when God does something awesome for us (okay, sometimes we are), but when the shiny rubs off, we can look at the same blessing and go "Eh, that was nice, but what's next?"

Fickle, fickle, fickle.

We're thankful, then we're forgetful. It's all over the bible- every inch of it. And the second we're in trouble again, we're the first ones to start praying "Remember that really cool thing You did last time? Can You do that again?" Lucky for us God is a great guy and forgives us for being complete boneheads.

Sometimes I hear whining all day long about how 'I don't have this' and 'I really need that'- unfortunately this happens when the kids are at school and the only person I can hear whining is that chick in the mirror- Ungrateful wench that she can be.

I want to be one of those positive people that sees all the good stuff, even when the bad stuff is happening. A Bad stuff Person stubs her toe and gripes about how that chair got in the way, and now her nail is going to fall off any second and she'll get gangrene or nail fungus. A Good Stuff Person stubs her toe and praises God that she had the chair to stub it on, the pain took her mind off her aching back, and the fact that feeling that pain meant her body was working perfectly!

You know, the kind of person the Bad Stuff Person wants to smack upside the head on occasion.

Right now I'm somewhere in-between, but I am getting better at it each day. For the most part.

It also helps that I have a tween and a teen who think it's torture not to have some kind of electronic media device attached to their person constantly, or a screen in front of their face the second they arrive home, or other amenities they lack, like a horse in the backyard or a maid to clean their rooms.
Then I'm slopping over thankful for the peace and quiet I get when they're at school! 
I get to tote out my 'When I was your age' stories that make them groan, and that going out and getting dirt on your shoes from playing isn't a bad thing. We went to the park this weekend despite their protests of wanting to stay inside on the first sunny day in forever.

Despite the fact that the park was 'The Most Boring Place On the Planet' when we were ready to go, they weren't- and they even got a little color in their cheeks. I was grateful for a rock to sit on and the warm sun on my face- and there was a nice breeze blowing too. Ahh.

Despite the fact that 'We'll Have No One To Play With' my daughter found a swing buddy and my son helped a tossed-together team on the basketball court. And there I was sitting on my rock, enjoying the happy sounds of playing children.

Despite the fact that 'The Wind Is Too Blowy', that wind helped cool them when they were finished running about like lunatics. And on the way home they were all smiles and happy chatter.

I am such a cruel, mean parent for making them go to the park. 


I'm just glad I was a part of their so-called torture.

Now each day I make a point to be thankful for something. It can be something big or little, it really doesn't matter. I truly am grateful for it all- I just forget to thank Him for it sometimes!

Monday, April 1, 2013

10 Days Makes One Weak

Is the Easter holiday really over?

It all started last Friday, when my husband and the kids had the day off. We tried to shove as much as we could into the week, and in doing so, not one person got up this morning refreshed and alert- it was more like Zombie World On Prozac.

I'm here all the time anyway, so I didn't even consider this a holiday. I still had to cook and clean and do other homey, housewifey stuff, but then I had to arrange BBF meetings for my kids so they would stop climbing the walls or go blind watching TV and computer screens all day. My husband got a three day weekend out of it, and went back to work last Monday, more tired than when he came home on Friday!

And don't get me started about trying to get these teenage people outside for some fresh air. I think they went out once to cruise the neighborhood for new friends, and came back ten minutes later, telling me that they are the only two kids on the planet.

Luckily my cell phone was at hand and I made some 'play date' appointments (though it's not really called that anymore for tweens and teens- more like Geting-together or hanging out time), and heard cheers from two people who I thought were out of earshot. They wanted out of the house bad, and (at that time) I was their hero.

Until I mentioned the stipulations of these gatherings- chores needed to be done before they left. Want some cheese with that whine?

But they did their part and managed to get enough done to satisfy me, and off they went, shooting out the door the second their ride arrived. Moms were willing to pick my kids up because I didn't have a car- and probably so their own offspring would get their claws out of the walls.

Church was the only time I was required to sit for a decent period of time, and since my daughter was performing an interpretive dance with her age group, it was the icing on the cake. The Lord made those seats extra cushy that day and I think I discreetly fell asleep twice- just don't tell my pastor- I think he was hoping I was praying!

After church was our feast. The moment we arrived home it was time too prep and cook about ten different things, including salads and desserts. When it comes to feeding people we are experts on filling them until they waddle, and this was no different. Easter Sunday boasted a table full of food, and seventeen mouths to eat it. Everyone ate well, conversed much and left satisfied. Leftovers were stored away for meals for us for the next century.

And now it's Monday.

The kids are in school, my husband is at work, and I am alone with my two cats. Thank You Jesus. It's weeks like these that make me appreciate being an at-home mom!