Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things I Swore I'd Never Do When I Was Young That Now I Do All The Time

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory, so I guess I'll just plunge right in.

1.  Wear knee-high stockings. As a young woman, and even into my thirties, I despised knee-highs. I saw them as the height of laziness and a sign that the wearer had just given up on fashion and given in to pragmatism. Fast forward a few years (and I do mean FAST) and here I am. Not only do I wear knee-highs with dress pants, I wear them with SKIRTS, no less. Granted, it has to be a long, full skirt with no chance of revealing the tops of the knee-highs, but it's a skirt all the same. My mother's voice is ringing in my head, "Famous last words. . . ."  

On occasion I do still put on a pair of pantyhose (and maybe some Spanx) but those occasions usually involve a photograph or a funeral where I'm going to see a lot of people who I've known all my life and who made fun of me for being fat when I was young but now they are old and fatter than me so I want to look as skinny as possible, HA!  But those occasions are rare.

Exhibit A: Here I am wearing Spanx and pantyhose, trying to hide what I lovingly(?) call my fat apron. (Scott has this look on his face because his hand is on my rear end.)

2.  Talk about and become obsessed about bowel movements, hereinafter referred to as BM. (I promise, no photos of this one!) I can remember just sitting back and rolling my eyes when Grandma or Mother talked to me about their digestive problems. Grandma always had constipation issues and Mother's leaned the other direction. I thought, "Why are these people so obsessed with going to the bathroom and so anxious to share all the details?" Now I know. About ten years ago I had a severe bacterial infection (Samonella) which caused a bleed from my colon and a trip to the hospital by ambulance. This experience activated my BM radar. 

Then about four years ago I sprained my ankle at a July 4th celebration and also injured the opposite leg trying to break my fall. This kept me off my feet for over a week. Before I had recovered, I came down with the flu, including a secondary bronchial infection. This knocked me down for another week or two, during which time everything slowed down. As an added bonus, because I had such a terrible cough from the bronchitis, the doctor gave me codeine (which causes constipation as a side effect.) Before I had fully recovered from the flu, I started having terrible pain near my bladder. The doctor did blood work but found no infection. She gave me Vicodine (yes, more codeine, remember the side effect) for the pain and told me to come back in 30 days. Fast forward, more tests, more Vicodine, referred to specialist, more Vicodine, biopsy, ultrasound, CT scan. Three more months of this. Finally the radiologist who read my abdominal CT said, "You know, you are really constipated."  Eureka! Four months of pain, thousands of dollars in health care and I found out I'm full of Sh**! 

Since then my BM radar is always on red alert. I never want to be in that condition again. So I am obsessed about it every day and now follow all the health tips to keep things moving.

3.  Wear a muumuu. I always believed that unless you lived in Hawaii, muumuus were not acceptable attire until you were about 80 years old and only then because you were in the nursing home and muumuus made it easy for the attendants to dress you. It was the same message as knee-highs. You had given up on fashion and were probably too fat to fit into anything else, so you wear a muumuu. I will now admit to owning and wearing two muumuus, ordered from The Vermont Country Store catalog, which offers a wide selection.

I have the snazzy little number at the bottom, left of the first page, "Muumuu on Safari" AND the one in the bottom, middle of the page above, "100% Woven Cotton Muumuu with a Unique Border Print, " both in red. I only wear them around the house, usually right after I get out of the pool. However, the highlighted recommendation on the first page says otherwise. Here is the text since you probably cannot read the scan. It is from Dr. Elizabeth G. (a doctor, so you know it's true:) "Your cotton floats and muumuus, pretty enough to wear 'out' and so marvelously comfortable, are what I live in when I am at home." There you have it -- doctor-recommended muumuus. I don't wear mine "out" yet, but you never know; if a doctor does it, so could I.

4.  Talk about how old I am and how things were so different when I was young. Wait. . . just go back to the top of this post and read again and it will click.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Silent Warrior

I am dog-sitting again this summer. My sister teaches school, so every year for the past three years, as soon as school breaks for the summer, she heads to Germany to spend several weeks with her daughter, whose husband is in the Air Force, stationed at Ramstein. Her dog Mattie spends the summer here with me. 

Mattie has been around a long time, about 15 years. We're not sure because she was rescued and all dates are estimated. My niece and her husband were stationed in Altus, OK at the time. Their neighbor found Mattie and her sister, stranded on the median of the highway, wet, shivering and scared. He brought them both home and kept one; my niece took the other. Eventually, because of frequent moves in the Air Force, Mattie came to live with my sister and her son, Michael. Michael adores Mattie and he is "her boy." 

Mattie is almost deaf now. She still hears a few things, but most of the time we communicate with hand signals. She can hear my dogs bark though, and sometimes she joins in, something she never does at home. She was the origin of my "Camp for Dogs" stories, because she came to my house and got to do all kind of things she wasn't allowed to do at home. It was a little like going to summer camp. But the majority of Mattie's days (and nights) are spent like this:

Last week, however, Mattie had a big adventure. It started about 2:00am one morning. Scott had stayed up late, as usual, and as was his routine, he let the dogs out one more time before coming to bed. Ruffles and Lucy eagerly anticipate this every night and run to the back door as soon as they hear him walking across the house. Mattie and I usually sleep through this process. On this night Ruffles and Lucy spot their dreaded enemy, the armadillo, on the porch, right outside the door. They go ballistic and Scott lets them out. They chase the poor creature all over the porch, with Ruffles snarling and trying to bite it, which she can't do. Armadillo remember? They make so much noise that finally even stone deaf Mattie wakes up and comes to the door to see what is going on. (Of course, I am sleeping through all of this thanks to Ambien.) Just as Mattie starts outside, the armadillo tries to make a break for freedom and heads for the same door. Mattie and the 'dillo collide and then her warrior instincts kick in. She starts snarling and barking and trying to bite the enemy, just like Ruffles. Lucy, as always, stands about three feet back from the fight, barking really loud. ("It's Shake and Bake and I helped!") Finally the 'dillo finds a gap in the fence that lines my flower beds big enough for escape but the dogs won't fit. They have to go down the steps, which gives the 'dillo just enough head start to get to the big fence and out of the yard. No harm, no foul.

When Scott finally manages to get all three dogs back inside, it's like the locker room at a winning football game. They are running around, excited, licking each other and barking. It's as if they are saying, "Wasn't that great? Did you see it when I barked real loud and then went for the neck? Wow, we ARE warriors."

Now every time they go outside, they head straight for the fence to see if the enemy has returned. Even Mattie joins in. Being a wily old veteran, her usual routine was to go outside, quickly do her business and then rush back in so she could be the first one to get the "cookie" reward. But her warrior blood is up and she must now go on patrol with the pack. The rest of the time she and Ruffles, who have now bonded over their battle, look like this:

And Lucy? Well, she considers it her job to be ever vigilant and sound the alarm. She is always watching . . . .