Houston…Where it Sometimes Rains Cats and Dogs

BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR JULIE

I’m so over having a dog.

11am and Dash hasn’t been outside yet to do his business. For like, the whole morning.

Time to get moving.

But, it’s raining and I’ve got a big umbrella, a dog and a leash to hang onto as I try to get outside. And, like always, Dash goes nutzo when anyone opens the front door.

Of course my stupid dog is pulling in 360 different directions INTO all the puddles that he CAN’T SEE. Yet he doesn’t really like being in the rain or getting wet. Go figure.

We walk and walk and walk around our courtyard. He’s getting wet, won’t go and the socks are falling off my ankles down to my toes because the rain boots are lame.

After he FINALLY finds a spot to poop (he got distracted at a few other places he chose – even after all getting into Squat Position) I go to pick it up.  Of course it’s huge because he didn’t go last night due to – you guessed it – RAIN.  It takes 3-4 “grabs” to get it all with the flimsy bag/glove I’m using.

Well, wouldn’t you know it the bag has a hole at the bottom/top and it gets all over my hand, then falls on the ground.

GRRRR

So I get another bag and try to pick up the busted bag along with the rest of the crap.  Remember, I’m holding the dog, leash AND a 10 foot wide umbrella. My socks are falling off. And I’ve got dog poop on my hand. My GOOD hand! The pieces of poo keep falling and I decide I really don’t care about what’s still on the lawn and walk towards trash/house.

Dash now wants to go run around. I don’t think so my furry little four-legged Stevie Wonder.

I juggle all the figurative crap I’m holding, plus a bag of REAL crap pulling/walking towards the community trashcan.  I manage to get it into the trash, but the spring-loaded lid slams down on the bag as it sits there half-in, half-out. ARGH!

I turn to go back to our place and Dash takes off and I drop the leash, but, like a stupid, I go to grab it. With my poopy hand. The “handle” part of the leash. Now I’ve got crap on the leash too!  And my socks are making me nuts. And I’m wet.  I really hate having pets.

I maneuver dog and the rest of me to the house and he starts pulling towards the flowerbeds. Muddy, mulchy flowerbeds.

NO! NOT HAVING IT!

Finally I get to the door and he wants to run inside, but I have to take off (crappy) leash, put down flood-worthy umbrella and dry him off with a towel.  I at least had the foresight to get that ready before this whole adventure started.

Can’t decide what to do with the leash. Wash it? Bleach it? I grab a can of Lysol and spray it down in the garage. Then I throw it away. Now I’m going to cut off my hand.

I’m so over having a dog.

So. Over. It.

The Selective Collective

Last month, I was invited on a ride-along with a girlfriend. She warned me that our destination would be hard for me to handle. Maybe a little too much for my delicate sensitivities.

A distant family member had died, and after three months of people sorting through the elderly lady’s home, she wanted to retrieve a few things she had picked out earlier.

Feeling curious and challenged, of course I went.

“She was a collector,” began my friend as we hitched up the trailer. “Of everything.”

Well, you can’t take it with you, as our ancestors clearly prove.

Although many a Tutankhamen has tried.

“If you feel overwhelmed, just sit in the car,” she offered as we drove down the interstate.

Let me begin by saying there is a distinct difference between a hoarder and a collector.

A hoarder keeps every last thing that comes into the house, including the wrapper from a twinkie, and compulsively drops it on the growing heap in the corner.

“Mine,” he says.

A collector is going out of his or her way to acquire a specific item that matches a row of items they already own. If it doesn’t match the category, then it’s not necessary to own it.

If you are collecting jewelry, you won’t be keeping the crutches unless they make into a stunning pair of earrings.

Neither of which should be confused with the behavior of my own and many other hubbys out there who feel the need to keep things “just in case”.

If you own at least three pairs of identical shoes, five fly-fishing rods (although you don’t fish), a set of stilts, or saved every random screw and part from every home improvement project over the last 20 years…you know who you are.

Hubby will save the crutches.

“Just in case,” he says.

I myself formed the habit of militantly cleaning out cluttered areas. This comes from raising kids who grow out of shoes, clothes, toys, hobbies and schools at lightning speed.

We would have drowned in Legos otherwise.

You wait for the family to go to work and school and then dash the fat bags of leftovers to the thrift store, where they will be waiting “just in case” you need them back later.

But this house we entered. It was impossible.

After three months, the contents of the dearly departed’s home were still stacked to the rafters.

I saw salt and pepper shakers, cast iron skillets, milk glass, clocks, oil lamps, dolls, jewelry, Avon perfume bottles, plates and spoons and tea towels from around the world. There were candy dishes and Christmas cards that read “1972”. And a hoop skirt.

She had a sewing machine from every decade and vat full of every scissor ever made.

The carpet was gold shag. The curtains were tasseled.

I stepped outside so I wouldn’t hyperventilate.

“See?” asked my girlfriend as she struggled with a curvy purple velvet armchair, “She simply collected everything, her whole life!”

On a side table was a large oval dish full of crotched Oreos. Hanging over a window was a macrame fishbowl holder. Minus the fish, thankfully. In her entirely pink bathroom were pink toilet paper on a spindle and a pink ruffled toilet cover.

This lady lived large.

“You should have seen her make-up collection,” said my pal as she passed by holding a tub of old paste jewelry, “She always said, ‘Even an old barn could use some fresh paint’.”

I was starting to feel itchy. This was like going to a neighborhood garage sale and everything was marked down to free.

“If you see something you want, just let me know!” sang out my friend as she loaded the last item into her full trailer. “We’ll have to send almost all of this to the Salvation Army.”

Wait..is that an ancient typewriter? The keys are in German!

I stopped myself mid-reach. I took a deep breath and a step back.

This is not how I intend to leave my own house when I step into my sarcophagus.

I too, am an avid collector.

Of stories.

And I certainly got a good one from here.

Thank you, ma’am. I’m much obliged.

The Secret Keeper

Listen…Do you want to hear a secret?…Do you promise not to tell?

Closer…Let me whisper in your ear…tell you words you want to hear…

I’ve known a secret for a day or two, and that’s approximately as long as I will remember it.

When I die, my kids are going to rip the office apart looking for my secret diary and be sadly disappointed.

I destroyed my old journals and diaries.

I simply didn’t have any secrets worth saving. No treasure maps. No secret sauce recipes from my great-great-great grandmother. No answer for world hunger.

Distilling my thoughts and releasing emotions are now done in a gym workout.

I just don’t see the point in remembering angst and troubles. Live them and learn from them and move on. You can’t move forward while looking backward, and there are so many places I still want to go.

So go ahead…tell me your secret. And make it a good one.

What do you know that you don’t want anyone else to know?

Perhaps you’re Batman?

Do you have a locket? A safe? An underground rebellion? A secret Facebook identity?

It’s eating you up, isn’t it?

Your secret could be a new tattoo or an inside tip on the stock market.

Maybe you know someone else’s secret, but are sworn not to tell.

Once people find out though, it’s not a secret anymore, and the fun’s gone.

Sometimes you’re even in jail.

Or a millionaire. Lucky you, Bruce Wayne.

This is why secrets go into diaries. In code. We have to tell someone!

Everyone has skeletons in the closet, so to speak, and my thought is that if they’ve been in there long enough to set up house and have pets, perhaps you could take them out and play with them once in a while.

And if they’re not entertaining, evict them.

In our family, we have what we call “Happy Memories”. If you secretly pulled a prank or broke the rules (and maybe the furniture) in your childhood, and you are now an adult, you get to entertain the family with the story.

If your mother’s brow begins to furrow when you get to the middle of it (or maybe your children are creeping ever closer, looking aghast), you may want to rethink your plan and wait another ten years or so.

Apparently, it’s not quite a “Happy Memory” just yet.

I can always take a little stroll under my family tree. There are plenty of diary leaves that rustle in the breeze of inquiry, but they belong to others.

Big life-changing pages. Little innocent ones.

You don’t have to worry about them leaking out.

If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.

Including the dirt I have on you.

Oh, a good scandal now and then may be worth putting into a novel some day. If you recognize yourself in one, be thankful I gave you an alias and enjoy the secret fame.

But in the meantime, there is no diary for your mother to find.

Your secret is safe with me.

Play It Again, Yosemite Sam

When our 25th wedding anniversary rolled around, we were at our wits end as to how to celebrate it.

We were six months into a new home that needed every last one of our pennies, two girls in college, two boys in school, and cars yet to purchase.

A “stay-cation” seemed appropriate.

But then we looked each other in the weary eye and said, “Let’s go somewhere that our kids and our house can’t reach us.”

Hence, a budget trip to Jamaica.

We stayed in an all-inclusive resort which means you get there and don’t move for a week.

Yes please.

There are restaurants and live entertainment and beach activity staff members whose only mission in life is to make sure you are having a superb time every single moment of your stay. They bring you jerk chicken, strawberry daiquiris, fresh mango or ice cold “wata”. Or they become a team so you and two other tourists can have a pick up volleyball game. They groom the sand and remove the resident jelly fish from the cove each morning.

Life’s too short to swim with the jellies.

Each night, we dressed up and ate in a different restaurant.

The first night, I put the finishing touches on my flat-ironed hair, tossed on my heels, and we dashed from our air conditioned room, across the lobby, over the courtyard and into the French House.

A few minutes into the meal, I noticed Hubby staring at me and smiling.

Not the way a romantic lover watches his beloved in admiration, but the way someone stares in fascination at a slow moving train wreck. It wasn’t because I was eating escargot with gusto. It was because my lovely hair was responding to Jamaica’s deeply demonic humidity.

By the time we ordered dessert, I had native dreadlocks.

The waiter couldn’t decide if perhaps monsieur had switched ladies half way through the main course.

On night two, we discovered the Round Bar. This is a place in the center of the entertainment area and is, as noted, round. A baby grand piano sits in the middle, a bar circles it closely, a ring of lounges and sofas form an outer circle, and the whole thing is open air. You can drift in and out of the bar, listening to the very talented player during dinner hours.

We scored seats in the inner circle, right in front of the player. We ordered drinks and dangled sparkly earrings and lounged with just enough boredom to give off the proper chic nonchalant vibe.

The crowd grew thicker as the player tickled the ivories and began pressing his audience for song requests. Turns out, he could play any top 40 hit from the last three decades and if you just sang or hummed the first notes, his fabulous fingers found the right keys and suddenly everyone had a sing-along straight off the radio.

The first warning bells went off in my head when I realized he was working his way along the inner circle, making small talk and taking songs. I sat up a bit straighter and frantically went through my mental files under “music”.

This was difficult, as I was already half way through my second martini.

Something classy. Something snappy. Something popular.

Ack! Something I could sing the words to!

I was coming up with Looney Tunes.

I know all the words to every Disney movie ever made. Can we sing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?

I can even do the dance moves.

The lady next to me requested “Livin’ on a Prayer”, and people were blaring out Bon Jovi.

I had reached into my mental files so hard they had exploded into oblivion.

With songs from “The Jungle Book” singing cheerfully in my head, I mumbled something about the restroom to Hubby and slunk from my bar stool. With a startled look on his face, he escorted me gallantly from the room.

“Yeah, I’m ready for dinner anyway,” he said. “Let’s go have some sushi, hm?”

Halfway to the restaurant I recognized the quiet tune he was humming.

Little Mermaid.

“Kiss the Girl”

Date Night Dallies

The long San Diego summer days are sauntering towards a suggestion of fall.

Although our weather will be warm for another two months, the kids are back in school and the malls are geared up for HallThankMas Eve. And while our sprawling San Diego County has myriad year round entertainment to choose from, summer nights seem to hold more hours in them.

I want to take a moment to remember a wandering date night last month before rushing head-long into the jumbled rest of my calendar.

Try this some time.

We hit the happy hour at the Brigantine in Del Mar. Sit outside at the narrow bar facing the race tracks.

Watch a couple races. Watch a train go by. Watch the moon rise.

Watch the hot air balloons in the distance. Be glad you’re not in one.

Order a spinach salad, two fish tacos, and a house margarita in a shaker.

Watch the lid.

Hop in the car and head south, crossing up and over the Coronado Bay Bridge as the sun lowers towards the horizon.

Whoever is driving, watch the road.

The other guy (that’s me) gets an incredible view of sailboats, sunset, and downtown.

Make a mental note to check out the new library down there that looks like a giant birdcage.

Someday.

Drive down to the Hotel Del and park on the street at a meter. It’s free after 6pm.

Stroll around the Del. Pretend you’re staying there and mingle in the lobby and admire the elevator cage. Wander out back to the Grille and buy a coffee. Then meander down the walkway to the beach.

There will be a wedding party on the sand to admire, with chandeliers hanging from organza swathed gazebos and a seven-tiered cake surrounded by elegant bridesmaids dressed in periwinkle blue.

Stroll the length of the boardwalk and back, reminiscing about your own honeymoon there…a million years ago was it?

Breathe in the sea air.

Feel young and fresh and ready for the world and then immediately thankful for all of the hurdles the world threw at you that are now in your past. And not still in front of you. And that you made it this far.

Hop back in the car and head back over the bridge and up towards Mission Bay.

If you turn onto Fiesta Island and park, you will be treated to a massive fireworks display at 10pm nightly, courtesy of Sea World.

Lean against the hood of your car, wrapped up in a blanket for two, and watch the spectacle.

Hold hands.

Toodle down the freeway, heading for home.

Discuss whether you’re up for dessert or not.

Discuss it some more as you get into town.

End up at The Cheesecake Factory. They are open almost as late as an IHOP.

Have a slice of cheesecake extremely worthy of tomorrow’s work-out. Enjoy every last crumb.

Wonder why you don’t do this more often.

And then remember why as you’re licking the plate.

Watch your waistline, watch your bedtime, watch your summer slip away like sand at high tide.

But take a moment when you get it, and frame it and you can watch it for the rest of your life.

I’m Afraid Not

A gentle reader inquired recently about me facing my fears.

Yes indeed.

Where to even begin?

I have a list of course, but I once went mano-y-mano with one of my biggies.

I surprised Hubby with a hot air balloon ride for his birthday.

You don’t know vertigo until you are 7,500 feet in the air packed into a wicker basket with eight other people standing around a propane fireball. The only thing between you and certain death is a scrap of fabric held in place with some ropes. There are no parachutes. No seatbelts. No fire extinguisher.

And the pilot is crazy. He has to be. Who does this??

Other couples were taking advantage of the thin air to propose marriage right there in the basket. I waited with intense suspense for her answer, wondering what would happen if she said “no”.

There was really nowhere to storm off in anguish to.

Hubby was enjoying the views immensely and I brought along the video camera to prove we had done it.

The viewfinder never left my face.

So long as I was watching through the lens, my mind considered the whole event a TV infomercial for San Diego real estate.

“There’s a mansion, and there’s the beach, and there’s the freeway, and there’s the shopping mall, and there’s the dunes…no wait…that’s my white knuckles clenching the basket.”

Although a sky looks perfectly clear, you should know that it has parallel layers of wind currents running amok up there, and a hot air balloon can only go up or down. The wind currents are manipulated to move forward towards a landing spot.

In our case, there was a wicked fast layer that we had shot straight up through to enjoy the view for a while. Now we had to come down through it just as fast, or land somewhere in Kansas. We were asked to put away all electronics. Then we were asked to squat down in the basket and brace.

The pilot knew something we didn’t and apparently was not interested in getting it on film.

He released the hot air and down we dropped.

Right into the wind current.

I peeked over the railing to see the ground coming up at us fast. There were houses and cars and people down there and I wasn’t ready to land on any of them.

The pilot called out that he was riding the current to the next landing over. We had already shot past his first target, our balloon galloping like a runaway horse.

The propane suddenly roared back into life.

I watched in horror as our balloon quickly rose up, doing hurdles over a giant set of power lines.

Beyond that was nothing but miles of San Diego outback.

“Hang on!” cried our pilot, “I’m setting us down!”

We crashed through several yards of brush before the balloon gave up and lurched to a stop.

Our basket was on its side.

We crawled out and dropped through the scratchy branches and kissed the dusty earth.

The balloon melted down, stretching out over the tops of scrubby trees, exhausted and exhilarated by its glorious bid for freedom.

Obviously it was going to try again tomorrow.

We all stood around, laughing the way people do after a near-death experience.

We were all fine, although the sun was setting and the chase crew with the van would not be able to locate us for another hour. We had gone off their radar, into a place with no lights for miles around, and only one dirt road that could access the area.

Oh, and we also had a flat tire on the way back. It was a long day.

We were so thankful to walk out alive that not one of us complained.

“This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve done, right?” asked an innocent and new fiancé.

The pilot smiled and said, “Well, no. There was the time we were coming down and the wind shifted to a Santa Ana. Blew us right into the surf before I could touch down. Lucky we didn’t land in Hawaii. The Coast Guard had to bring out a boat and haul everyone in. Barely saved my balloon.”

He was wistful.

“Made it on the six o’clock news though.”

Flying the Friendly Skies…Safely

I’m sitting behind the row of seats that are attached to the safety exit over the wing. Smart fliers know this row has an extra pinch of leg room, so it’s a popular choice.

But no one has to pass the safety regulations in order to sit there.

You know the routine.

As the plane taxis to the runway, stewardesses go over the safety procedures in case of an airplane emergency.

Just the thought of having one ensures my complete and avid attention.

They speak rapidly so they can themselves be buckled into the plane before take-off, which is imminent.

A yellow life vest goes rapidly on and off.  They show you how to blow into the red tube if it fails to inflate by itself. An airplane emergency would have me hyperventilating; so I guess I could do that.

They claim that the vest is under my seat, but don’t want me to reach under there and pull it out unless we crash.

I’m really going out on a limb, believing them.

This is how the Titanic began its voyage.

They demonstrate the oxygen mask – yours first, your neighbors second – in case we lose air pressure in the cabin.

Two questions.

Do you have one for the pup in the back too?

And can I use mine if the kid next to me breaks into his corn nuts?

I watch as they ask the folks sitting in the emergency exit rows if they understand the procedures and they all nod, including the guy wearing large earphones that are pumping heavy metal into his cranium.

The stewardess seems satisfied and goes to strap on her parachute and a seatbelt.

I, on the other hand, have pulled out the cute little crisis card from the seat pocket and read it intently as the aircraft makes a hard U-turn and picks up speed.  My super hero cape is already waving in the breeze, and I plan to be that guy on Survivor who doesn’t get voted off the island we’re about to crash land on.

There are three pages of emergency procedure cartoons to study.

If I can lift 50 pounds, I’m in. Well, my suitcase can’t weigh over 50 pounds by regulation and I would throw my back out trying to hoist it. But you have to factor in adrenaline, which boosts me into the “lift 100 pounds” category for about 10 minutes.

Which is all I’ll need to remove the passenger sitting next to the emergency door right now.

Because we can all see that he’ll be useless when the time comes.

Whoops, here’s one I hadn’t thought of. I can’t open the exit door if there is fire, water, or debris outside of it. What? They expect me to look out the window first? What can possibly be worse outside of a crashed plane than what is going on inside of a crashed plane?

The last man out is a rotten egg, and no one is getting near the other exits, as they are also being stampeded by frantic super heroes.

Er, concerned passengers.

Oh no. That door’s going down and we can jettison out on the inflatable raft, which obviously doubles as a shield. Look at this picture. It’s supposed to be in a box on the ceiling.

I look up. I look back. Nope. Phooey. No raft then.

Stupid Titanic.

What’s this? We have a slide!  Yes!

Yank open the door, activate the inflatable slide, don our personal flotation devices, and…calmly orderly politely… belly-slide down the bouncy pinball machine.

Points for style.

The word “expeditiously” is used numerous times on this card. I take that to mean “as fast as you can caper”. It probably looks something like what mobs do at the end of a ballgame in the stadium.

No one is getting out of that parking lot no matter how fast you caper.

It says here that you can’t have vision issues, in case your contact lens pops out. You can’t have hearing issues, so the passenger’s screaming can motivate you to caper faster…no, wait, so you can follow the stewardesses screamed instructions across the smoky cabin. You have to know English. Even if the stewardess is going to scream in Portuguese. You can’t be travelling with pets or kids or medical issues that will distract you from the task at hand.

Basically, you must be Superman. Federal regulations insist.

Otherwise, you are politely but legally requested to exchange seats with someone who qualifies.

Yeah. Right.

I have never once seen Superman sitting in an airplane.

The man flies his own Friendly Skies; seating for one.

Catching air will definitely score you points. Be sure to stick the landing.

Flying the Friendly Skies

I’m finally at my airport gate.

After a week of road trips and visiting kinfolk, I am wearily, thankfully ready to go home.

My favorite word.

“Home”.

Airplanes trump cars any day for getting from point A to point B. Someone else drives doing a million miles per hour, nice people bring you drinks with little cocktail napkins, and the view can be pretty inspiring.

If you’re a planner (ahem), you’ve checked in 24 hours ago and have priority seating. This gives you a chance to cram your carry-on bag into the overhead before everyone else and choose a seat.

As usual, I grab a window seat as I am easily entertained by cloud formations.

I like to guess which tiny city we’re flying over by day or watch them twinkle at night.

But first I get to watch the airport personnel loading the luggage below us.

Wheeee….

They are tossing suitcases – the ones you just worked so hard to pack and keep under the weight limit – like slabs of beef at a Mongolian buffet onto the conveyor belt.

Heave! Thunk! And the long slow roll into the bowels of El Diablo.

We are feeding the belly of the beast that will fly us over land and sea to retch our luggage up again onto some distant shore.

If we’re lucky, it will be the same distant shore we ourselves land on.

I set my large purse under the seat in front of me and watch everyone else board.

Here comes a mom with a toddler. Everyone is giving her wary looks and cringing as she passes; thankful she’s not next to them. I feel so sympathetic for her. She needs to get somewhere with this kid as fast as possible, hence a plane.

Little kid plus limited movement equals grumpy kid. I hope she packed some emergency travel toys.

And some tranquilizers.

Not for the kid.

For the nearby passengers who will give her dirty looks no matter what she does.

She can sit by me.

Here comes a woman with…two kids and a….dog? She has a small dog in a wheeled mesh enclosure just barely larger than said dog and is wheeling it down the aisle. Really? I know it’s not going into the overhead. Will the dog be put at her feet? Can it breathe in that contraption? What if it barks?  What if it gets airsick? What if someone accidentally kicks it? What if passengers are allergic?

Maybe there are hair filtration masks next to the barf bags in the seat pockets.

Will the stewardess now hand out little drinks, snacks, and doggy biscuits?

And will we be able to tell the difference?

This really does seem unfair and dangerous to the pup. But what do I know.

Guess I’ll be glad it’s not a snake.

It’s starting to feel like the bus in here.

Certainly we are packed in like sardines and the air now smells strongly of the kid next to me’s Doritos.

Like a bus, you never want to attempt to find the tiny bathroom. Your seatmates are in no mood to struggle in and out of the aisle for you. Even if it’s unoccupied, you will be sorry you stepped inside. Certainly you won’t be able to turn around or sit.

Better just hold back on those drinks I was thinking about.

Whoa, mister. You just reclined your seat the allotted 2 inches into my lap. Your weave is up close and personal.  I just might accidentally get Doritos crumbs into it.

We have window seats! Lean sideways!

Our flight is a whole hour long.

Already I’m clicking my heels like Dorothy, chanting, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

The pup in the back is whimpering.

I’m whimpering.

And then the plane lurches slowly away from the airport.

Act 2 is about to begin…

Quack-A-Doodle

I am so weary of medical professionals calmly explaining to me that I am getting old.

This I know.

My friends and loved ones would never talk to me this way.

My mirror tells me every day.

I have had the same general physician for years now. He’s completely incompetent and I like that about him. I walk in, tell him what’s wrong with me and listen for his suggestions.

Then I tell him what to do about it.

And he does it.

I’m no hypochondriac. I come from solid pioneer stock and our routine for healing a body part that tries to fall off is to “slap a little dirt on it”. There’s not much that some sunshine and fresh air can’t fix, so I’m rarely in his office anyway.

The year I came to him and quietly pleaded for something to help me feel better was a classic though.

“Doctor,” I began, “I feel so tired all the time. My hair is thinning. I have headaches. My throat is constantly sore.”

He ran some blood work to look professional.

Taking blood out of people proves you’re a doctor, as does a messy signature.

“My dear, your thyroid is fine, your blood work came back normal, you’re not pregnant and there’s no strep in your throat. I suggest an exercise routine.”

“But doctor! I’ve been losing weight for no reason already! I have no energy! I have no time!”

“Five kids, huh? I suggest you stop yelling at them, and your throat will feel better.”

“Do you hear me? I’m exhausted and I take my vitamins faithfully. This is ridiculous.”

“You want to gain weight? Eat a bowl of ice cream every night before you go to bed.”

“Ice cream?”

This is where I began to understand who I was speaking with.

A moron.

“Yes, and try going to bed at a decent hour.”

Obviously the man was out of his mind.

You don’t go to bed at any hour if you’re raising five kids. You don’t eat regular meals unless you count the ones over the sink. Hollering and pulling out your hair is par for the course. What this man needed to prescribe was a babysitter or a nanny. Hook her up to my IV please and refill the prescription for, I don’t know, maybe 20 years or so.

This is the doctor who, after a full physical to celebrate my 40th birthday, cheerfully explained that “from here on out, everything goes downhill”. I wasn’t to be surprised when “things just no longer work the way they used to” and I was encouraged to “take care of myself as well as I could, but it would be pretty futile”.

At this exact moment it occurred to me why they only let you have a paper gown in the room.

Even so, I was sorely tempted to use it as a weapon.

I keep him on my payroll because he lets me go to specialists whenever I ask. If there is actually something wrong, he is willing to let the big boys handle it. It takes a strong doctor to admit that.

This particular week, I referred myself to an ophthalmologist. One of my sons seemed to be having eye troubles and so in an act of support, I signed myself up with him to have our eyes checked together.

The good doctor did a thorough job, and gave the kid a clean bill of health.

He decided I needed glasses.

Perfect eyesight for my whole life and now this! Okay, okay, so maybe I hold the menus further away to read them lately, but I haven’t tipped over my water glass yet. It’s not like I can’t take an educated guess at what the entrée is.

He calmly explained…that I’m getting old.

I calmly explained that Jesus could slap a little dirt on ’em and I’d walk away with 20/20.

For free.

Just another quack thinking he knows more than I do.

Grr.