Aging ain’t for sissies……

posted in: Age, Grandkids | 0

I wasn’t going to post this latest blog as it seemed so trivial and silly in light of the awful tragedy in Manchester. I didn’t want to be disrespectful at a time of great sorrow. But then I decided that I should go ahead, because I am British, and proud of my people. They, (like the American people) pull together when there is a real threat to divide their nation, they do NOT let anything stop their lives from continuing as normal. The British have survived wars, invasions, and will never surrender to terrorism and tyranny. My hearts go out to all those devastated by loss and injury, and my pride goes out to the country that is in my soul.

Okay – enough said.

Getting older brings such a mixed bag of emotions to me. Love the wisdom, love the ‘devil may care’ attitude, reminiscent of my teens. But as I slide towards 60 (in 2 years) I am really shocked at what I look like to the rest of the world. You see, I keep forgetting that I’m not in my late thirties anymore. Yesterday, the seventy + year old greeter at Sam’s actually flirted with me. Initially I thought aww – what a sweet old man……it took me until I got to the vegetable section to realize that he must have thought I was his age and was serious. This was validated by the way he acted when I left the store…….

When did I start looking like this?

Due to Nature’s kindness, my vision has diminished slowly over time, and consequently I have not really witnessed how hideous I am becoming -that is unless I wear strong lenses and have bright lighting.

It sucks being an aging female! Bad enough that gravity is having a laugh by making all things point towards the ground. Terrifying that strange things begin to grow on your face that make you a candidate to be in ZZ Top. Somebody has stolen my skin, and replaced my entire body’s covering with something that looks like it’s been battered by a meat tenderizer. My skin looks like it’s made of crepe paper……some might call it ……….‘Old Lady Skin’.

Like I said, it sucks. Especially when it comes to putting on make-up. Now that my vision is crap it has become virtually impossible to see what the hell I’m doing when applying mascara and eye-shadow. (If you happen to notice any middle-aged women who look as though a young child has attacked their face with permanent markers, for God’s sake don’t say anything) – I finally gave in and bought a lighted-mirror with a gazillion times magnification which I must admit proved helpful. The down side is that due to the intense magnification, I can only see one eye at a time and I get a massive head rush too. But that isn’t as painful as using perfume. I can’t tell which side the hole is on, you know, the tiny hole that sprays a fine scented mist when you aim it at your neck…..the other morning I squirted my perfume and it went straight into my right eye. Bloody great, with stinging eyes, dizziness and one eye at a time, you can imagine what my mascara looked like…….

But I am make-up free at the moment, because I am in Colorado. It is rather lovely, and everyone here that is over 50 years old looks like a prune because of the dry air (I totally fit in even though I live in Oklahoma, I pass for a local.) This is my fourth trip here to be with my grandkids, and I am very lucky that I get to see them in such a beautiful location. It’s late May, and I arrived hours before the snow storm hit…that’s right, I said snowstorm.

I’m a bit of a Mary Poppins. Every time I come here, the weather changes. That’s ok with me, it adds a bit of mystery to my visit but it makes packing the right clothes a bitch. I like to get away as much as I can because it’s always wonderful to see grandkids, but it also gives Gump some time on his own, which is good for him. Usually he manages quite well, other than not knowing how to work most of the appliances, forgetting to get the mail and lock the doors.

Last time I went away, we had just had some major work done at Debtwood, (our house) and everything was very dusty. I had cleaned a lot, but while I was gone Gump decided to clean out the dust from behind the ice maker in the kitchen. He figured he could make fast work of it if he blew the dust out first, using a leaf blower. You read that right, not a vacuum cleaner, but a leaf blower that is made to be used OUTSIDE. I think you can imagine how that went… the time he had finished, he had covered the entire end of the house with dust and cobwebs, places that had been clean for weeks. We are still finding evidence of his handiwork. But the space behind the ice-maker looked great!

This time in my absence his mission was a little less dangerous. Gump uses British soap – it’s called Pears Soap. It is a glycerin based soap that is transparent, and very easy on your skin. However, it shrinks quickly as it is pure in form, with no fillers, so you end up with a sliver that’s hard to use but too big to throw away. A few months ago, Gump got the brilliant idea that he would start saving these leftover pieces of soap and eventually melt them together to use again. When I left for this trip, he had amassed quite a stack.

So, this past weekend, he had the bright idea that he would melt the soap down and make a ‘big’ bar. He placed all the soap in the microwave, ignoring the fact that there was a few ‘normal’ white soap slivers in the mix too. He heated the lot up, but noticed that the white soap wasn’t melting like the transparent Pears soap which was bubbling away. He microwaved it all some more, and by the time he was finished, the Pears soap was brimming over the sides of the container, while the white soap stayed intact in the middle of the bowl. Gump was annoyed that it wasn’t going to plan, but he ain’t no quitter.

He carefully lifted the bowl out of the microwave. Now to make the mess solidify! Introducing….. the fridge! He opened the fridge door while holding the bowl, and as he went to place it inside, his fingers connected to the soap that had bubbled over the top of the bowl and coated the sides. You can guess…. the entire thing slipped straight out of his hands and went all over the inside and outside of the fridge! It took him an hour to scrape and clean it all off, as it stuck to the plastic of the fridge like glue. The upside is the fridge got an unexpected clean, but the food might taste a little weird. Wow…

Meanwhile, back in stormy Colorado, the basement doors blew open because of incredibly strong winds (see Mary Poppins), and broke one of the locks. They are double-doors, and every time the wind got too strong (several times and at high altitude too) the doors got blown open again like they were Saloon doors. What a dilemma. Night time, open doors, storm, nervous grandma, two kids, neighbourhood where lynx, deer, coyotes etc. roam…..eek!

With the help of my seven year-old granddaughter Julia, we got the doors closed and dragged dumbbell weights in front of them to stop the doors blowing open. How I managed to lift the 35lb weights is beyond me, because I have trouble carrying a bag of potatoes from the car into the house.

This morning the locksmith ‘Jim’ came to rescue me. He spent twenty minutes working on the door and seventy-five minutes talking to me. I was sorry that his ex-wife Shane was an alcoholic, he was right to change the locks on his house and lock her out. Yes, it was despicable of her to ignore their child. He wanted to move away, I encouraged him to move to Oklahoma as the turkey-hunting is good. He loves hunting and NASCAR, I told him he’d fit right in. I commiserated with his dating problems and agreed he needed to stay single. I also felt very, very old. Poor Jim, he was a nice enough guy. I learned a good saying from him when we were discussing what to do with the repairs on the doors, he said ‘You don’t need to put lipstick on a pig’ – and there was more where that came from…… I finally said ‘I bet you’ve got a million of ‘em Jim”…..need I say more? The door is fixed….the weather is fine……I’m tired…..

I love how grandkids try to work you for stuff when mum and dad are away. Don’t get me wrong, these are really god kids and they behave so well for me. Jack (10) tries to take something to school every day, not furniture or a bicycle or anything, just ‘boy’ stuff – today he wanted to take gum and pop. I said no, but gave him a buck to give to a girl at school who’s making him some blue slime….. I didn’t ask, just handed him the dollar. He’s a lot of fun to hang out with because he has the mind of an eighteen year old. He plays flag football and is also in a running group with his sister. Julia is 7, weighs about three pounds and has legs up to her chin. She’s adorable, a tomboy, a diva, a sweetheart all in one package. She runs like a deer. Her brother however, does not enjoy it at all.

“Please Nana” he begged me “Don’t make me go to the running club, I hate it.”

“Why Jack?”

“Because all we do is run.”

Wisdom at 10, I had to get old and wrinkly and wait 57 years for mine……

Happy Memorial Day all!