Saturday, September 20, 2014

The “Mane” Thing About Getting Older

Earlier this month I turned fifty-five. Yes, I know, it’s amazingly hard to believe, considering I’ve been lying about my age for years. According to the Jane’s Domain calendar, this year I should have turned, oh, let's say, "forty-two."

But sadly, we can no longer fib about our age and get away with it. Former classmates with whom we went to grade school and who are now Facebook friends will out us in a second.

But I’m not really serious when I say I lie about my age. If someone has a “need to know” I will come clean with the correct decade of my birth.  But if someone guesses that I’m younger than I really am all bets are off. My standard response is, “Why, yes, that's exactly my age. How ever did you guess?!”

And then I change the subject.

But I’m seriously trying to come to grips with the fact that I’m no longer young. I understand that I have more years behind me than I do ahead of me. And it no longer startles me when a store clerk or server calls me, “ma’am.”

Things that looked okay on me in my 20s would look just plain silly on me now. I may have (barely) gotten away with the hot pink pants I wore back then, but now? Please.

And as for that dramatic cat eyeliner that made my baby blues pop when I was young? Nowadays – even if I could see in the mirror well enough to apply it correctly – it’d start melting into the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes before I left the house. This is partly due to the wrinkles themselves, but has more to do with the dreaded hot flashes that have started plaguing me lately.
When I neared my 40th birthday, I remember my mother telling me the “rule” that required that women over 40 had to wear their hair short. I believe she was quoting the “Official Old Lady Handbook” but she has never given me a copy, so I can’t be certain.  And for fifteen years I’ve been happily ignoring that rule. But lately I’ve been wondering if I don’t look a little silly with my long blonde hair.

So for the past month or so, I had been mulling over the idea of cutting my hair. Nothing as drastic as a pixie cut or anything, but just something a little lighter that requires less time to manage. And it would be, as my mother would say, more “age appropriate.”

So I looked up some hairstyles online that I thought I could live with. I copied and pasted them into a file that I could show Alissa, my Hairstylist Extraordinaire.

And yesterday? Well, we did it.  Okay, so Alissa did it. I pretty much just sat there. When all was said and done, I believe she cut off about 19” of hair. No, not really. It seemed like it, but 3-4” was probably closer to reality. Alissa then expertly wielded the hair dryer and flatiron and – voila! – I had a fantastic new hairstyle.

That was yesterday. 

Today? Well, today, I’m dealing with shorter hair that I can’t seem to style to save my life. Currently, I have it pulled back. So, clearly, there is a learning curve here.

So I think I’m glad I made the decision. Vince was complimentary, but he’s a smart guy. He knows I can’t glue the hair back on and it will take a while to grow out if I don’t like it. 

So I’ll have to work with my new style and I’m sure I’ll get it figured out. Yeah. Probably around  the time I decide the heck with the “Official Old Lady Handbook” and decide to grow it long again. Maybe I’ll even try to find a pair of hot pink pants and experiment with that cat eyeliner look again.

Not really. While I’m not ready to completely concede to Father Time, I’m also not willing to make a complete fool out of myself.

After all, forty-two-years-olds do develop some level of maturity. 

Heh, heh. ("Why, yes, that's exactly my age...")

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Go Speed Racer, Go! On Second Thought...

Someone in our household got a speeding ticket yesterday. I won’t mention any names…but it wasn’t me. Since there are only two of us living here, and the cats don’t have valid driver’s licenses, I imagine you can guess the culprit.

Ever since I traded in my white car for a red one, and bright red vehicles are magnets for those eagle-eyed laser gun handlers, I’ve been behaving myself on the roadways. Or trying to, anyway.

But my better half? Yeah, not so much.

So the unlucky ticket holder handed me the citation and asked me to pay it for him. It seems as if he doesn’t want to be reminded of his wrongdoing.

So in an effort to be helpful, I logged on to the city website to find out how much the fine was going to set us back, but I learned he cannot pay it online. He has to either pay the fine in person or mail a check – and I think I’m going to make him write it out.

Just because the guy in the Porsche was antagonizing him and playing tag on the freeway does not mean that he had to participate in the “boys will be boys” testosterone test. After all, he’s the one who got caught – not the guy in the Porsche.

But while I was on the website, I started perusing fines associated with various citations.

For instance, in the city of Dublin, Ohio, a person can get fined eighty-nine bucks for hitchhiking and the same amount for jaywalking. Wonder if they double the fine if a person is jaywalking while hitchhiking?

Some of the fines are pretty straightforward and clear. Like, we all know you aren’t supposed to speed in a school zone and there is a hefty fine if you get caught doing it.

But I didn’t realize people could get fined for driving too slowly. That’s a concept that I can’t really wrap my mind around. Driving in a 25 MPH zone feels unnatural to me. My car doesn’t like going that slowly and despite my efforts to keep it in check, it speeds up. All by itself. Honest! So it makes me wonder how many tickets could possibly be written for driving under the speed limit?  

There is a fine of $109 for having the beam of one’s headlights off kilter. Yikes. The one time I tried to replace the headlight on my car, I messed with the wrong screw and the headlight pretty much illuminated the sky instead of the road ahead. I tried fixing it, but only made things worse. So, after shaking my head and rolling my eyes at my pitiful mechanical skills, I took the car to an expert who fixed it with a few turns of a screwdriver. Probably he was snickering all the while.  But now I’m thinking it was a good thing it was daytime and I didn’t need to turn on the headlights on the way to the mechanic. Having to pay a $109 fine in addition to the cost of the headlight itself as well as the cost of the fix, well, that would’ve just added insult to injury.

If you’re as old as I am, you can remember when the 60s version of the modern-day mini-van was piling all the kids into the bed of a pickup truck. There were no seatbelts. But then, there were no seatbelt laws either. Apparently those in the back of the truck just knew they had to hold on. Today, there is a $99 fine if you have a passenger in the bed of a pick-up. Probably the cop would tack on the $51 fine for said passenger not wearing a seat belt, too.

So it was interesting reading about all the fines that Dublin, Ohio, can impose upon the lawbreakers amongst us.

Fortunately, I’m not overly worried about too many things on this list. I’ll have a serious talk with my car about the 25MPH thing. 

But the other person in our household should probably watch his Speed Racer tendencies.

And he should probably avoid guys in Porsches altogether.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy 5th Anniversary to My Vince

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary and some smart aleck, who shall remain nameless, said he lost a bet to Dad that we wouldn’t make it five years.

A lot you know, Andrew. Oops! He was supposed to remain nameless.

But I know he’s kidding. He couldn’t possibly have thought I’d waited nearly 50 years before finally tying the knot for the first time only to have that knot unravel before five years were up.

Clearly, I don’t rush into anything and I couldn’t possibly be called a trailblazer.

But I was waiting for the right person to show up. And I was truly okay with staying single. Forever, if it came to it. I think I’ve said it before, but I would much rather have remained single than to have been married to the wrong person.

But Vince is definitely the right person. He’s so good to me. He loves me for my good qualities and accepts me despite my faults and foibles. He lets me love him.  And we’re good together.

The relationships I had before Vince were good – but never good enough. When I was younger, I always thought if I did the wrong thing, I wouldn’t be accepted and loved.  There were times I was afraid to say the “L” word for fear I’d be rejected.  And there were times I thought I’d need to change and be someone I wasn’t in order to keep the person I was with.

That’s so sad. And thank goodness my mama didn’t raise no dummy – I got over those thoughts right quick!

But, seriously, I didn’t realize how easy love can be. And how, when you’re with the right person, life can be so incredibly good.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that we haven’t had our share of struggles.  But, for the most part, they are insignificant because we face them together. And we still talk about things all the time – the good, the bad and the ugly. That helps us connect with each other to resolve issues.  

But no matter how hard we try, we always joke that we can’t hope to measure up to the longevity of my parents’ marriage. Not that our marriage is doomed – but my parents have been married for sixty-two years. Given our current ages, I’m pretty sure we won’t still be kickin’ it in fifty-seven years. (Or if we are, it’s a good bet that we won’t remember our own names let alone the fact that we’re married to each other!)

I have been blessed with parents who have shown me, by example, what real love and commitment is all about. They have had their share of ups and downs and have lived through raising four children (some of whom were angels and some of whom were…well, never mind!). They have had more than their share of medical scares and hospital stays. Yet through it all they stayed true and strong and in love. They still smooch every morning and every night. (Ooh. Sorry if that was too graphic.)  They still hold hands when they go for a walk. And they love each other – plain and simple.

I believe that is what I have found in Vince. I hope we don’t have to worry about medical scares and hospital stays – and I know we don’t have to worry about the raising the four children thing at this point in our lives – but I look forward to the years ahead we have together. And I’m grateful for every moment.

Happy 5th Anniversary, Vince. I love you!