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Man down.

I broke my ankle this week.  Unfortunately, there’s a back story …. in October 2012, I missed a step in my house, and dislocated and broke my ankle.  I spent a weekend in the hospital to have some hardware put in, and had two subsequent surgeries in 2013.  The last one, to remove the hardware, was just in December.

On Monday, the dog kind of wrapped herself up in the backyard, and I ducked outside to help her.  A lot of the snow has melted, and unfortunately, there was one small patch (and I mean SMALL –  probably no more than about 10 inches square) of ice on our patio.  I slipped on it, fell and twisted my ankle.  I thought it was sprained, but took myself for an x-ray, and they told me it’s actually broken, the same bone as before.

Yesterday I went to see an ankle specialist, who told me I need yet another surgery to repair this break.  It should be sometime in the next few days.

I’m incredibly upset.  Sad, pissed, and defeated.  But I realized I’m probably not as depressed as I’d originally thought, because when I finally got out of bed this morning and dragged myself into the shower (lucky for us, we still have a shower chair from last time – yay?), I figured I should shave my legs, because it might be awhile before I’ll have access to that left one again.

So, as much as I’m inclined right now to wallow in self-pity, I decided that a more productive exercise would be to try and find the positives in what is generally just a lousy situation:

1- I can probably wear really comfy yoga pants every day for the next 6-8 weeks, and because I will be on crutches and have my leg in a big cast, nobody will judge me.

2- I won’t have to pick up any of the dog’s poop for the foreseeable future.

3- I broke my left ankle, which means I can still drive.  Thankfully, I never did master driving a stick, because then I’d be screwed.

4- Automatic upper-body workout.  A person can get some nice triceps by dragging their sorry behind up the steps, if they do it right.

5- Lots of hugs from my boys.

6- Adorable, unbridled 8-year-old enthusiasm about helping me make lunches, getting dinner ready, and just generally keeping the house together.  And that adorable face insisting on bringing me my crutches, and telling me that he needs to sleep in my room tonight because Dave is away overnight and someone needs to keep an eye on me.

7- An inability to spend too much time wallowing in self-pity, because my kids are intermittently upset about their mom being hurt, and I want them to know that we’ll all be okay.

8- Amazing friends and family, who have stepped up and offered to help again (even though they just saw my family through this 16 months ago), and will hopefully continue to help me keep things in perspective with humor.  One friend warned me to look over my shoulder because it seems that someone is out to get me.  Another called me a drama queen for breaking my ankle only to upstage a serious illness that she’s facing.  Two others have already dropped off meals to sustain us.

9- A rare few hours, just me and my dad, because he’s the one of my parents who seems to have lost the coin toss and drove 45 minutes to accompany me to pre-surgical appointments today.  Somehow, I was able to get through all the medical stuff in just an hour and a half, and was able to enjoy a lunch out, just me and my dad – also pretty rare.

So, here’s my plan – I’m going to try my best to keep this in perspective (sure, it kind of sucks to break your ankle twice in 16 months and have 4 surgeries on the same joint in less than 2 years, but it’s still no more life-threatening than it was the first time).  I’m going to do my best to find the humor when and where I can.  And I’m hoping my friends, neighbors and family won’t get bored of giving us a hand here and there when we need it.

Wish me luck.

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I’m HOW old?

I recently took one of those silly online tests that “revealed” my true mental age.

28.

I thought it was interesting, because I’ve said for the last few years that 28 is about how old I feel.  And when I say “feel,” I really mean mentally, not physically.  Frankly, my back hurts, I have arthritis in one of my knees, and I’m appropriately stiff when I wake for someone of my actual age.

But when I don’t have these physical reminders, I wonder if I’m the only one who sometimes really forgets how old I am.  Here’s an example:  I was required to get a new ID card for my part-time college teaching job.  On campus one day, I got in line with a bunch of people who I assume were students, and I was quickly whisked into another line by someone working the room, who called “Professor, over here!” pretty loudly.  I turned around to see who he was speaking to, when I suddenly realized it was me.  And I seriously wondered – how in the world did he know I wasn’t a student?  And I was NOT thinking, how did he know I wasn’t an older student who was returning after some break in my education?  I was honestly thinking, how is he so sure that I’m not 20 years old?

28

It seems fairly ridiculous to me now.  I have some pretty obvious markers of my age – some crows feet around my eyes, and one small but noticeable vertical wrinkle on my forehead that I’m starting to get concerned will soon deepen more and cause my face to just crack down the middle.  The collagen in my hands has seemingly evaporated to the point where I’m embarrassed to use one of those super strong air dryers in a public restroom (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, either you have some collagen left, or you’ve never seen the skin on the backs of your hands blown around by a hand dryer.  Check it out and tell me that I’m wrong).

But in my mind, I’m still so youthful.  And I guess that’s what really matters.

Because firmly planted in my 40s, I’m happier, more confident, and so much more sure of who I really am and what it’s important to me than I have been in any other decade of my life.  I’m just doing it all in some more sensible shoes.

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You’re welcome.

I had a weird experience in the supermarket this morning.

It didn’t involve (as past weird supermarket experiences have) a fellow shopper who belches and whistles almost simultaneously, or the peculiar lady who speaks to the packages of raw chicken, both of whom I’ve encountered on previous shopping excursions.

Today, as I do every time I go food shopping, I used the store’s “mobile pay” system.  I have an app on my phone, scan and bag my items as I shop, and (on the occasions when the kiosk is actually operational) swipe my credit card on the way out of the store, grab my receipt, and go on my merry way.

supermarket

But, as it frequently is, the mobile pay kiosk was out of order this morning, which meant I had to wait for a manager to try and unsuccessfully fix the machine (Once, she was actually able to fix it by blowing on it.  I’m not kidding).  For a moment this morning, it even looked like my order wasn’t going to transfer from my phone to her register, in which case she’d have to re-scan all of my already bagged items.  Annoying and time consuming, but not the end of the world.

To my delight, she was able to process my order at her register.  Now, here’s where the weird part comes in.

She began to thank me.  Profusely.  In a way that confused me.  I must have had a bewildered look on my face after the first “thank you,” because she explained to me that she wishes they didn’t even have this stupid mobile pay, and not because she feels her job will be in jeopardy (because clearly, she is still essential).  But because she gets yelled at by customers when the self-pay kiosk isn’t working.  Every. Single. Day.

So, basically, she was thanking me for not being rude to her.

And this made me a little sad, both for this woman who has to go to work every day, expecting that she is going to be treated poorly, and for our society as a whole, because treating someone without courtesy has apparently become so commonplace.

I’m going to assume that this manager’s stop when she arrived at work that morning wasn’t the mobile pay kiosk, where she entered a “let’s screw with the customers” code.  And I’d ask that you do the same.  Give someone the benefit of the doubt today.  I promise, you’ll feel better about it later.

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Bravo!

This weekend, I get to be part of an amazing, decades-long tradition at my kids’ elementary school.   It’s a fundraiser that nets the school more than $20,000 each year.   But it’s so much more than that.

Each winter, the school’s parents perform a full production of an original show (written by a school parent, and selected by a parent committee the previous spring).  There’s acting, singing, dancing, a live band, and full costumes.  There’s a dance number performed by teachers.

Many of us tend to be a generation of parents who put so much focus on our kids and their accomplishments.  I love that this show, for just a little while, takes the spotlight (literally!) off our kids.  And the kids love seeing their parents perform.  We will do three performances this weekend, and some kids will come to all of them to cheer on their parents.

school show

Beyond that, there are so many lessons our kids learn from watching their parents rehearse for a month and perform in the school show:

Hard work pays off.  Depending on what their role is in the show, parents can rehearse several nights a week and on the weekends for the month leading up to the show.  For the parents in director or producer roles, the work goes on for nearly a year.  But the end result is super cool.

Really, Dad CAN take care of you. Many of us moms (whether we work full-time, part-time, or at home)  are the primary caregiver for the kids. So, when we’re at rehearsal at night or on the weekend, it shows our kids that we’re not the only ones who can read a bedtime story, help with homework, or make dinner.

It’s pretty awesome to try something new.  Some of us performed in school plays or dance recitals when we were kids.  Some of us were too shy.  Some of us were too busy playing sports.  The point is, it’s never too late to get up and do something you’ve never done before.  This year, one of my friends – a mom of a 3rd grader and a kindergartner – thought it would be fun to perform in the tap number.  Even though she’d never tap danced in her life.  So she went out as a full-grown adult and bought her first pair of tap shoes.  I can’t wait to see it.

Making a mistake is NOT the end of the world.  This will be the sixth year I’m taking part in the show.  And I know that every year, I’ve screwed something up, whether it be a dance move, a song lyric, or missing an entrance.  And you know what?  Nobody noticed.  And if they did, it just didn’t matter.

Old friends are great. And it’s also fun to meet someone new.  Every year, I get to spend some time at rehearsals  with some “mom friends” who I don’t have a chance to see a lot.  I also love that I’ve had the opportunity to meet people I might not otherwise have met, because our kids are in different grades and we don’t live on the same street.

Oh, and us parents get to learn a few things too.  Mostly that it’s okay to act like a kid and have some fun.  Let the show go on!

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