Monday, October 29, 2012

What Was I Saying?

So, there I was, naked and dripping in the shower, a towel ten feet away in friend Lynne’s long bathroom. And yes, there was a towel hook next to the shower.

John is forever reminding me. “Reminding” is our code word for nagging. If he got to proof these prior to my posting them he’d defend himself by saying he has to remind me or crazy things happen—and he’s right. Without his reminding I would plan a dinner party for the night I’m supposed to be doing colonoscopy prep. Or I’d tell three different couples they could spend the holidays when I have only two spare bedrooms.

And this is me on a good day. It was much worse when I had chemo-brain.

John: We’re going to that potluck Saturday, remember?
Me: Oh. Right.
John: You said you’d bring your cheese potatoes.
Me: Oh. Right.
John: Do you have the ingredients?
Me. Oh. No.

He would work out a plan for us to get the ingredients and help me schedule the time to begin cooking. He’d patiently go through his mental checklist as often as it took to get me dressed and out the door, potatoes in hand. (Note: My cheese potatoes are spectacular. And I do share recipes.)

Our Middle Child worked a college summer job with her father’s company and they rode to work together. One day she came home saying, “Mom! Why does Daddy keep reminding me of things over and over? Why does he treat me like I’m four years old?”

I pondered a moment. “Well, he’s lived with me for a very long time.”

Just then John walked in saying, “Honey, you have a dentist appointment tomorrow so we’ll have to drive separately.”

Middle Child said, “I know I have a dentist appointment tomorrow! I made the appointment! Why do you remind me of things over and over?”

John pondered a moment. “I’ve lived with your mother for a very long time.”

Back to me, naked and dripping in Lynne’s shower. (I know, you didn’t want that image in your head the first time, much less again, but you probably needed a reminder.) I stepped out onto the shower rug and shuffle-slid across the cold tile. And the next morning I actually remembered to hang the towel on the hook. Sometimes I amaze myself.

How about you? The memory of an elephant, or of a … Wait. Is there an opposite of an elephant’s memory? If so, I forget.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Once(?) Upon a Mattress

I’m not sure where my parents obtained mattresses for beds for eight children. Since I can only remember them buying one new bike when I was a kid (the other two being purchased used, with our mythical allowances confiscated for those purchases), I’m thinking the mattresses were never new, just new to us. That when a great-aunt went to her satin-lined final rest, her old mattress was ceremoniously dumped on a wobbly bed frame at our house. The mattress my sister and I shared had a habit of slipping its frame and dumping us on the floor. Sometimes instead of calling for help, we just slept where we landed on the hardwood. You had to be tough to survive in my home.

The National Sleep Foundation did a study of how recently people had replaced their mattresses, but I find the study to be woefully inadequate. The longest category was “more than 5 years,” with 37% selecting that grouping. I want to know how many people—other than my parents—kept previously-used mattresses until all their children grew up, then kept them some more until they downsized when they (I assume) gave the mattresses to some other needy family. Then bought a furnished place in Florida and still have those mattresses on the guest room beds twenty years later.

My parents and people like them are not the reason for the proliferation of mattress stores in the U.S.

Have you noticed that? Every strip mall, appliance store and big department store sells mattresses now. It’s like back in the 80s when every strip mall started out with a dry cleaner, a nail salon and a tanning shop. Then it was banks springing up on every corner and in every grocery store, with pharmacies battling for the same spots.

So what’s the next shop to over-saturate the market? Frozen yogurt? Specialty pet stores? My personal kryptonite would be a combination kitchen shop and bookstore: The Cook and Book. Crockery and Bookery. Valerie’s Bliss.

What new shop would you like to see in your area? Dream big, people!

Monday, October 1, 2012

What Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up?

Just call me Mom

We went to a party the other night where we were asked to wear nametags because a few newcomers would be joining us. That didn’t actually happen—apparently they had something more fun to do. Or maybe it was some other reason.

There was a little addendum to the nametag thing. We had to write our name, and what we wanted to be when we grew up, as dreamed in third grade.

Many of the attendees were, how shall I say it? past middle age. Back when I was a third-grader, little girls were not expected to have a career. Oh, if we wanted to do something before we settled down to our real destiny of cooking, cleaning, and laundry, all the while making and raising babies, maybe we could dabble in nursing or teaching for a few years. Those were pretty much the open careers for females. By the time we got to high school we were actually encouraged to think beyond home and babies, but back in third grade? No.

All that to explain the responses. The men wrote things like explorer, scuba diver (remember the old TV series Sea Hunt?), cowboy, ball player, farmer, vet, etc. One woman wrote horse trainer and another listed nurse, but many of the women had a problem coming up with anything. One woman wrote “I don’t remember that far back,” another wrote “horse” (do you remember those girls who galloped around the playground and whinnied?), and one wrote, “a boy.” Yes, she wanted to be a boy when she grew up. Well, no wonder! Boys were going to be explorers and scuba divers and ball players and cowboys.

What about me? In grade school I attended a small Catholic school. I remember in second grade all the other girls said they wanted to be nuns. And I’m sure there was no pressure on anyone to choose that path, right? But even at that age I knew I wanted a family someday, and nuns were not allowed to have children. So at the party the other night, my nametag said “Valerie—Mom.”

I achieved my dream.

What about you? What did you dream of being? And no cheating, like my husband. He ignored the “in third grade” instruction and wrote “party animal” on his nametag. I promptly shredded it and made him try again.

And no, he never did learn to scuba dive.