thepigeoncoop

Musings about life in the Pigeon household


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This Is Me At 40

Wow. I seem to write a lot about age. And aging.

Yep… ah well… here’s another one:

Yeah, baby. Forty.

Frigging fantastic!

Actually, not much different than 37, 38, or 39…

Definitely different than 23, that’s for sure.

Even 28, thirty… and 35…. Sigh.

Officially Over the Hill.

If you believe all those dollar store banners and cocktail napkins.

This whole middle-age thing is a factor that didn’t really occur to me as forty started to approach. Yes, it is a milestone and it is a big birthday. But I was too interested in the party aspect of it all.

Finally, a big birthday celebration in my honour!

Let’s rewind back to age thirty to give you some background as to why I was so excited about forty.

Thirtieth birthday. Big milestone right there. Up until then I had experienced the tenth birthday (double digits for the rest of my life – pretty big deal). Then sweet sixteen. Followed by eighteen where half my friends weren’t old enough to get into the bar but we still managed to get in a pretty darn good birthday. And then twenty-one – legal everywhere. Don’t really remember much about that birthday. Twenty-five was a good one too if I can recall that far back…

And thirty.

I was about 8 months pregnant with my first child and stone-cold sober.

And while it was an incredibly exciting time in my life, it was not quite what I had in mind for a major-milestone birthday.

And yes, I know you don’t have to drink to have fun… well, maybe YOU don’t…

It was a May birthday – so it was pretty hot. And I was as big as a whale, so no matter what the temperature was, I was overheating.

And watching others getting more and more drunk while they celebrated my big day…

Did I mention I was sober the whole time?

And hubby will be upset that I’m bringing this up (again, for the 100th time)… but the party was at our place.

I actually had to help organize and clean.

My house.

On my birthday. My thirtieth birthday.

While pregnant.

I ended up stomping off in all my glowing, graceful pregnantness (which actually was non-existent with the swollen ankles and huge ass) and stalked over to the local spa and got a pedicure instead.

Then we had the party and I was still sober.

Sigh.

So this year, for my fortieth, it was done up right. Oh sweet lord, hubby redeemed himself and more.

Yes, we still had a party at our place, and yes I did help clean a bit. But hubby took over and I was instead put in charge of picking up booze and food.

Having to go out shopping and not clean for my own party? Sign me up!

And we had a great time. We even moved furniture around to create a dance-floor.

My kind of house party.

Oh! And no children.

My kind of house party!

I love my boys dearly. But there is a time and a place; and by the time I was on my fourth glass of wine, it was neither the time nor the place for my boys…

What a night. Thank you hubby.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the teensy weensy fact that earlier in my birthday-month-extravaganza hubby actually whisked me away on a surprise trip to Vegas?

I didn’t write about that? Really?

How could I possibly forget to print out the most fun-filled, exhilarating yet relaxing, extravagant and amazing birthday weekend ever?

Hmmm… My apologies.

Wanna hear about it now?

Kay!

He had been planning this trip for about 4-5 months and just about everyone I know in this world knew about it!

And it isn’t like I was oblivious. I was on the lookout, waiting and wondering if he could possibly do any better than my thirtieth birthday… I was searching for signs, watching him a bit closely, looking for information…

And nothing. I was completely blind-sided!

We had three couples join us on this once-in-a-lifetime birthday trip. It was incredible!

Limo rides, a gorgeous hotel room, a booked cabana with our own personal incredibly-built-and-very-young-pool-boy-server, an amazing Cirque show (you GOTTA see Ka), a fabulous night of partying in a nearby Irish pub, seeing Jersey Boys – one of my favourite all time musicals for sure (you really really GOTTA see Jersey Boys), and partying with such fantastic friends and the best hubby in the world…

Yep. A trip to Vegas. It was kick ass! Absolute best birthday EVER!

And now that the glitz and glamour and trips and well-wishes have faded into my now middle-aged memory, I realize that there is a bit of tarnish to this whole being forty thing.

Yeah yeah, there was a lot of stuff leading up to being forty. Aches, pains, unwanted hair in places that will never be mentioned here and a plethora of other ailments and annoyances that seems to come with getting older.

Like not sleeping. And not being able to remember much of anything from one day to the next.

Which is scary when I go to work. It seems every time I step into the office, I feel bombarded by people asking me about things that happened just last week but for all intents and purposes, my Swiss-cheese brain remembers it only as something that may have vaguely occurred… are they talking about a report done up in 2004 or a note passed to me in grade nine? Wait… I wrote that email? At work? Was I coherent? Did I happen to answer my own question in that message or by any chance include my grocery list in there somewhere?

And did I drive to work today or take the train? One of my biggest fears is rushing home on the train to pick up the kids only to realize at the last stop that my car is downtown in the parking lot by my office building…

Maybe I need to play Sudoku. Doesn’t that help retain memory loss? Yawn… if anything will help my sleep issues…

Maybe I need to play the Memory game. Sounds like more fun than a math game. Just saying.

Maybe my memory problems have to do with lack of sleep. I don’t even want to go into that.

I’ve just come to accept that I’m a cruddy sleeper and so are pretty much all the other women I know around my age and older.

Doesn’t help me to repeat that mantra at 3:30 in the morning, but what are you gonna do?

Besides pop Melatonin. Which doesn’t help anyway…

And actually, I find I do a lot of my best thinking at night. I keep pen and paper by my bed to jot things down… doesn’t help me fall asleep, but the next day when I read my list, I’m giving myself a mental pat-on-the-back for being so brilliant…

And you know, actually, being forty… I had a picture of what it would be like.

I liked to think I would be blissful and calm and relaxed and in control…

And what the hell is with my acne? Are you kidding me?

If anything makes me feel less relaxed and frigging blissful, it would be the massive break out I’m currently experiencing on my forty year old face! And my back. What the hell?

Doesn’t help that as I sit here and type, my muffin top has turned into a baker’s dozen… holy hell, my jeans are shrinking… I always heard that the metabolism goes when  you turn forty… crap. They were right.

Things like that make me wonder who in the world coined the term ‘growing old gracefully’… is there such a thing? Do you actually achieve that at any point or does it only happen when you stop bitching and griping in public (and in blogs)…

Guess it won’t be happening for me anytime soon because I’m just getting started.

I haven’t even mentioned anything about how I sometimes find music too loud in pubs now. What is up with that? Since when have I ever complained about loud music? And the movies. The sound is way too loud in there too. We are all going to damage something. Do the hearing-aid companies have stock in THX or something?

And I’m starting to wear sensible shoes.

Not that I’ve ever been a stiletto babe (more like Birkenstocks, thank you very much), but now I can’t get away with those cute little flip floppy sandals at Wal-Mart and Payless. Now I need something sturdier. With more support.

Sexy.

Not to say my Birkenstocks are the least bit sexy, but I feel like I’m reliving my university days while still wearing something orthotically correct… I truly believe in my own little illusion that I’m somewhat cool. If that ain’t a middle-age cornerstone, what is?

And I should remind myself that just because I can still hairspray my bangs within an inch of their life and wear blue eyeliner like I did in the ’80’s doesn’t necessarily mean I should walk down that particular memory lane… so should I ditch the comfy Birks?

That’s another thing. Am I even relevant anymore? Was I ever?

Like for instance, when it comes to fashion… ha ha ha – I think we all know the answer to that if you’ve seen me… I’m not even going to continue down that precariously long and windy road…

Or what about current events or even current music?

When I was in my early ’20’s I was out in the world, learning about art, going to galleries and museums and soaking up culture and checking out bands and heading to concerts and traveling…

And now all I want is a good glass of wine (it doesn’t even have to be that good – just basically red… ish) and a good book (and no, I definitely don’t mean 50 shades of Gray;, but I am however really interested to see the movie)… and I really really crave a good night’s sleep…

Cool? Cutting Edge?

I think not.

Listening to the only alternative-rock station in Calgary doesn’t necessarily make me edgy. I mean really, does that even sound like a sentence a non-middle-aged person would write?

If I ever had that edgy, cool side to me, it is absolutely lost to me now…

Not like I don’t feel young some days. Some days I have energy and I’m confident and even my disgusting BMI count doesn’t bother me…

And some days… not so much.

I haven’t even started on what is to come.

Hot flashes. Sweet lord. I am a-feared of the hot flashes.

That whole menopausal adventure seems to loom before me like some great desert-scape of hormonal hell… I dread it.

I’m probably already pre-menopausal and don’t know it.

Do you think?

Maybe…

I could be…

Whatever. I’m going to bed.


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Vacationesia

Oh, Mother Nature. How you toy with us measly human beings.

Or maybe I should say Human Nature.

Recently I was on Facebook (to those of you who know me at all, this is the exact opposite of a ‘big shock’).

And I saw a post from a friend of mine that has stuck with me for the last few days. She is a great person I met in university and who is due any day now to have her second child.

She posted about people who say that pregnancy is all fabulous and lovely must have conveniently forgotten about the uncomfortable sleepless nights, having to constantly pee, relentless heart burn, weight gain, water retention and all that other classy stuff that goes along with the miracle and wonder of birth….

This is something known as pregnancy amnesia. There is seriously a term for it. I looked it up on the internet and everyone knows you can believe absolutely everything you find on the web, right? They’ve actually done studies on this. And although the actual brain is not altered during pregnancy, a gazillion women claim they have gone through it. Call it what you will:

•pregnancy brain

•mommy brain

•pregnancy amnesia

•momnesia

My fav? Mum Dumb.

Ah yes, Mother Nature’s way of ensuring women (with the help of some willing men) will go forth and multiply.

More than once.

Because if you don’t remember the pain and discomfort and yuckiness of pregnancy and labour (or an emergency C-section as was the case with me), then maybe you’ll do it more than once.

Hell, maybe even three times.

Some women? Even more!!!

I completely believe in Mum Dumb.

My youngest child will be seven years old in a month and I’m still struggling through this affliction.

Even more so lately. It became very clear to me during our recent family vacation to Mexico that this is something I still struggle with. I now have a new term for it. Feel free to vote on your favourite:

Plane brain?

Vacationesia?

We were in Mazatlan a few weeks ago and while on the plane to get there, I came to the stunning realization that I was sick and tired of my children.

Again.

Let me be very clear here – we hadn’t even arrived to our destination yet, and my children were already driving me insane.

Now it must be said that I throw that term around a lot.

That the kids are driving me crazy.

And in most cases, I’m exaggerating. Its only mild delirium and a couple of grey hairs.

The men in the white coats are not searching for me with the nets every time the kids spill on the table multiple times during a meal or when they constantly squabble over video games. I know the padded room is in my future, but it won’t happen because one of my angels left the house without his mittens or socks in -30 weather or left the toothpaste all over the bathroom counter.

But after we disembarked from the plane I was definitely drained, exhausted and thinking that I was in for a world of hurt with these boys… and in response to my pain and suffering; everyone else would be having a cruddy vacation too.

No one is happy when Momma is unhappy.

But by the time we gathered our luggage and went through (ha ha) Mexican security, I was already looking forward to our next adventure. I was excited to be away with my boys and eager to have fun as a family…

Of course the cerveza offered to me in the airport lobby might have helped in that area a bit…

Overall, the vacation was a success.

There were a few blips on the radar, as there inevitably is when traveling with children…

Okay, I’m downplaying.

Geez. This is a serious problem! Vacationesia, I’m telling you!

In reality, I was ready to pitch a few of them out of my hotel room once or twice.

And that was even after I had started on my glass of wine.

Don’t even get me started on the attitudes, the foot stomping, the whining and the very impressive body contortions accompanied by ‘awwwwww! Whyyyyyyyyeeeeee!?!’ when we visited the Mazatlan aquarium… with my mother-in-law… front row and centre to witness the wonderful behaviour of my three little frigging angels.

Or when approached by beach-side salesmen with trinkets and knick-knacks… We would respond with a ‘no, gracias’, only to be blasted by back-talk and an ear-piercing screech of ‘awwwww! Whyyyyyeeeee!?!’…

Makes it hard to be gracious and polite while saying ‘no’ to these strangers with a brat in the background kicking sand and complaining that they ‘never get anything’… while on a beach… at a resort… in Mexico…

Over all we had a fantastic time and the boys got a chance to go zip lining, quadding and ride absolutely everywhere without a seat belt. We had fun playing in the ocean and had a chance to experience a bit of Carnival. We visited with family and ate the best food and did a lot of sight-seeing!

So really, I’m exaggerating… the vacation wasn’t that bad.

The kids were pretty darn good. Great in fact… in the grand scheme of things…

Crap. There I go again.

Is there a hotline I can call? I need help, stat.

Before I book my next vacation…