The joy of middle age
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“I think there’s something dead in the water,” I called Husband-Head urgently at work to inform him as I looked out the kitchen window. “It doesn’t look right. It’s sitting on the bottom of the yard pond in the backyard.”
Husband-Head let out a big sigh.
“What do you mean’ SOMETHING,'” he asked with exasperation. “Like WHAT?”
“I’m not sure – I think it’s like a cat or some kind of animal,” I ventured, still peering out the kitchen window. “It’s seems kinda big. But I’m scared to go out there and look.”
“You mean, like, OUR cat?” Husband-Head said in horror. “Are you sure?”
“Or it could be a squirrel or a rabbit,” I said, squinting my eyes trying to see underneath the water from afar. “But our cat is gray – this thing looks kind of blonde …”
Knowing that dead things freak me out, Husband-Head instructed me to leave it alone and not look at it until he could come home and deal with the situation. Which he did.
“Ummm … you need to get your eyes looked at again, sister,” he informed me after he came home and checked the pond. “That was a bunch of leaves stuck on the drain. …”
I’ve always had bad eyes and I either see things that aren’t there or don’t see things that are there. Which is why I don’t drive at night. Nor will my family or friends allow me to.
On the other hand, I had to laugh recently when Husband-Head couldn’t read something. Although he’s had perfect vision his whole life, he was apparently having a bad time with the phone book.
“Here,” I said, handing him my readers with amusement. “We’re going to be like those old couples who share a pair of glasses back and forth while looking at the menu at a restaurant.”
Husband-Head was not amused. At all.
But middle-age is fun! Vision isn’t the only thing to go, your hearing starts to bite the dust as well.
“Actually, I wouldn’t mind losing my hearing,” Husband-Head admitted one time. “Think how peaceful life would be. Instead of listening to you bitch and moan about stuff, it would be like the voices of the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons – whaaa … whaaa … whaaa … whaaa … whaaa …”
That reminded me of being a kid when you didn’t want to listen to something so you used to stick your forefingers in your ears and yell, “La-la-la-la-la … I can’t HEAR you!”
And now you didn’t have to use your forefingers anymore. … But the loss of memory as age creeps up is a little disconcerting. Personally, I’ve taken to writing everything down that I need to remember. That is, if I remember to write it down.
“What’s the name of that person who gives birth to you and controls you for the rest of your life until they die?” I asked Husband-Head as I picked up the phone to make a call.
“Ummm … Mom?” Husband-Head ventured.
“Yeah, that’s it,” I agreed. “What’s her number again?”
When we’re not planning our future and watching TV shows like “House Hunters International” where people are purchasing gorgeous retirement residences in places like Bali while we sit and wonder what the HELL we’re doing wrong, we get to deal with things like … hot flashes.
The good part is that – being the loving couple that we are – we’re going through it together. By that, I mean that he gets his flushes from Niacin as part of his heart medications and I get them as I begin my journey into that wonderous new world known as “menopause.” Enter the theme song of “Jaws” …
And sometimes … just sometimes – like the perfect intimate encounter – we have them at the same time.
“It is really HOT in here – KILL that fire!” Husband-Head will complain while we’re watching TV in the living room.
A little while later in the bedroom, it’s my turn.
“HOT!!!” I’ll scream. “Turn the damn fan on and point it at me! I’m so HOT!”
Of course, seconds later, I’m totally cold. …
And then there are the mood swings that accompany this change-of-life phenomenon.
“What is WRONG with you?” Husband-Head said recently when he came into the kitchen and found me on my knees on the floor, sobbing my eyes out.
“The … the … the cap on my water bottle fell off and went under the refrigerator and I can’t get it,” I wailed.
Husband-Head looked genuinely frightened.
OK, so middle-age isn’t the sexiest thing in the world. But the way I look at it, I’m just thankful to have made it this far. So your eyes, your ears, your memory and your body go to hell.
It’s better than being dead in the bottom of a pond. …
Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her web site at http://www.heidirice.com to see more columns or purchase her book collection, “Skully Says Shut It!”
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