Too Young to Feel this Old

Posted: October 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: California, College, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Shopping | No Comments »

“So how much of an old lady am I?” I asked a friend the other day, as she came back from putting the kettle on. “I brought my own teabags.”

“Well, that depends,” she said. “Do you also have packets of sugar in your purse?”


For the record, I am not in the habit of making off with fistfuls of free sugar packs from restaurants. Well, not yet at least.

But lately it’s not just my teabags that are making me feel old. My lower back has been seizing up in the middle of the night. Waking me up and requiring me to spend several minutes just trying to roll over or move my legs to stretch out a bit. It’s excruciating.

Even my chiropractor wants to throw in the towel. And I’ve formed a twice-a-week habit with him.  But he suggested I see my primary doc for an MRI, and thinks I should get some physical therapy.

Add to that this cold—this loogie-laden, dull-headed seasonal cold that’s persisted now for well over a week. It saps my energy, leaving me lifeless by early afternoon, to the extent that I push aside soul-sucking guilt and plop Kate in front of TV while Paige is napping, so I can get some rest myself. By the time Mark gets home I’m a dishrag, stumbling through the day’s final acts of Mama-hood grumpy, impatient, and having slim hope I’ll feel any better the next day.

And Mark, my sprightly hubbie nearly five years my junior, even he’s coming undone lately. Ever the weekend warrior, he can hop on his bike after several computer-bound days and conquer a mountain with impressive ease. But suddenly, without even falling or wrenching it, he’s got a jenky knee. His body is letting him down for the first time ever, and it’s utterly infuriating. Digging an ice pack out of the freezer last week he grumbled to himself, “Is this is just what happens when you get old?”

But my bad back and his bum knee aside, it’s nearly Halloween. And no holiday makes me feel more young at heart.

For a week or so I was bereft, lacking a brilliant costume idea. For myself, that is. I feared I was losing my edge. I was coming up with possible get-ups that were both obscure and impossible to implement.

“Paige will be a piano… And I’ll be Liberace!” I declared to Mark one night.

Liberace?” he said, making a face like he’d sucked a lemon.

It wasn’t very supportive of him. But really I had no idea how I’d make Paige into a tiny grand piano anyway.

Then an idea came to me. Something kinda funny and doable that’s not lowering the bar over my past twisted, sordid, or absurd costumes. Something that won’t make me feel like the mother of two who had to hang it up.

What is it? Well, like the names of children I’m pregnant with, I don’t reveal anything until the Big Day.

Anyway, I set out for one of those pop-up Halloween superstores to forage for supplies. Inside the shop I tracked down a salesgirl, likely a student from the nearby Cal-Berkeley campus. Even though I’m making Kate’s requested dog costume (I know, BO-rrrring!), I’m curious to see what they have by way of props.

“You know,” the co-ed says, twisting a long lock of hair around her finger, “We don’t have animal costumes here. But we have another store in Emeryville. You might want to check there.”

“So wait,” I say. “What you’re saying is, you all don’t carry animal stuff, but another branch of the same store two miles away might?”

“Yeah. Weird, right?” she says. “I mean, when I got here I was like, where are all the animal things? Those are pretty standard costumes, right?”

“So do you think, it’s some sort of Berkeley thing?” I say, getting a little amped up with the absurdity of it. “Some kind of vegetarian-minded animal-cruelty type thinking?”

“Huh,” she says, looking out of the corner of her eyes, thinking. “Yeaaaaaaaah… Probably.”

Okay. So I feel old.

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