Category Archives: Relationships

Hair, Hair Everywhere It’s Not Wanted

I was commiserating with a fellow swimmer this morning, discussing the ravages of old age. The aches and pains needing ice and/or heat, odd bumps, strange bruises and hurts that take longer to heal than they used to. The need for a day off from training, longer warm ups and shorter races. Mind you, I am looking at age 60 and my fellow swimmer is in his mid-seventies. So he gets the old age thing better than I do, even though he looks  good and competes like nobody’s business. And he reminded me that I was just a young ‘un with a long way to go.

I’d like to add another freak factor to this aging conundrum. It’s hair. Specifically, hair in the wrong places. My eyebrows have thinned, and I am finding those lost hairs in my nose. My face needs constant attention to main

Hairy

Hair, hair out to there.

tain a baby-smooth countenance. I gave up on my arms, since waxing thinned the skin to the point of bruising when I touched a protruding shelf or open drawer. If you want to know about my legs and beyond…well, no, you really don’t. Just know that the cost of personal body maintenance exceeds the cost of keeping my car on the road.

I blame this hairy situation on genetics. If there’s one thing my family counts on, it’s good hair, though like most people, we prefer it on our heads. My family tree is covered with mostly thick, curly, dark, wavy hair, though a few straight-haired people show up on a branch now and then. We are the kind of people who keep spas, salons and dermatologists happy and wealthy as they fight and defeat our unwanted follicles.

Getting older could be much worse. I could be deceased and miss the process completely. Or disabled by pain and physical immobility, and go through it minus the joys. And speaking of joys, I need to check on my supply of shampoo and conditioner. If I’m going to have hair, it has to be clean.

An update on my quest for 50 Races In 50 States: Louisiana is completed. I am planning to run in four states next year: Colorado, New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

 

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Filed under Aging, family, health and beauty, Relationships, shampoo

She Called Her Daddy…

dadd

How bad is it when an “adult” coworker decides not to face the reality of their adverse job situation and reverts to calling their parental unit to get involved in the issue?

I witnessed this happen at my place of employment. Aside from the words on this digital page, I am at a loss for most others.

When your folks foist you on the working world, it is hoped/assumed/prayed that even if you are not completely ready for all that can happen, you have  the basics mastered. You can write business letters, speak clearly into a phone, understand elementary etiquette rules, address your superiors properly and most important, you can tell the truth whether you are right or wrong, give credit where it is due and display sufficient spine to stand up and sort it out for yourself when things get tough.

I have a coworker who is not even remotely ready for work in the realm of reality. Pouting, cursing, ignoring ringing phones, insisting on time off when none is earned or available, long lunches, leaving early and forgetting to get work done are some of the notable characteristics displayed on a daily basis.

And the shake-your-head-in-wonder moment of the week: when her demand for time off was refused, she called her father to ask him to call the boss on her behalf.

No, just plain oh-no-it-did-not-happen.

Yes, it did.

How does a person lack the common sense in a case like this? Which part of the adult brain just shuts off, and which part moves backwards into childhood, thinking, “I’m telling on you! I’m getting my daddy to fix this right now if you don’t give me what I want!”

I’d love to phone a friend, a parent or someone when life takes a hard left. Mom and Dad are gone, and I think my friends would have me committed if I did to them what this coworker did. I can commiserate with my brothers, of course.  But asking them to step up to the plate because someone picked on their sister?

Note to coworker: grow a set (and a spare set) soon. It is a mean world out there. And your daddy won’t be around forever.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Careers, employment, family, Relationships, unemployment

Swim in a meet, meet new friends

Watch and learn: even when you're waiting for your event, other swimmers teach a lesson.

Watch and learn: even when you’re waiting for your event, other swimmers teach a lesson.

I drove (and swam) a little outside the proverbial comfort zone this weekend. I went to a three-day swim meet about two hours away.

I’m wiped out, but it was worth it.

I was the only swimmer from my team to make the trip (hey, you’ll have to ask the other swimmers why they didn’t go!) and of course, it gets a little lonely being a solo act. Fortunately, I was adopted by another team. The group was from Georgia, and there wasn’t a “y’all” to be heard from any of them. Actually, they all sounded like they were from anywhere except the Peach State. Their hospitality, however, was pure Southern. They want me to come to their next meet. They’ve promised me great barbecue and adult beverages. I’m not planning on turning any of that down, by the way.

As for the meet itself: it went well enough. I brought back some hardware.  There were a lot of better swimmers there, and a lot of old swimmers. And by old, we’re talking about athletes age 85 and older, who can still go fearlessly off the blocks and haul hindquarters up and down the meter lanes with the best of the whippet-thin whippersnappers. I saw family while I was there; my niece was my counter for one of the long races. I warned her that what she would see at a Masters meet was nothing like the high-school team she coaches. “You’ll see bodies that don’t belong in these kinds of swimsuits,” I said. “And body parts that should never, ever see the light of day. Just letting you know.”

Her reaction? “I hope I can still swim when I am as old as some of these people!”

Kids say the darndest things. And I agree with her. I hope I can still swim when I hit the age where they stop bothering to keep official records. By the time I reach that age, it shouldn’t matter anyway. What should matter is that I’ve made more friends than I can count (and hopefully, they’re still around) and that I can stagger out of bed each day and steer my rear to the nearest pool.

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Filed under Aging, Exercise, family, Relationships, Swimming, thought, travel

‘Tis the season for family reunion fallout

A good family reunion is more than just a packed picnic table.

A good family reunion is more than just a packed picnic table.

A friend of mine is planning a family reunion for next year. It’s going to involve big numbers and already involves big drama.

My friend is trying to keep the attendee list to “immediate” family, meaning grandparents, parents, sons, daughters and grandkids. No distant relations, twice-removed cousins or folks known as “Uncle” or “Auntie” but whose actual blood ties are unknown.

His mother was one of eighteen children, and each of those eighteen children have an average of six children each. And that generation of children all have children now.  My friend figures it’s somewhere around 250 people to invite to this party.

That’s not a party, that’s a full-scale invasion. He was asking for advice as to where to have the party. I’m thinking he needs his own empty country, complete with hotels, campsite and industrial-sized cooking facilities.

To be fair, he is not paying for any of this, is considering using a state park, doing potluck and is looking for a central location to make everyone happy. Except that the words “family reunion” and “making everyone happy” don’t belong in the same sentence, because it’s about as likely as a guarantee of perfect weather.

He’s posted the reunion information on Facebook, and there’s already whining about who can come and why others are not invited, how cousins are related to one another, whether “other” dads or moms are invited (some of my friend’s family members have multiple kids with numerous partners  inside, outside and alongside conventional marriage), and this is before getting all these people to agree to one really massive potluck. Because 250 people cannot simply be told, “Bring a dish.” You wind up with soda, fried chicken, potato salad, napkins and not much else. So food has to be assigned, either by alphabet or family. Then there’s where to stay, the games people can play (to prevent gossiping or arguing about religion and politics during the reunion) and how to get there via car, plane or  train.

I really want to attend this reunion. I want to be there for the hair-pulling, name-calling, manicured nail breaking catfights and of course, that booty-and-ball-busting moment when the police show up and tell the adults to behave. Meanwhile, the kids will raid the tables, fill their plates, eat like deprived hyenas and go play with whatever they can find, while making new friends among this family. The kids know better than to fuss. There’s food and new people in a place that merits exploring, and that’s all they need.

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Filed under Children, family, food, Relationships

Are You My Mom?

Katheryn Deprill is doing something many of us could not fathom.

She’s looking for the woman who gave birth to her, and then abandoned her. Not by putting her up for adoption, or taking her to a an obvious place like a hospital or fire station, but placing her in a fast-food restaurant restroom, and leaving her there.

Twenty-seven years ago, someone out there left a newborn baby girl in an Allentown, PA Burger King

I'm cute...but where did I come from?

I’m cute…but where did I come from?

bathroom. She was found, taken in by a foster family who later adopted her, grew up in a happy and safe home, got married and now has three children of her own.

She is using social media in the hopes of reconnecting with the woman who did not throw her away that day, but at least left her in a warm, public place in the hopes that she would be found. She was, and she’s not angry.

Whoever you are, your daughter wants to know who you are more than why you did it.

She wants to know if she has other siblings more than how you decided to choose that restaurant restroom to give her a shot at a new life.

She needs to know her medical history, for her own sake and that of her children, more than what was going through your mind the day you decided you could not be the mom she needed.

Whatever you have in terms of material possessions, your daughter wants to add to it with love, not take any of it away.

Personally, I’m not sure I’d be so forgiving. Deprill sounds excited and eager to find out where she came from, rather than how or why. So if you are Katheryn Deprill’s mom, let her know.

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Filed under Children, Current news, Relationships, social media

It’s Not The Holidays Without A Good Fight

It’s been years since I got together with a large number of family to celebrate the holidays. I miss the fights the most.

Yes, I went there. Why sit around in a quiet, food-induced stupor, when you can use a little alcohol to fuel more lively arguments? What goo

FIght!

FIght! (Photo credit: pangalactic gargleblaster and the heart of gold)

d is a family feast without contenders in opposite corners of the living room, hackles raised, old memories refreshed and a full head of steam enhanced by a glass or two or ten of bourbon-blasted eggnog?

Oh, for the days of  drunk Uncle Ed call Aunt Bertha a fat, useless waste of space, whereupon she smacks him upside the head with the half-full bottle of Dull Donkey gin and calls him a pie-eyed, pissy piece of s*&!. Uncle Ed then accuses Aunt Bertha of marrying her fourth husband for money, unlike the first three, whom she married because they were (in order), blind, deaf and older than original sin. She in turn reminds Uncle Ed that the reason he’s living in a trailer (not a mobile home, as he likes to call it) is that he prefers to drink his money, rather than pay for a real roof over his head. Uncle Ed gets up, wobbles over to Aunt Bertha, stuffs mistletoe in her ear and reminds her that when her current husband leaves her for another man, she can always get a job in professional wrestling.

Family: can’t live with ’em, can’t imagine the holidays without ’em.

What is it about celebrations that either bring out the best and worst in our nearest and not-so-dearest? Do our relatives bore each other that much, year after year, that they have to start raising cain instead of hanging candy canes? Does sharing gossip about who’s been divorced the most and who’s racked up the most baby daddies mean more than sharing the recipes for Mom’s ham glaze and apple cobbler? Speculating about cousin Binny’s possible meth habit is more special than watching the kids sledding down the hill?

You don’t have to put up with these people often. It sucks to be civilized to people you don’t respect, or who don’t respect you. But if you can manage to keep it civilized, at least for the length of time it takes to wolf down dinner and watch a football game, then you have shown that there is hope for humanity.

Then again, those family fights and feuds make good fodder for Instagram and Facebook, don’t they?

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Filed under family, Holiday, Relationships, thought

It’s Summertime. Time For The Guests From Hell

Erin chowing down on a tasty MarshaMallow duri...

Erin chowing down on a tasty MarshaMallow during out summer camping trip. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know who these people are. You may not know if you are one of them. The Guests From Hell, that is.

If you live anywhere near a place that is a desirable vacation spot (beach, mountains, major amusement/water park) and your house has floor space and an extra bathroom, then you will likely get company this summer. I was always brought up to be a good host and an extremely good guest. In other words, I welcome those who come to my home as if it’s their home, provide as much space and comfort as possible, while affording them cleanliness, good meals and good company. In turn, as a guest, I’m considerate to the extreme. I bring a small gift, offer to pay for meals, offer to help with anything and make sure any facilities I use are left as clean or cleaner than I found them.

Apparently, I am a little behind the times on the host/guest memo. I’m hearing some really disturbing “guest from hell” stories lately. Like the one from an acquaintance who had to put up with her husband’s friends (husband, wife and their kids) crashing at their place after their camping trip went bad, with their camping gear and ten loads of laundry. And that was on top of expecting to be fed and entertained for four days, complaining about the size of the guest room, and not lifting a finger to help or pay. Let’s just say these are not people who would be on my holiday card list anymore.

Another acquaintance recounted two weeks’ worth of taking time off to take care of her visiting mother-in-law’s needs while her husband continued to work without time off. She did this while mother-in-law dearest reminded her often of how unworthy she was of being her son’s wife.

There are plenty of examples from this hilarious New York Times story, part of a 2007 book review of Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days,” the story of household life when the author’s son and his family moved in with her during a home renovation:

  • “Shortest staying houseguest: My husband’s brother, who had hardly put down his bags before looking me up and down, gasping and saying “Wow! You’ve got so fat. You should work out. Look at my abs!” He was hastily handed a cheese sandwich to eat on the train during the journey back home an hour later.”
  • “My worst houseguest invited herself to my home when I was on maternity leave with my 4-week-old firstborn. I was hesitant about having a guest but she insisted, saying she would be visiting other friends most of the time and just needed a place to crash. Instead, she was around all the time. My newborn was extremely colicky, and I was underslept, bleary, and tearful. Still, I dragged myself around trying to entertain and feed her (She never offered to help with a thing). The kicker was when she asked me what I would DO all day if I didn’t have her to entertain, and told me I would be incontinent in my old age because of giving birth vaginally.”
  • “When my Australian daughter-in-law arrived she ordered that all the sheets and quilts for herself and the rest of family be re-washed, cleaned out perfectly good food in my fridge and said she would take over the cooking; sniffed the milk and jars and pronounced most of the stuff unhealthy, and kept my washing machine at work almost all day long. When I offered the grandchildren chocolate and gifts she removed them saying only SHE could decide what they could eat or have. I wanted to tell her off, but didn’t in order to spare my son. But next time she comes, if ever, she can stay in a motel.”
  • “Cousins from the Midwest stopped by for just one night on their way home. They had been touring Cape Cod, but it smelled as though they had been to a garlic festival and sampled every form of the stinking rose known to humankind. Their combined breath was so bad, it was … well, breathtaking. Our entire house reeked of garlic for days after they left.”
  • “Within days of my moving into a new house an old friend showed up unannounced and needed a place to stay for a few days, which ended up being 8 weeks. She moved her girlfriend in, smoked crack in my spare bedroom, broke dishes and “hid” them in my bathtub (why??) and spilled candle wax on my new carpet. She had gross habits like taking a bath and leaving the water in it ‘in case somebody else wants to take one too.’ The day I kicked her out she proceeded to lecture me on how messed up my life was and that I should get help.”

Summertime, and apparently, the living isn’t so easy when you have guests like these. How about you? Got any good guest from hell stories to share?

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Filed under Children, Relationships, thought, travel