In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Yesterday morning I went into the shop for my annual lady parts check-up.  I can’t imagine that anyone would ever think of this as a fun thing to do, but I will let you in on a little secret.  I figured out a way to make the yearly pull back of the drapes not so awful.  First, you need to laugh out loud about the ridiculousness of it all.  Then you need to get a totally hot doctor.  Trust me, it makes a world of difference.

I have been going to the vaginacologist since my late teens.  My first one was a woman doctor in Philadelphia, and the only things I remember about that experience are that I went by myself, I wore jean overalls to the appointment (it was 1989, cut me some fashion slack), and I got my very first flat tire on the Atlantic City Expressway on the drive home.  I vaguely recall believing for a second that a police helicopter had landed upon my Honda CRX just after I passed through the Egg Harbor toll plaza (a la Goodfellas) and I figured they were coming to get me because I lied to the doctor about not having sex and needing birth control (that, apparently, is one of the things that Catholic high school guilt will do to you).

Now, after years of modesty-obliterating experiences… a vaginal delivery, four cesarean sections, a D&C procedure, three mammograms, trans-vaginal ultrasounds for every pregnancy and what seems like doctors putting everything short of a partridge in my pear tree, a simple annual exam should not faze me in the least.  Plus, it seems like every doctor I see is one of those teaching types who always has an entire boy scout troop following them around (presumably earning their pap smear badges).  So, at this point I am totally used to being naked on a table in front of a crowd.

Yet every year I get all sweaty and nervous as I sit in the chair and fill out my paperwork.  Then I get even more uneasy as I put on the paper vest and blanket (apparently it has more fashion staying power than the jean overalls) and stare at a poster of all of the possible types of uterine tumors while I wait for the nurse to come in.  Is this really the best time to take a blood pressure reading?

So I do my relaxation exercises and take deep, cleansing breaths and count backwards from ten and think of my happy place.  Then the hot doctor comes in and I feel better immediately.  Could it be that he is getting cuter?  Seriously, the man is really attractive.  I shake off the distraction and we catch up on our families and go over the standard medical stuff and he asks if there is anything I am concerned about.

I tell him about my recent weight gain and crazy mood swings and waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep.  He then asks me how old my mother was when she started menopause, and I tell him that he is not really that cute when he says mean things.  He rolls his eyes at me.  Then he says we should check my thyroid just in case and then he has me lie down on the table to begin the examination.

Hot Doc is totally feeling me up for a breast exam.  I am trying to be mature and maintain a professional tone, but there is this ornery part of me that always feels the uncontrollable need to say something.

“So, the one good thing about this stupid weight gain is that my boobs are totally huge now.  My husband sure isn’t complaining about that!” I say to no one in particular.  The regular nurse suppresses her laughter but the nurse-in-training at the foot of the table lets at least one giggle out before she composes herself.  Hot Doc just shakes his head.  The boy scouts titter and confirm to one another that I just said, “boobs.”

I hang on because I know we are almost at the grand finale… the internal exam.  Hot Doc is now situated between my legs with a miner’s hat and a tool that resembles a small post-hole digger.  Awesome.  I hate this part, especially because the lawyers make the docs say, “I am going to touch you now” before they start, which makes it super creepy.  It gets even more weird if the doctor makes small talk as he is nosing around down there.  Then, after the pap smear (oooh, I’m totally getting a bagel afterwards), just as Hot Doc is elbow-deep in my hoo-hah and palpating my abdomen, somebody’s phone starts to ring.

In my next life I want to come back as a lion. Nap in the sun. Eat a big steak. Repeat.

We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de-de, we-um-um-a-way
We-de-de-de, de-de-de-de-de-de, we-um-um-a-way

A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh
A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh
A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh
A wimoweh, a-wimoweh a-wimoweh, a-wimoweh

Awkward silence.

Once again the ornery in me takes control and I blurt out, “Well, it’s a good thing that I shaved this morning.  Otherwise I would be totally offended by that ringtone.”

Hot Doc actually had to put down his tools and step out of the room for a minute.  He was still wiping away laughing tears when he returned and said to me, “I’m sorry, but that was by far the funniest thing I have ever heard while sitting in this position.”

Hot Doc definitely loves me back.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

I Like Sir Mix-A-Lot

I was cleaning off the kitchen table after breakfast on Saturday morning.  It was just me and Kid A and both of the boys.  Sheepdog and Kid B were at another soccer tournament in Tucker, GA, and Kid C had a sleepover at Nanny’s house the night before and hadn’t gotten back yet.  I was planning my day out loud.  I needed to schedule a run (even though when you run as slowly as I do it is technically called a “walk”) and I was trying to get myself excited about it.

“Well,” I began, “Yesterday marked exactly three months until Daddy and I go to Mexico on our vacation.”

“That’s nice,” said six-year-old Kid D.  At least somebody in the room was listening to me and my stream-of-consciousness ramblings.  Although he was very engrossed in NCAA football, so he may have been talking to the television and not to me.  Or his father has already taught him to always acknowledge the sound of a woman’s voice, even if it was in that “Sure, I’m paying attention to you” way.

I continued, “… and I am not planning on taking this big butt on our trip, so I need to fit in a run-slash-walk and then I’m going to do some P90X.”

Kid D was all of a sudden clearly paying attention to me (presumably because I said the word “butt”).  He put down the remote and came over to me in the kitchen.  “Mom, you have to bring your butt with you.  How else are you going to sit down?” he inquired.

I clarified, “I am still bringing a butt on the trip, just not this great, big one.  It will be a smaller version of my current butt.”

None of my other kids in the room said a word.  And either Kid D totally understood me, or his father has also already taught him how to navigate the DANGER! DANGER! that can often result when women are discussing their weight.

“Well, I already think you’re beautiful, mom,” said my loving, angelic, currently ranked #1 son.  I was both proud of his compassion and flattered by his compliment.

Then the dumb boy added, “But I think it’s great that you’re finally getting skinny because big butts don’t really fit on airplane seats.”

Then he gave me a hug and went right back to watching College Game Day live from Houston.  Oh, how quickly they can fall out of favor.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

Nothing But Socks and Underwear

I know that I have been a little obsessed with sleep lately, but that is mostly because I was not getting a whole lot of it.  I liken it to the forbidden fruit.  Great, now I’m craving apples and a nap.  Fortunately, things seem to be moving in the right direction for us in the sleep department.  Finally.

As you know, I had tried almost everything to get Kid E to stay in bed.  His most recent major complaint was that the night “is a very, very, very long time” and he was “getting bored with it.”  Whenever I took the positive reinforcement route and said that I just knew he was going to have a good night, he would assure me that he planned to “try (his) best,” which of course was code for “see you at 3 a.m.”  This kid plays dirty and is wicked smart, so I finally decided that I was going to have to fight fire with fire.

I played the Santa Claus card.

Inspiration hit me last week when the Target Holiday Toy Sale catalog arrived in the mail.  Kid E started going through it page by page and he told me he wanted everything.  Except for the pink pages because, apparently, he is a very manly four-year-old.  He pointed to each and every boy toy in the book and said, “…and I want this and this and this.  OH!  And I want this too.  This is so so so cool.”  Even when I pointed out that we had one of the toys, just in a different color (not pink), he insisted that he needed it.  He was already becoming brainwashed by commercials and catalogs.

I started to remind him that Christmas is supposed to be about giving and not just gimme! gimme! gimme! and then I had a brilliant idea.

I mean, really, what kid is going to take the chance?

“That’s a great wish list that you’ve got going there so far.  We’ll have to be sure to write it all down and send it in a letter to Santa at the North Pole,” I began.  I noticed his eyes lighting up so I sold it even harder,”… and we can ask him about his reindeer and the elves and if he is ready for his long trip on Christmas Eve.  And then we can tell him how big you are getting and how good you have been lately.  We can tell him that you have been sleeping through the night and…”

Kid E’s face fell.  I knew that I had him.  I just had to bring it on home.

“Oh no,” I said.  “That won’t work, will it?  Since you keep getting out of bed, either at bedtime or in the middle of the night, we can’t really tell Santa that you have been very good this year, can we?  And do you know what Santa brings for little kids who aren’t very good?  No toys.  No games.  No treats.”

Kid E had heard something from someone before.  “Coal.  Santa brings coal to bad kids, right?” he said with despair.

I had told the older kids the coal story for years.  I even have a bag of coal that I keep in with the Christmas decorations so they run across it every year when we break out the boxes.  The story goes that Sheepdog was really bad one year (he was eighteen and the dummy went out and got an earring and a tattoo), so Santa brought him nothing but coal that Christmas.  The moral of that story: don’t be an idiot teenager.  But I was now dealing with a toddler and I needed more firepower.

I held a steady face and continued, “Sometimes Santa does not even bring coal.  Sometimes for the bad little kids he brings just socks.  Socks and underwear.  And not even the fun underwear with Nemo or Buzz Lightyear or skulls and crossbones on them.  He just brings tighty whiteys and tube socks.  And they’re not even wrapped.”

When I looked into Kid E’s horrified, big eyes, I saw fear like I have never seen before.  I had a twinge of guilt for causing him such panic, but I quickly remembered that he had brought it upon himself and I was slowly turning into a zombie.  The madness had to end.  I needed to sleep through the night.

Now, every night after Sheepdog reads him a book and tucks him into his comfy bed, I tiptoe in to kiss him and say goodnight and before I leave the room I whisper softly, “Socks and underpants, little man.  Stay in bed.  I love you.”

Mmm-mmm-mmm, this is a very good apple.

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

More of an Indoor Girl

Our family is composed of both extremes when it comes to the inside vs. outside debate.  I would live in a penthouse in the city if I could make it work with five kids; Sheepdog would live outside in a treehouse were it not called “homeless.”  Kid A loves taking pictures of things in nature; Kid B enjoys watching moving pictures on television.  Kid C leaps into the pile of leaves before she looks; Kid D wants to learn all of the facts about the tree on the internet first.  But both of them are up for almost anything in the out-of-doors, while Kid E complains about every last aspect of it.  Yet every once in a while the planets align and we nay-sayers cry uncle and we head out as a family to some remote place where the county flower is poison ivy but the views are spectacular and the air is piney (and DEET-scented) and we are all humbled by the awesomeness of nature.

This weekend we traveled to Tallulah Falls State Park for a picnic and some hiking and to watch the kayakers navigate the gorge.  It was perfect fall weather (sunny in the high 50s) and the leaves in northeast Georgia are experiencing extreme chlorophyll-deficiency, so the residual colors left us breathless.  An added bonus was that Georgia Power floods the dam every weekend in November so the crazies can ride the rush in their little boats of death (insane to do but extremely cool to watch).  The drive took over an hour and most of the kids watched “The Princess Bride” while Sheepdog and I talked uninterrupted like civilized people.  Almost before we knew it, we had arrived at a little cliff-side viewing spot/ antique store/ BBQ restaurant.

After a quick stop in the restroom, I was immediately approached by a bearded man holding a deep pot on the end of a five-foot pole.

“Bald penis?” he asked of me and the girls.  Sheepdog was still in the bathroom.

I protectively put my arms around the kids and moved them all behind me.  Simultaneously, my brain was calculating possible situational outcomes and I quickly realized upon looking into the pot that he was not some local pervert trying to harass the tourists.  He was offering us a soggy, cooked, traditional Georgia snack.

I honestly believe I might never figure out the whole deep-southern accent thing.  It throws me for a loop every time.  P.S.  Boiled peanuts are kind of gross.

The view from 1,000 feet

We checked out the view and decided to get back into the car so we could find the place where we could hike down the trails closer to the raging water.  It was conveniently just down the road as bellies were starting to grumble all around us.  We paid a minimal five dollars to park and soon set up our picnic lunch in a field next to some rocks.  They were perfect for sitting against or upon and also for having Kid E jump off and climb, thus guaranteeing that I would have indigestion for the remainder of the day.  Fortunately, no one got hurt during the meal and soon we were off, with nothing but a trail map, five kids, two adults, a backpack/kid carrier, a full water bottle, three pairs of extra sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray, some light jackets, a packet of wipes, a couple of iPhones and a 35mm SLR camera.  Ah, the simplicity of nature!

First, we walked up from the information center to a place called Inspiration Point.  I was hopeful that this was more of a spiritual moniker as opposed to a carnal one.  I mean, hadn’t the peanut guy contributed enough depravity for one day?  Fortunately there were just a bunch of other people with cameras and dogs and walking sticks up there.  While at the point we got to see the remains of one of the towers that Karl (“The Great/ Flying”) Wallenda used to tightrope walk across the quarter-mile-wide gorge in 1970.  Crazy.  But the views were phenomenal, especially with my family safely behind the protective viewing fence.

After that we hiked down the mountain back past the main parking area and then continued on our downward trek toward the suspension bridge that sits just 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls below.  To get there you have to climb down a little more than 300 grated metal stairs.  And unless you want to live out the remainder of your days like a troll under the bridge, you also have to climb back up.  Easier said than done.

By this point in the day we had hiked quite a way and some of the kids were getting tired.  But we didn’t drive all the way out here to hike just the easy part!   Kid E had toughed it out with minimal complaining and walked most of the trails so far, but he was definitely ready to ride in the backpack carrier for the remainder of our excursion.   Being no dummy, I offered to wear/ carry him down the steps.  It was no big deal except that after the first few sections I had to ask him to please stop chanting, “We are going DOWN the steps.  WE are going down the steps.  We ARE going down the steps.  We are going down the STEPS.”  He did not.

I then felt zero guilt when I asked Sheepdog to take his turn carrying Kid E on the way back up.  Even without a person on my back those steps were hard.  I refused to stop on the little resting benches.  I was panting like a dog.  To add insult to injury, Kid D ran the whole way back up.  Show off.  At least I beat most of the old people.  I considered it a great day all around.

If you pick 'em up, O Lord, I'll put 'em down. - Author Unknown, "Prayer of the Tired Walker"

The whole family had a fantastic time.  I even look forward to the next time we get back to the woods.  Maybe Sheepdog can make a nature lover out of this indoor girl yet!

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

My Husband Thinks I’m an Idiot

There are a few television shows that Sheepdog and I watch together after a majority of the kids are (fingers crossed) in bed for the night.  After the stories are read and the monsters have been sprayed and everybody gets in one last pee, we sneak down to the basement and go on a pretend date.  And they’re the best kind of dates, too, because we get to stretch out on a couch and we can go in our pajamas or eat cookies or sugar-free fudgsicles if we want.  And the kids know that they are not invited because it is our time.  And my fudgsicles… back off!

Sometimes we don’t even watch that much television.  There are many nights that we may start watching something and it leads to an idea which causes one of us to say, “Pause!” because we remembered something that happened earlier in the day that we want to share.  Or maybe there was something we have been meaning to discuss that we keep forgetting about, or we didn’t want to discuss it with kid ears listening in.  Whether we are talking or laughing or just watching TV, it is really nice that we get to hang out and spend some quality time together.

The other night we were watching a new show on CBS called “2 Broke Girls,” which has been fairly funny in a hit-or-miss kind of way.  It is still on our queue because one of the lead girls has an enormous rack and Sheepdog is always a little hesitant to stop watching big boobs.  We also watch another show on ABC called “Happy Endings,” which was a mid-season replacement last year and is fairly funny too.  Even when that show lost it a little bit we kept watching because all of the women on the show have qualities that Sheepdog finds redeeming (yes, boobs).  Plus, there is a shot of a really great butt in the opening, so I think this show may rank even higher for him.  I digress, because my point has nothing to do with the girls’ body parts.  The funny thing was that both shows had episodes about vision boards that aired in the exact same week.

Vision boards are those things that people associate with The Secret and Oprah or “Field of Dreams.”  You cut out pictures of things you want to have, be or do in your life (eight-pack abs, an Audi TT quattro, MLS#4219301, a successful writer, Ben Affleck) and you glue them onto a foam board.  Then you put the board in a place where you will see it every day and be inspired and passionate so that you can begin to manifest those things into your life.  Supposedly, by looking at these things every day you will put yourself in a better state of mind to achieve/ attain/ earn the things you desire most by activating the universal law of attraction.  Whether we believe in them or not (me: maybe, Sheepdog: you have got to be kidding), we both found it interesting that they were a major plot line in at least two shows that we had just watched.

Sheepdog had never really heard of vision boards before this so he pressed pause on the remote.  Then he posed the question, “How can it be that both shows are about the same random thing?”

I wiped the fudgsicle crumbs from my shirt.  “When you follow pop culture you are exposed to a myriad of information… on television, in movies, on websites, blogs, and in magazines, newspapers and books.  There is really only so much information you can be exposed to and when people see or read the same things it will inevitably lead them to draw similar conclusions and basically have a shared consciousness.  It is only logical that television writers are exposed to similar media input and are therefore influenced into a similar thought pattern.  I can not tell you how many times I have had what I thought to be a completely unique idea come to me, only to have it portrayed on television just a few weeks or months later.  I just figure I read the same “Glamour” article as the show’s writers and we then took our ideas to the same place.  I’m surprised that similarly themed episodes do not happen more often.”

Sheepdog’s jaw dropped to the floor and he sat up straight.  “Do you realize that was the most coherent, well-articulated and logical argument that you have put together in a really long time?”

I feigned offense, but I have been known to refer to my own “self-depriciating” humor on occasion.  Plus, I had those fudgsicle crumbs on my shirt.  I may have scored higher on the S.A.T.’s than Sheepdog, but pregnancies, motherhood and being married to him for eighteen years has definitely dumbed me down.  Maybe I should try making my own vision board with a picture of somebody really smart on it.

How exactly do I clarify to the vision board that I want to think like Einstein, but I don't want to have hair like his or date him?

Wish me luck for tomorrow…