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Life As A Baby Boomer
Hamburgers. Hot dogs. Fireworks. Parades. To all of us here in the US, these things symbolize the 4th of July. The day when we adopted the Declaration of Independence and broke away from our mother – cheery old England.
Not that Mom was so bad, but it was time to go out on our own. Start our own customs and laws.
And one of those customs includes lighting the sky with explosions of color to celebrate the birth of our country.
It was during one of these celebrations when the event I am about to explain took place. From hereafter it shall be known as THE LANDING.
We lived across the street from a college which put on a fireworks show every year. Now, because we did live right across the street, we would gather on the railroad tracks which ran behind our house. From there we could see the fireworks. Of course, we couldn't hear the patriotic music or hear any of the freedom speeches. But it was free and we were free to drink the beverage of our choice – an ice cold beer, a glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage which would not permitted were we to pay for front row seats.
So there we were – kids oohing and aahing at the exploding sky, dogs cowering in fear under our seats, parents talking and sipping their drinks, when suddenly the air seemed to stand still.
Off to my right, I saw something huge. Something that didn't belong that low in the sky.
My mind jumped to that popular expression: It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Superman.
Well, we all know Superman isn't real. But was this really happening? It WAS a plane!
At first I thought it was a huge 747 coming toward us. As it got closer, I realized is was only a small two-seater. But still- a plane? Landing right in front of us!
Utter chaos ensued. I grabbed my daughter, the dog, my drink, my husband (in that order) and amidst shouts and screams ran for cover along with everyone else.
Somehow, the pilot managed to land safely in the middle of the street. To our utter disbelief, he climbed out dressed like Paul Revere. And took off running down the street yelling, "The British are coming! The British are coming!"
Well, the only uniformed people coming down the street were the police. They caught up with him and dragged him away. We poured fresh cocktails and toasted everything from our Founding Fathers to Buckingham Palace.
Looney as he was, the pilot left us all unscathed and free to go about our lives, free to watch many more 4th of July firework's shows.
But, let me tell you, none of them have compared to the thrill, the fear, and the excitement of THE LANDING.
I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!
Last week I went to Mexico to celebrate my nephew’s wedding, along with everyone in my family, from my eithty-seven-year-old mother to my nine-month-old grandson.
The days leading up to this departure were beyond stressful.
I have come to the conclusion that it’s easier to assume the identity of someone else, take over their life, wipe out their bank account, than obtain a U.S. passport. A document which is an absolute must if you want to travel abroad.
Now I thoroughly understand the necessity of the required document, especially when children of divorced parents are involved. No one wants to see children kidnapped and taken out of the country. But if a parent really wanted to accomplish such a thing, it would probably be easier than going through the proper channels.
It has taken several months for all of our family members to obtain their passports. Between missing forms, misinformed postal workers, and misplaced marriage licenses, it was a situation which drove me to more than my usual glass of wine.
And with what our family has been through lately, there were several moments when I thought this departure would never take place.
And several nights when I wished I could assume someone else’s identity. Someone with an unlimited bank account who didn’t have to choose between a new pair of shoes or a bathing suit. Who could have called up one of those “We Do Passports in 24 Hours for only $340.00” companies without blinking my eyes.
Someone who didn’t really care what happened.
But I do care. I love my family and spending time with everyone is so rare.
So, everyday I called up to check on the progress of our passports. And not just once. Sometimes two and three times a day. Ironically enough, I had to assume the identity of my daughter in order to get this information on my grandchildren.
Out there in Passport land, several customer service representatives must think my daughter is one nutty lady. Which actually makes me smile, since she often calls me “crazy.”
I wasn’t really sure what the week was going to bring. And I’ve always claimed that it’s not good to anticipate because things don’t always turn out as you want them to. Better to just go with the flow.
But the margaritas were flowing. The sunsets were spectacular. And I danced until my feet hurt, even if making a fool of myself.
And when the week was over, my stress level had definitely decreased.
Although I did think of tossing my passport into the ocean and staying a bit longer.
But as we all know - no matter how long you stay away, “real” life will be waiting for your return.
Some events in life you just can’t prepare for. One of these was putting my father in a nursing home a few weeks ago.
As I know I’m not alone, I’d like to share my story with you..
In a hot tub beneath the stars with my lover.
That's a great Facebook status, for the lovers involved. For the heart broken ex-lover of the person posting that comment, it can be devastating.
You were once the subject of his postings, and now with a broken heart you must change your status to fit your new position in his life.
Status: It's Complicated
It can also be almost impossible NOT to keep reading about what your ex is doing, although you really don't want to know.
It's like being drawn to a horrible car accident on the side of the road.
You keep hoping you'll read something negative about the new girlfriend. Or a comparison to the last lover (you) a glimpse that yes, he made a mistake. He misses you. He really wishes he were with you and not her.
Way back when before the Internet and Facebook, I had the opportunity (if you could call it that) to watch my ex-boyfriend with the girl next door. I knew they had been dating but until that night, I hadn't actually seen them together. And then there they were - in plain sight. All I had to do was look through my window into her house.
They kissed. They hugged. They laughed. My heart shattered into a million pieces. An unbearable pain, which I thought I'd never live through, seared through my body. It was pure torture. Yet, I didn't turn away.
Fortunately, they left the house and then I was only left
to my imagination to conjure up scenarios of their behavior.
Status: Torn Up & Tortured
But with Facebook and Twitter, one can go on torturing themselves forever. You can unfriend the ex, but then you may still be friends with his friends and their friends and it could go on forever, much like tracing your ancestors back to the Mayflower.
And then how to you go about untagging yourself from all those photos where you're happily involved with this man who is still "in a relationship", but unfortunately not with you.
You can easily delete his face from the pictures on your hard drive or your camera, but it's inevitable that you'll see your happy faces pop up together every now and then somewhere in cyberspace.
Status: Sadly Single Says So Long
So, I say break up with Facebook for a while. Don't torture yourself with the urge to follow his actions. Oh, yes, it will be tough at first. But when then one day, you'll realize you don't give a shit about that guy anymore. You've moved on.
And Facebook will be happy to take you back.
Status: Free To Me Again
I’m allergic to cleaning bathrooms. I take the bottle of the glass cleaner and head for the shower door and in my mind I see myself spraying the glass and then wiping it off with wide, circular strokes, much like I’ve seen my mother and grandmother do a million times. I visualize holding the toilet brush and scrubbing away the scum. I see knobs so shiny that my reflection smiles back at me.
But as soon as I step over the threshold and into the bathroom everything changes. And my mind goes into a “Pause” state.
This lasts for a few seconds and then the action returns to “Play.” But unlike a movie which returns to where it left off, my mind skips to a totally new activity.
Usually one that involves writing or walking or wine, depending on the time of day. I call this my “W” syndrome.
I’ve thought of seeing a doctor, but which one would I pick? An internist would only say I was just procrastinating. Nothing physical is actually going on in my brain. A psychiatrist would start analyzing me in one of several ways. A believer in the Freudian theory would go back to my youth. Since my mom is an immaculate housekeeper he might suggest I have some regressed anger toward her. Or some underlying issues linked to the word Wife, which back in my mom’s day was equivalent to cleaning, cooking and serving one’s husband.
A Gestalt therapist might suggest that I ignore the past and live in the moment. Which of course, would bring me no closer to cleaning the bathroom since those moments don’t exist in my life.
And as far as my dreams go, the only time cleaning shows up in my REM state is one in where I’m handing money over to a professional house cleaner. And with today’s economy that’s not about to happen any time soon.
So I decided to try to cure myself.
First, I put on some good old rock and roll music. That was all well and good, until I started dancing around the house which led me to my tennis shoes and out the door for a long Walk. I then switched to soothing meditation music. That brought me to my couch and a glass of Wine. Next, I tried listening to an audio book that produced creative thought and I ended up at my computer Writing.
None of these solutions brought me any closer to cleaning the bathroom.
But maybe one day I’ll go into the shower and say WTF! and go into a cleaning frenzy. Until then I say: Visitor Beware. But come drink wine with me instead. There are more important things in life than cleaning the damn bathroom.
Green, mossy looking stuff covers the top of the mug. The substance beneath the moss jiggles when I shake it. It smells like a combination of rotten meat and dirty socks. And I have no idea what it is. But whatever it is, is can't be something good for you. Then again, I know that whatever it was, it came from my kitchen.
And there is no telling how long it's been under my daughter's bed.
But like any good detective, I'm about to find out.
Me to my daughter: What in the world is this?
Me: What do you mean, you don't know. I found it under your bed.
Child: (Shrugs) I didn't put it there.
Me: Well, if you didn't, then who did?
Me: It looks like something from another planet. And last time I checked we haven't been invaded by aliens.
Child: Are you sure?
Me, crossing my arms and trying not to smile.
Child: It could be that punch Grandma made at Thanksgiving.
Me: Thanksgiving! For God's Sake. It's almost
Halloween. This stuff has been under your bed for almost a year.
Child: Geez, Mom. We need a better cleaning lady.
Me: Very funny.
I've been the "cleaning lady" for the past year.
I hold my nose and carry it to the kitchen, prepared to dump the contents and rinse out my mug. After all, it was one of my favorites. But then I change my mind and dump the whole thing into the kitchen trash. God only knows what kind of germs are imbedded in the porcelain. Grimacing, I carry the trash bag outside. And toss the whole thing into garbage.
I'm sure this sounds familiar to all of you with school aged kids. Who hasn't found old food and drinks shoved under the bed or inside drawers? These edible items are not left to rot intentionally, but a little more awareness on the part of my daughter would have been nice.
She's totally aware of my actions now.
Child: Wait! Mom. Don't throw it out. I can use it for the science fair. I could say I was seeing how long it takes liquid to become a solid.
Me: Let's not. We have of a book experiments we can choose from.
Child: Can we start today?
I smile at her. I'm not going to let this thing in my hand keep living. No way. But I may be breeding a future scientist in our family.
And that is something I'll nourish forever.