Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Twisting Away

Sorry I've been a no-show this week!  As the clock struck midnight, it officially became our 25th wedding anniversary (yes, the big, silver one) and we're going on a little trip so I've been busy getting ready for that.  You know how you have to work your tail slam off just to get ready to go somewhere?  Well, that's been me, the last couple of days.  I'll talk more about the anniversary in a little bit.

We've also made so much progress on the wedding this week!  Not that you want an update but I'm a list person and it will make me feel so accomplished to list it all out for you, so humor me. 

String quartet✅
Music selection✅
Hair/makeup people✅
Bridesmaid dresses✅
Wedding dress✅
Second Line Brass✅
Jazz Band✅
Guest list✅
Bridesmaid gifts✅
Engagement picture appointment✅
Bridal portrait appointment✅
Mother of the bride dress

Oh, wait.  We seem to be missing a check mark.

So, my friend, Michelle, who is a two-time groom's mother, is going shopping with my friend, Valerie, and me on March 20.  Valerie, a soon-to-be groom's mother, and I are going to glean from Michelle's experience in this area of maternal dress as Valerie and I are just rookies. Michelle was my matron of honor 25 years ago today.  Bless her heart.....she didn't know that was an appointment that carries over to the weddings of future generations.   
So, since I have about a month to prepare my muffin top for this experience, I decided I have to get myself in shape.  There are some things you may not know about me......I have trouble with this thing called discipline.  And my favorite food group is carbohydrates.  The chance of me turning down something floury or potato-y that's in front of me, well, it's almost non-existent.  I try to do the right things.  I see my friends with these huge containers of water that they're always sipping on, but I have to be really thirsty to drink water.  Like if I was in the middle of the Sahara Desert, I'm sure I'd enjoy water a whole lot there.  Any other time, water just tastes like it's missing something to me.  Like tea bags.  And a cup of sugar. 

So, to compensate, I've been hard at work on my Simply Fit Board.  I know you've seen them on TV.  They were on Shark Tank and I thought they looked as if they were minimally miserable.  I like any form of exercise that can be done in front of the television in the air conditioning.  Look how much fun she's having.  You just twist, twist, twist away the pounds.  Well, so far, I've gained a pound, but I'm sure it's because muscle weighs more than fat.  I'm sure that's it.

I was determined to write something, tonight, even if it has turned out to be like buckshot.....going off in all different directions and hitting a lot of stuff.  But, I sat down to write and my head was pounding so I got in the shower to let the hot water run over my head.  I got out feeling better and then the Mississippi State and Ole Miss basketball game came on.  Which went into overtime.  At which point, I decided that 90% of basketball is shooting free throws but I couldn't stop watching it even though I'm only mildly interested in the sport.  So, I got a late start writing and from the looks of this post, I should have just written the week off as a loss and let you go on with your lives but, no, here I am babbling.

So, I'm really looking forward to our trip.  I still have a lot to do before we go!  I've been married to Davis more than half my life and I want to write about that when I have the time and mental energy to do it justice.  But, for now, I'll just say there are a lot of things we wish we could go back to in this picture sitting in the back of a limousine with birdseed in our hair.  Like our trim figures.  Our smooth, young skin.  Our whole lives in front of us.  And even more significant at this point......the day when catering was $10 a head. 


Happy Anniversary to my sweet Davis!

We'll see y'all next week! 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Most Beautiful Gift

This afternoon, I worked at one of the stores to help with the anticipated Valentine rush.  Every Valentine's Day, there's always that one customer that sticks out in my memory and to celebrate this holiday of love, I'll tell you about this year's winner.

Much of the day, we'd helped men select gifts for their sweethearts.  Most of the guys weren't in the store very long as men usually make up their minds about this type thing very quickly.  Let's just say that there wasn't a whole lot of thought put into most of the selections.   

Well, right about the time school was getting out, a young boy came in the store all by himself.  That's a sight we don't usually see at the pharmacy gift shop.  I guess that he was about 10 or 11.  He came in with his hands in his pockets and looked a little intimidated about walking in alone.  I mean, 10 or 11......that is the time of life when our confidence isn't exactly what you'd call soaring. 

Well, Bonnie and I, being the southern women that we are, spoke warmly and tried to make him feel comfortable.  I mean, if you work at a store, it becomes like your house.  Like your home, you don't ever want anyone to walk in your store and feel ill at ease.  We asked if we could help him with anything.  "Oh, I'm just looking for a Valentine present for my Mom," he said shyly. 

Well, I'll just stop right here because I'm a big ol' sucker for a boy who loves him mama.  A real big sucker.  He reminded me of my Carson and so he plucked at my heartstrings kind of like Jimmy Hendrix.     

So, Bonnie and I pointed out some lower priced items in the store that we thought a mother would like.  We didn't know what his budget was but assumed that a 10 year old boy wouldn't have a lot to work with on Valentine's Day.  After showing him a few options, we backed off and let him look.  He went back and forth across the store studying all the choices.  I got busy with another customer and when I got done with her, I walked over to the counter where Bonnie was ringing up his selections and I asked if I could wrap the gifts for him. "How much does wrapping cost?" he asked.  I assured him it was a complimentary service and he was very happy to hear that.  He had two small candles for his mom and another item for his dad and Bonnie announced his total of $23 and some cents.  He nervously shifted and rifled through his money and admitted that he only had $20 and that he'd put one of the candles back.  I winked at Bonnie and told her I thought $20 was enough and, after a little polite protest from the boy, he finally conceded and I took the gifts away to the wrap room.

I picked out the fanciest wrapping paper and scattered handfuls of "complimentary" chocolates around the candles before closing the box. I would've given him the whole store if I thought I could've gotten it all in there.  I finished the wrapping and passed the gifts off to Bonnie to give to him.  I looked out from the back room because the boy had stolen my heart at that point.  He kept looking down at the two gifts but especially the one for his mom.....the box wrapped in silver leopard print paper with a hot pink bow.  You could tell that he was just beside himself with excitement.   His face was beaming like he was holding the most valuable treasure in his hands and my heart melted right out onto the floor and there I stood in a puddle of heart juices. 

They say love doesn't come from a store but, today, it did. 

The boy didn't spend as much as most of the men who shopped with us today. The gift wasn't nearly as large or impressive as some of the others we sold.  But, a son's sweet, innocent love for his mama embellished with silver leopard print paper and tied with a pink bow......well, it was the most beautiful gift we've wrapped in a long, long time.       

Hope you witnessed a lot of love today, too.     

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Dear Motherhood and Muffin Tops

Motherhood and Muffin Tops has turned 3!  Three years ago, I nervously typed out my first little blog post.  I'd never been so apprehensive about anything as I was the first few times I clicked "Publish".  I have to say, though, that the last three years have been a joy.  Sure, there are days when I have ample time to write and days when my wagon is just downright overloaded. Sometimes, I have a mind full of topic ideas and, sometimes, I feel like I've already written about every subject under the sun and anything from this point on will just be redundant.  Sometimes, I get so frustrated....like I'm in a rut.  Other times, I'm energized and feel like I have a purpose.  It's one of the most challenging and rewarding things I've ever done.               

I thought, on this birthday, I'd give you some useless and unimportant facts about the blog. Yes, everything you never wanted to know about Motherhood and Muffin Tops and more. 

1)  The most read posts to date are:
          1) There's this Lady I Know
          2) Dear Family Feud Contestant
          3) A Time to Mourn
          4) Somewhere Along the Way
          5) Recollections of Letting Go
          6) Call Your Mother, Kids
It was interesting to me that half of the all time top six posts were about death.  Maybe that's just because it's something we all experience.  We've all had people we loved to leave us.  I'm not sure you ever get over missing them.  Maybe we just need to know that there are other people who have the same feelings that we have.  Maybe we just need to hear that it's ok to be sad.      

2)  The top 6 countries from which the blog is read are:
           1)  United States
           2)  Russia
           3) Canada
           4) UK
           5) Ukraine
           6) France
I don't even know what to say about that except "Hello" to our friends across the pond.  All I can imagine is that I must have relatives in those places and my mother called them and told them about the blog.    

3)  To date, Motherhood and Muffin Tops has published 311 posts.  A few worth reading and the rest......just a whole lot of nonsense. 

4) This is the view from where I write.....unless it's Christmas time and the tree goes where my chair sits and so the change of location and scenery really throws me off during the holidays.  I write from my chair with my feet propped up on my ottoman and usually don't start until, at least, 10:00 pm.  I stay up until 12:30 or 1:00 or even 1:30 as I am a creature of the night with only the sound of a couple of ticking clocks and a snoring dog as my background noise.  I can't write with the TV on or music.....unless it's instrumental.  I've tried writing during the day but it's just not my productive time.  There's just something about the dark for us, nocturnals. 
5)  I find it easier to write about serious topics.  I guess because it just takes more effort to write something humorous but it is my favorite.  I've enjoyed making attempts at funny writing since my friends and I made high school note passing a lettered sport.  I also really enjoy telling a story......like the time when the cat got in my car.  Stories are the easiest to write.       

6)  I love feedback from readers whether it's by comments, or text messages, or in person.  I feel like I've made friends here.  Some of you comment regularly and I feel like I know you.  It's so encouraging to me to know that I'm not talking to myself because, well, that would be kind of embarrassing.  It humbles me when someone tells me they read the blog.  That is such a gift to me....that you would give me a sliver of your day. And, on the flip side, I'd be lying if I told you it didn't hurt my feelings when some unknown person in internet land unfollows me....usually after a patriotic or "overly" Christian post.  

7) My biggest fear about blogging is that I'll run out of things to write about.  After three times around the ol' calendar, I've found myself saying, "Oh, I've written about that a few times already."  It's challenging to think of some different things to explore.  I've really been struggling with that but hope to jump the hurdle soon.

8)  The top 4 ways the blog is read are.....
      1) Windows
      2) iPad
      3) iPhone
      4) Macintosh 
I know this one was super interesting but I'm trying to get to 10, people.

9)  You may not know but I am easily distracted and the least little thing can get me off track.  I'll shut the laptop and call it a night if a good episode of Everybody Loves Raymond or Frasier comes on or I'd even say if a moth is flying around a lamp.  Oh, look......   

10)  My goals for the blog from this day forward:
         -  Provide a place of lighthearted and uplifting posts in this world full of bad news which seems to weigh so heavy on us.
         -  Provide a place where we can laugh without using profanity or vulgarity.  Just good clean humor.  It is possible.  My mother has corrected me for using the term, birth canal, on the internet but that's about as raunchy as we're going to get here on Motherhood and Muffin Tops, my friends. 
         -   Write about subjects that we all struggle with and, sometimes, just need to know we're not the only one. 
         -   Honor God and give glory to Jesus, my Savior, and point others to Him with my words. 

In Him, there is purpose, worth, and pure joy. 

And who doesn't need more of that? 

Thank y'all for three years! 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

R is for Random and Rambling

So, my friend, Michelle, who I talked about in my last post, was in town on Tuesday.  I enjoyed lunch with her, her son, and "her Carolyn".  We were seated at our table and she told me she had something for me as she reached down in her purse and came out with this.  So precious!  She said I could share with you all.....
Over the last few days, I've run into quite a few people around town who've wanted to talk about their Type 1 or Type 2 mothers......or how they hover or don't......or their preference or disdain for the automatic toilet.  I've even had a few to tell me that they have thought about me while using a public restroom, this week.  How touching that was.....to know I was thought of in there.  The bathroom post seemed to strike a chord.  Apparently, it was way past time we spoke publicly about these things and came together as one around the issue of the public throne.  

There were terrible storms all over the South on Tuesday, too.  Sugar, our phobic dog, spent most of the early morning sitting on my head and hyperventilating.  It seems she's under the impression that in order to achieve maximum closeness to someone, she must situate herself atop their skull.  Sometimes, when that's not quite close enough, she will attempt to "dig" into your head with her front claws so that she can get even closer as in.....to your brain, your inner most being.  I'm sure some of you can relate to a dog with storm issues. 
When I found out that there had been tornados in New Orleans, my first thought was, of course, if my son-in-law-to-be was ok.  He was fine and then when I learned there were no fatalities, my mind went to the 300 year old trees under which the wedding will take place but when the plantation posted that they'd been unaffected by the storms, I was relieved.  The mighty oaks have stood proud for over three centuries and we just need them to, at least, hang on for a few months more.    
Blair and I ran in Dillard's, last night, because there was this dress she wanted to buy.  When we got done in there, we walked down to Bath & Body Works.  I don't know if you've tried their aromatherapy shampoo but I absolutely love it!  The orange ginger and the eucalyptus spearmint are the best.  Anyway, while we were in there, two men stumbled in and then they kind of backed out like they weren't sure that was where they needed to be.  But, it was too late.  They were immediately greeted at the door by one of the zealous saleswomen.  "Y'all come on back in here!  I know two strapping men like you are sure to need something for Valentine's Day!"  They kind of turned the color of a valentine and then laughed about being called strapping as it certainly wasn't an adjective you'd use to describe these two. I have to insert here that I am fascinated with watching men shop for their significant other.  I suppose it comes from years of working in retail and the floral business but it is a hobby of mine.  Some people study the migratory patterns of the ruby-throated hummingbird while I prefer to observe the special occasion shopping patterns of the man. 

Well, before you knew it, one sales lady had one of the poor men in the corner by the foaming soaps and the other guy was with another associate and she was spraying body sprays into the air for him to smell.  They bounced around the store with the men and, every now and then, I would hear one of the women say something like, "Oh, if you get her this, you'll be THE MAN!  She will LOVE you!" or "I don't know ANY woman who doesn't love a candle!"  At one point, I heard one of the gentlemen ask in his southern drawl, "Is she supposed to bathe in this or what?"  He was in the aromatherapy section and so Blair and I gave an unsolicited testimonial for the shampoo. 

Well, I made my little purchase and, as I was leaving, I looked over and the men had their bags full and were being talked into some impulse items near the register.  I thought, "Now, won't their ladies be surprised when they come home on Valentine's Day with enough soap to bathe the inhabitants of the seven continents?"  

So, listen, there will be a couple of Mississippi ladies out there whose men will present them with a Valentine gift of an unusually large quantity of random fragrant items.  Just know that if it happens to be you, next Tuesday, that he was just walking by when a saleswoman told him he was strapping and that, my dear, is how you're going to end up with whatever it is and for how ever long it takes to use it all.  I saw the whole thing with my own eyes. 

I guess we never really know what our guys are told when they're out shopping for us.  Just know that whatever he gets you, he probably just wanted to be THE MAN. 

Your man. 

And isn't that sweet?     

Y'all have a great weekend!     



Monday, February 6, 2017

Thanks for Having Me

Well, we just got home from watching the Super Bowl with a group of friends from church.  I didn't really care who won this year.  Or any other year for that matter.  I just go to these things for the food and social interaction.  Now, I love some college football but don't care for professional football......that is, until our little Dak got the nod as starting quarterback for the Cowboys and then I became disturbingly interested in it.  But, when they were knocked out of the playoffs, I went back to not caring as did probably most of the Mississippi State fans.  I have to admit that this year's game was a real nail biter, though, and that's always good.  And then there was Lady Gaga dangling from those cables.......but let's not get into that tonight. 

We had a good weekend.  It was D-Now for Carson which, for those of you who don't know, stands for Disciple Now but for parents it stands for D-Children Are Away Now.  Blair was out of town visiting John Samuel and Carson wasn't here and so that left Davis and me with a weekend to ourselves.  Well, Friday night, Davis needed to do some work from home.  We decided we'd go on a date Saturday night, so I took the opportunity to get together with my good friend, Q, on Friday.  Q isn't her actual name but it's what nearly everyone calls her.  We needed to catch up in the worst way.  We went to dinner, did a little shopping, and I'd been telling her I wanted to go to her parents' house for an overdue visit.  It had been a long while since I'd seen her Mama so we headed there next.  I mean, from time to time, we need to see for ourselves how your Mama 'n' 'em are doing.      

You know how you had those houses where you spent a lot of time when you were a child or a teenager?  We all had our homes away from home and Mrs. Jean's was one of mine.  We walked in the house and, even though a few things had changed, it was still the same welcoming place.  I've only been back there a handful of times since we've gotten all grown up with families of our own.  Her parents were there to greet us into the home where I'd spent so many nights watching VHS movies, eating dinner, and, as I recall, acting all sorts of goofy.  Her mama, Mrs. Jean to me, always fried donuts or baked chocolate chip cookies for us.  Her hot donuts were made from canned biscuits with homemade glaze and served with cold milk.  There's simply no telling how many of those things I consumed in that house.  And when I'd spend the night, Mrs. Jean would serve us breakfast in bed.  I have a picture of us eating breakfast in bed at about the age of 18 and if it weren't so unsightly of me, I'd share it but some things are just better left to the imagination. 

There's something awfully special about old friends who you share a long history with, but the gift of their mothers.....the gift of having acting mamas who loved you while you were visiting your friends' homes was something we often took for granted.  When we were young, we bounced around from one house to another.  I remember spending the night with my dear friend, Michelle, and sometimes she'd ask her mama, Mrs. Carolyn, if I could stay another night and then when it came time for me to leave after the second night, we'd devise a plan where I'd call my Mama to see if Michelle could come home with me.  Finally, after 4 or 5 nights of being together, our mothers would tell us it was time for a break.  My Mama's name is Carolyn, too, and we referred to them as "your Carolyn" and "my Carolyn".  "You get your Carolyn to call my Carolyn and talk her into letting us..... (fill in the blank)."  We were so astute in our plotting and planning.    

I love how here in the South, we address our friends' mothers by adding a Mrs. in front of their first name.  I am currently Mrs. Joni to my kids' friends. While you were at another mother's home, it was kind of like you belonged to them.  They cared for you like you were their own.  (You also knew those mamas had your mama's permission to "tear you up" if you misbehaved.....but, of course, they never did.)  I know my Mama took the mothering role seriously when my friends were over.  She wanted everything to be welcoming, fun, and just so while they were there.       

Some of the other places I frequented....

At Mrs. Bobbie's house, I learned to put butter on hot Pop-Tarts.....a secret that has served me well through the years.  I don't know how I remember this but I loved her mashed potatoes.  She let Sheila and I ride our bikes to the store to get candy and a drink.  That was a huge deal.  And Sheila had a tremendous collection of board games which her Mama kept out in her laundry room.  She'd have to reach the ones on the highest shelf.  I, being a board game fanatic, was just in heaven over there.  They had hardwood floors and there was one that creaked in the hallway so you had to step gingerly to avoid waking her parents when you were up way too late.  And Sheila and I may or may not have pulled the "I'm going to ask if you can come home with me" a time or two at the end of a spend the night adventure.
Michelle's Mrs. Carolyn always had soft drinks and a Pizza Hut box in the frig which was a treat for me because we rarely ate out at my house.  She had the Charles Chips can always stocked and snacks galore.  It was a dream come true, really, for this girl who once could eat whatever she wanted and only grew skinnier.  (I miss her.)  Mrs. Carolyn's house was always a hub of activity. They had a trampoline, a neighborhood pool, and all manner of entertainment.  She was one of those laid back moms who didn't notice an extra kid or four in her house.      
Mrs. June always had the table set just so for a big Sunday lunch.  My friend, Julie, would tug at her Mama's arm during church and whisper, "Can Joni come home with us after church?"  Our big brothers were friends, too, and so Julie and I would usually go to one house and the boys would go to the other. Of course, when the two of us would run to ask my Mama if I could go, she gave the standard mother answer, "Well, if her Mama said it was ok."  Sunday afternoon visits were a big thing back then.  Go home with your friend after morning church and they'd bring you back to night church.  A week or two later, you'd return the gesture.  But, if you sprung it on a mama suddenly at church, the answer was always dependent on what she had (or hadn't) planned for lunch.  If the roast was big enough, it was usually yes.  If she only had leftovers from Saturday night, it was usually "we'll have her over next Sunday" and then you'd get a talking to in the car about not asking her in front of the would-be guest. 
I could list mothers all day but you don't have time for that and I know I'd leave some out.  But, I wouldn't dare mention the one who had to change the sheets after I wet her child's bed and then tried to conceal the deed.  Blessed is she.            

There were houses that were louder than mine. Quieter than mine.  Stricter than mine.  More lenient. There were houses that operated on a fend for yourself system and those which were pretty much full service.  Lights went out earlier at some and later at others.  Some would get up and tell us to be quiet in the middle of the night.  Others didn't seem to notice all the giggling.  Some places, I was more talkative.  Some, I was kind of shy.  But, I always knew I was loved there at those homes. Just like my friends were always loved at my house. 

Even today, when I see those sweet women, I still feel loved.  It warms the younger parts of my heart.  They mothered me and hosted me and cooked for me and I'm sure cleaned up after me. They all knew what my picky self would eat and what I didn't like.  They even reminded their daughter that I was the company when they needed to.  Just like my mother reminded me who the company was when they were at my house.  And the one thing they all had in common, they taught us, girls, to say, "I enjoyed it....Thanks for having me" at the end of our stays.

I wouldn't trade anything for the time spent at those places.  Those mamas all sit in a very dear section of my heart.  For all the times they welcomed me to their homes and for loving me while I was there.

Just like my Mama taught me...."I enjoyed it.  Thanks for having me."               


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

So, I Have An Issue

So many issues being debated in our nation right now.  People yelling and screaming at each other.  And women's issues seem to be some of the loudest debated topics as of late.  I do hate to step into anything here but there is a women's issue that I feel hasn't been addressed to my satisfaction.  And even though I don't want to become part of all the noise and discord, it's something that I feel deserves action and that is the continuing rise of the automatic toilet in ladies' public restrooms. I know that I've shared what's on my heart about this topic before but I feel it bears repeating as I've encountered several stressful situations recently.  I believe awareness is the key.  It is where change begins.        

If you know me, personally, you know that I'm not one to use a public restroom unless it is completely unavoidable.  I'm not what you'd call an overly germ-conscious person in other areas of my life but I'd rather just hold it until I get home than deal with the un-pleasantries of a public latrine.  I might interject that one exception is a church bathroom.  With all of our shortcomings and weaknesses, we, Christians, should be commended for our pristine communal bathroom conditions.  Even as it relates to restrooms, it seems that cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.  I might also add here, at no additional charge, that my mother, the queen of clean, also gives Dillard's high bathroom ratings with Cracker Barrel as an acceptable alternative in times of emergency.  Just FYI.         

We, women, generally had one of two kinds of mothers.  There was the Type 1 mother who sent us in the public restroom alone as a child with no instructions or warnings about what not to touch.  This kind of mother didn't cringe at the thought of her little girl with her hands resting on either side of the toilet seat to steady herself and her pants legs dangling on the ground. No, this mother was laid back and such things never crossed her mind as her little daughter ran off to the bathroom alone at the Burger Chef.  These mothers were of the mindset that there was nothing in this world that a little soap couldn't wash off.  I was always fascinated with my friends who had Type 1 mothers and the freedom they had to flirt with death. 

Then, there was the Type 2 mother like I had......and the kind that I became.  I'm not sure but I think the Type 2 mother may be more prevalent here in the South.  I'd take little Blair in the restroom only after repeatedly asking, "Are you sure you can't hold it?"......I mean, just to be sure.  We'd go in and my first instruction was a stern, "Don't touch a thing!"  I'd survey the stall options and choose the cleanest one.  I'd lay a protective layer of toilet paper on the seat and then another one or two for good measure, you know, since she was too short to hover which is the preferred method of dealing with such an insanitary situation.  I'd help her up reminding her to keep her hands in her lap at all times while making sure her pants didn't touch the floor which would consequently require their immediate incineration when we got home.  We'd finish up and I'd use my foot to flush just like my mother taught me and we'd carefully back out of the stall.  I'd put soap and water on a paper towel and wash her little hands and, of course, like any woman worth her salt, I'd use her drying towel to open the door to exit.  Heaven forbid there was only a hand dryer in there leaving us with no way to open the door....but we won't get into that today.      

These new fangled automatic toilets, well, they just don't function properly for those of us who were brought up to believe that, if you sit on a public toilet, you might as well lick the stall handle and roll around in that mysterious puddle on the floor while you're at it.  It's the school of thought which believes that STDs abound in public restrooms and they will jump on you like fleas on a dog and that all drug resistant strains of every bacteria under the sun are present there.  It is the birthplace of many-a-chronic and incurable disease.  And since contact is a necessary component in the automatic toilet's functioning, it just doesn't work for us, Type 2 daughters......like we don't already have enough stressors to deal with while we're in there.           

We had lunch at a restaurant over the weekend and I had to visit to their public facilities.  We were out of town and so waiting until I got home wasn't really an option.  I entered the stall and was so thrilled to see a purse hook on the back of the door.  I'm liking the new lowered purse hook for greater security as opposed to just removing them all together.  For those public establishments who've removed your purse hooks, you can't imagine the level of difficulty involved in trying to hold a 20lb purse and attempting to conduct your business while avoiding making contact with any surfaces in the 2' x 3' infested area. Leaning forward while balancing 20 lbs in one's hand can make one top heavy but luckily one's head is already resting on the stall door at this point and prevents one from tipping over....but I digress.  On top of all of the hurdles, there was the struggle to keep my long sweater fringe from falling into the toilet.  We, women, sometimes wear long, flowy things which can add another level of difficulty to the process.  Men just can't imagine the coordination involved in purse balancing/fringe gathering /seat avoidance/backwards target accuracy.  It's a skill set that gets far too little attention in my opinion. 

So, I finished my business and turned around to flush only to discover it was one of those dang automatic toilets.  I stood there waiting for it to flush thinking it may be a timed type deal.   I mean, it randomly flushed when I walked  in and locked the door behind me so I thought maybe it was on a timer.  But, nothing.  I waved my foot in front of what looked like it could've been a sensor.  Nothing.  Then, I lightly kicked at the sensor.  Nothing.  I took my foot and applied slight pressure to the toilet seat and then lifted it in an attempt to mimic someone, who had a Type 1 mother, actually sitting on it.  Nothing.  I searched for a button.  None.  I tossed in more toilet paper to move the water a bit.  Nothing. 

What was a girl to do?  There were other people in there.  Ladies waiting for my stall.  You can't just exit a restroom stall without a flush first. You'll get judgmental looks. You could have your southern belle card revoked.  I've seen revocation for far less crimes. And if you stand in there too long, they'll begin to wonder what you're doing and start looking under the door only to see your feet facing the toilet!  So, I waited there, awkwardly, praying for a flush.  When you've done all you can do, pray.... even in the small things.  Finally, I heard the glorious sound of flushing which had enough power to suck me in by my fringe had I been one-half inch closer but it was glorious, nonetheless. 

So, I urge everyone who was raised by a Type 2 mother.....don't suffer with the automatic toilet alone.  We have to rise up and be heard.  We need each other in this age of automation.  We demand change.  We want a good old-fashioned lever we can stomp.  Just like our mamas taught us.  It's all we ask, really.  Just bring back the lever. 

Or put your little sensors on the back of the stall door.......where our heads rest.

If we can change just one bathroom, we will have made a difference. 

Y'all have a good one! 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Yearly Reminder

Well, it's a new year and thus begins my annual pilgrimage to check ups and exams which we, women, have to do each year.  I'm still a year and a half removed from the colonoscopy and continue to pray fervently that the Lord will return before May of 2018.  Anyway, I decided to keep with tradition and start at the head, this year, and work my way down.  I'm nothing if not a stickler for check ups. Last week, I went to the eye doctor where I got new glasses as I learned that I have the beginning of a cataract which has changed my lens prescription.  Cataract.  I remember when my grandmother had those so that was a kick in the "I think I'm still young" pants.  Then, working my way down from the head, the next stop would be the thyroid check up but that's not due yet so I proceeded on to the mammogram.  As a public service reminder, I try to always write about my mammogram appointment in an effort to encourage you to get yours, too!   

So, I missed my mammogram appointment back when we all fell ill to the stomach virus.  I was too sick to even call much less go.  I mean, there are a lot of places one doesn't want to be when afflicted with the stomach virus and in a paper gown ensnared by a mammary vise would have to be pretty near the top of the list.  So, they mailed me this pink slip and said that, since I missed my appointment, I could drop by anytime with my pink piece of paper and they would work me right in.  I suppose they're trying to make it as easy as possible for women to get their yearly check ups which is a good thing.  Yay for them. 

So, for a couple of months, I moved the pink slip all around the house.  Putting it off with every move. It went from the table next to my chair to folded inside my planner to the top of my desk to the console in my car to the bottom of my purse and, finally, I decided I needed to quit putting it off, take my tattered pink paper, and just go.

I went right before lunch at 11:30, one day.  Right before lunch and right after lunch seem to be the best times to deal with medical appointments.  So, I walked into the empty waiting area and knew I'd made a good call.  I signed and initialed all the paperwork.  You know all the stuff about privacy, permission to treat, and such.  I guess I should start reading all that more closely before I initial and sign.  Could be something in there about their not being responsible for accidental amputation or failure to reinflate or something.  Stuff like that would be good to know beforehand.

So, before I was able to sit down good, a chirpy, little lady came to get me.  I don't know what her title was but she's the one who comes and gets you and takes you into that little room and enthusiastically explains the putting on of the robe, the pink deodorant removal wipes, the blue re-deodorant wipes, and the reminder to bring the little key to your locker with you when you're done.  She had the most jovial voice and I don't believe I've ever heard anyone speak of locker keys with such fervor.  She was adorable.  So, she left and I did everything she said because, well, you don't want the mammogram people mad at you.  They have a serious torture device at their disposal. 

I sat in the chair as instructed and waited for someone to come and get me and, to my delight, my sweet friend who works there rounded the corner.  It's nice to see a familiar face at such an awkward time.  I mean, you have a lot more to talk about with a friend than a stranger while you're being corralled into the dough press.  We discussed our children, parents, siblings with a "lean in closer" and a "hold still" thrown in every now and then and maybe a "turn you head that way" for good measure.  I stood there with my robe gaping open between takes as we discussed the weather like that was something I did a lot.  I was like Eve before the whole apple incident.....I didn't even care that my robe was ajar.  Before I knew it, she was all done and I took my little key and started to head back to the deodorant wipes and the comforting embrace of my clothing. 

But, then I was called back because they saw a little something that wasn't there the last time I went.  Well, that always makes you a bit nervous and I was taken into another room for an ultrasound.  They were asking me some family history questions and I started reading stuff into that. With something like this, you tend to pick up on any hint of concern they may have and kind of set your worry meter at whatever you decide their worry meter setting is.  I don't like to brag but I'm a pretty good people reader and I estimated their setting to be around 6 and so mine was fluctuating somewhere between 6 and 250. 

So, like I'd done a few times before, I stretched out on the table and waited on the sweet doctor to come in.  I wasn't in there long before she came but it felt like a long while.  Worry tends to make time sluggish.  For a brief moment, I went through all the possible scenarios of how the next few minutes could play out.  I thought about my friends who've had breast cancer.  Some who are fighting it now.  My cousins. One of them who didn't make it.  Whenever you're in a waiting period that comes with so many medical tests, you have time to think about the ifs of life.  How you'd react.  How your family would react.  How life would change.  How strong your faith really is.   

Well, the doctor came in and about 2 seconds after finding it with the ultrasound, she smiled and reported what it was and that everything was fine and that I had nothing to worry about.  That's what you always tell your friends it will turn out to be when they have to go back but when it's you, well, it gets a little more complicated. So, the ifs immediately left me and my mind returned to its relaxed state once again.

So, tonight, I sit here writing with my new glasses, a clean mammogram, and two punches on my check up card. 

But, I pray for all the women who were like me and got called back.  Except they stretched out on the table and didn't get the news they wanted to hear.  Their mind didn't get to return to its relaxed state and probably hasn't since.  Maybe not so much for themselves as for those they take care of and love with all of their hearts.  I pray for those women who are fighting.  I pray for strength, healing, and comfort for them. God, please, give them everything they need to face each day and may they feel You above them, below them, and beside them....completely surrounded by Your peace.     

Ladies, please, get your mammograms. 

Y'all have a good Wednesday!