Friday, December 18, 2009

What a Difference a Decade Makes

Ten years ago, I was living in Jacksonville, FL. My husband was still in the Navy, stationed on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier and deploying frequently, leaving me home alone with a full-time job, a 4-year-old, a 1-year-old and two dogs. Like everyone, the many people affiliated with my company were anxiously awaiting the opening minutes of Jan. 1, 2000 to see what, if anything would happen to the world's computers on that auspicious date. By then we were all sick of hearing about Y2K concerns, which in hindsight, turned out to be the very least of our problems in this last tumultuous decade.

In the last ten years, I've gone from having a baby and a toddler to a high school freshman and an 11-year-old who I can no longer wrestle with unless I want to get hurt. We've suffered through the unimaginable losses of three of our four parents, numerous aunts and uncles, and the parents of dear friends. We've lost our two precious dogs, who'd been with us since the early days of our married life, and we moved from Florida to Rhode Island where we've now been for seven years—the longest we've lived anywhere in our 17 years of marriage.

While the world around us dealt with terrorists and wars and hanging chads and economic turmoil, we have been working, raising our kids, and pursing a few dreams on the side. Becoming a published author this decade was a definite highlight. But what's much more important to me is the continued good health of my family and friends. The most enduring lesson of the last ten years for me is the importance of good health. In the end, it's all that really matters and it makes everything else possible.

Ten years from now, I should have one college graduate on my hands and one more working his way through (no doubt kicking and screaming all the way). We will no doubt lose more of the people who guided and shaped us, which I've decided is the part of adulthood I hate the most. How are we supposed to survive without these critical people? If I figure it out, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, as this year and decade come to an end, thank you to my faithful readers. Thank you to everyone who made my entrance into the world of publishing so much fun. Thank you for checking back here for my irregular updates. I look forward to chatting with you in the "teen" years! Happy holidays and a happy happy New Year!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gravity Always Wins

Remember that John Mellencamp (or was he Cougar then?) tune, The Authority Song? I fight authority, authority always wins? Well in my case, if you substitute the word gravity for authority then you've got my theme song. I fall down—a lot. Not sure why, but me vs gravity is an ongoing battle, and gravity is certainly winning the war.

It all began when I was 9. I skidded out on some sand on my bike and took a major wipeout that led to an ER visit. The doctors and my parents were understandably concerned about the injury to my nose that occurred when the crossbar landed on my face. However, I kept trying to draw their attention to the more painful knee vs pedal injury, which has plagued me in various ways ever since. Later, when my brother and I were allowed to ride our bikes on a busier street, I got run off the road by a flower delivery truck and crashed into a chain link fence. Ouch! I have a scar on my elbow from that incident. I still remember my mortified brother continuing on without me! After that, I more or less scratched bikes off my list of can-do activities. (I'm not counting the incident on a lonely road in Indiana with my now-husband running along side me when a large dog came bolting after us and took a chunk out of my tush. Somehow I managed to stay on the bike that time—score one for me vs. gravity!) I ended up married to a guy who lives to ride bikes and owns seven or eight of them at last count. He goes bike riding by himself. It's better that way.

Skiing was another disaster of epic proportions. There was the incident with the tow rope when I tried to avoid a kid who had fallen in front of me and took the metal bar to the fanny (are you sensing a theme here?) leaving a HUGE bruise. Another time I had to be tied to the instructor to get down off the bunny slope. In an ironic twist, we returned to that mountain years later and my daughter took a lesson from the same instructor. I swear he remembered me...

Ice skating? No. Just no. Rollerblading? An even bigger NO. NO. NO.

Lately, however, I haven't even needed extreme sports such as bike riding, skiing or ice skating to bring me down. In October, I fell out of my car into the driveway and T-boned myself on my own laptop, breaking a rib. Yes, you read that right. Do you know anyone else who has ever uttered that particular sentence? I didn't think so. I blame my husband for this accident. He parked his truck at a weird angle in the driveway, which forced me to do the same, putting our downhill-facing driveway further down than it normally is when I step out of my car. The weird thing is, I don't really remember falling. I remember shifting my laptop bag to my left shoulder and then I was in the driveway with the computer wedged in my rib. What happened in between is a mystery. When I told him about what happened, my father suggested I lead with my feet. Ha. Ha. Ha. That's really funny, dad. Thanks. My husband blames the driveway, which rushed up to meet me. By the way, the computer was just fine. Thanks for asking. And, yes, I did check its condition before I took a look at the swiftly swelling rib area.

I recently stepped into my daughter's landfill of a room, encountered beads under my feet and went sprawling, face down onto her floor. "Watch out for the beads," she was saying as I hit the floor. Gee, thanks for the warning!

Just this week, I stayed in a hotel for my aunt's funeral. It was just me and a king-sized bed, which I somehow managed to miss when returning from a middle-of-the-night potty run. One minute standing up heading for bed, next minute laying on the floor. As my cousin so astutely put it, isn't the king-sized bed the focal point of the hotel room? Yes, it is, but somehow I managed to miss it. As we trudged through sleet and snow to get to my aunt's grave site, my cousins propped up their elderly parents—and me. They weren't sure who was the bigger liability.

Gravity always wins.