60

Dress shopping for my son’s upcoming wedding has reminded me I’m not young.

All of the dresses that make me say, “Ooooooo!” are ones more appropriate for a  17-year-old at her prom.  The stuff under mother–of-the- groom dresses is matronly — the kind of thing you wear with sensible shoes.  I haven’t worn sensible shoes, aside from the broken foot incident, since my mother had me in corrective saddle oxfords in second grade.  I still blame her for my shoe addiction.

I’m turning 60 year this.  Years ago, I was quite certain that turning 60 would bother me.  None of my other birthdays, save the 25th one, did but my 25th surprised me with its sucker punch.  But, I said all along, “I think 60 will bother me.”  So far it hasn’t.  I have until August to have a meltdown, but mostly I’m just astonished that I’ll be six decades on this planet.  I throw that in there because my 25th birthday brought a meltdown that, long story short, resulted in the birth of my son against all odds – the same son who is now getting married and presumably will produce grandchildren during my lifetime.  Old or not, I’m wild about the idea of grandchildren.

As a young person, I was never able to imagine myself as old.  I couldn’t quite get past the idea of 40.  When I turned 50, I had a surprise birthday party and was flummoxed that so many friends came so many miles to help me celebrate.  Fifty didn’t bother me in the least.  But like 60, I just didn’t know how it could be true.

60.

Dresses on Amazon, my go-to place for clothes that will actually fit me, for the 60-crowd are gray.  Or navy blue.  What is it about older women that they think we want blend-into-the-wall colors?  If it weren’t a wedding, I would wear black.  My go-to formal color.

After much trial and error, I’ve settled on two ensembles.  Neither of which are in my possession.  I had to custom order each of them from China.

My mother and I spent an afternoon taking my measurements.  One’s measurements in centimeters are depressing.  One’s weight in kilograms is not.

One outfit is the quintessential mother-of-the-groom ensemble if one is a little edgy.  I’m a lot edgy, but the ensemble won an informal Facebook poll as the most me.  It’s gray.  Lace.  Chiffon pantsuit with a skirt overlay.  It’s stunning.  But it is only suitable as a mother-of-the-groom outfit.  I’m not likely to wear it again.

The second is a dress that I found just today.  It’s an ocean blue sheath with a cowled back and a rhinestone criss-cross-y bra strap kind of thing.  It makes my heart go pitter patter.  I ordered it too.  It’s suitable for my age, but is plenty edgy.

I am so tired of looking for something to wear.  I have the shoes, the purse,  the jewelry.  I just need the dress.  I  now want to enjoy the anticipation of my son marrying his love in Spain.

Between the two ensembles, some seamstress in China with my exact measurements in centimeters will surely manage to fit my unusually tall body.  Surely.  Please.

I think both are age appropriate, but maybe not.  I’m not usually appropriate.  I still feel 25 and I still gravitate towards dresses more appropriate for the prom crowd.  When, pray tell, does one begin feeling their age?  I’m about to turn 60 and am astonished that’s true and yet I still feel 25.

Myrna Loy Primping for William Powell

white-shoulders-cologneLately, I’ve been very annoyed with my perfume bottle.

Not the perfume, mind you. I’ve worn the same perfume since I was 10 – White Shoulders. I love it. I have always loved it and, recently, I learned it was the first perfume my dad ever gave his mom. He was about the age I was when he saved his money to buy it for her.  It was given to me by my great aunt and except for a brief flirtation with some heavily advertised brands in the early 70s, it’s the only perfume I’ve ever worn.

It’s a delicate scent that mixes well with my body chemistry. While it’s an affordable perfume, it’s not cheap. Someone generally gets me a bottle every other Christmas which works out well because that’s about how long it takes me to go through a bottle.

perfume bottleThe last bottle was not a spray bottle. I just opened a new one and it’s been aggravating me – trying to pour out just enough and then splashing it around like after shave. It’s a barbaric way to handle a delicate scent.

I’m on the “one for them, one for me” Christmas gift shopping plan. On a recent online foray, I ran across perfume bottles with those old-fashioned rubber squeeze bulbs. Oh my.

Now we know how I feel about my dressing table. And we know how I feel about the elegance of times past.

So how could I not buy it? Honestly.

It arrived today and it’s just wonderful. I feel like Myrna Loy primping for William Powell.

The Mailbox, Derecho, Dumpster and Beetle

I can read by this sucker!

July 7th (or maybe July 8th, it could be after midnight)

I’m sitting outside in the heat and neglect ravished garden writing this with pen and paper. It’s a night to make 72F past midnight feel like watermelon on ice.

The last time I blogged, I was trying to make my mailman happy. I may have succeeded. But here we are again, trying to make the mailman happy. HMOKeefe and the mailbox had a lover’s quarrel. He wielded a U-Haul and the mailbox stood silent, but not firm. After sprawling on the ground for several days in the debris of unwanted catalogs and carpet cleaning advertisements, the monster mailbox was tossed into the rental dumpster.

Exhausted, but victorious. The post, that is.

Boston Boy spent most of the day installing a new mailbox using some New England method that bears no resemblance to how anybody I know has ever installed a mailbox. It’s not going well. I say, “Um, you’re trying to pound that thing into bedrock,” and he says, “I did this in Massachusetts” and then I don’t say, “What part of any of this reminds you of Massachusetts?” But it’s been 3 weeks without a mailbox and another day or 300 doesn’t matter. I’m not the mail junkie.  The new post is sprawled in the driveway, exhausted but victorious against insertion into bedrock.

Oh, yes, rental dumpster. It’s been exciting times around the old barn and, really, if you’ve never rented a dumpster, do so. Before things got worse, I had a lot of fun running around like June Cleaver on crack de-junking the house.

I am too damn old for all the excitement of the past several months.

In no particular order, I offer up the following as a sort of “What I did on my summer vacation” essay.

1. The Derecho.

2. Three downed trees.

3. 6 nights and 5 days (and counting) of no power

First floor of the house. For upstairs, add 10 degrees.

4. Heat index between 105 and 115

5. The pied-à-terre abandoned (hence the Uhaul).

6. Mushrooms growing on my carpet.

7. New subfloor

8. Termites, carpenter ants, squirrels and a possum, all in the house, and all evicted.

9. Rotten bookcases.

Where are my bookcases?

10. 105 linear feet of homeless books PLUS HMO’Keefe’s.

11. Moldy drywall.

12. Packed the entire first floor of the barn.

13. New HVAC.

14. Chose new flooring, paint, and more paint.

15. Sanded drywall.

16. Acquired my first extension ladder.

17. New solid bottom (doesn’t that sound sort of risqué?) dishwasher to protect the as-of-yet-uninstalled new flooring.

Ah, there they are. Those aren’t bookcases, they’re trash.

18. Burl the Handyman Extraordinaire retired. Found Shorty, the Whirling Dervish Handyman.

19. Sheer, unceasing, unspeakable chaos at work.

20. Flunked the mammogram. Passed on the 3rd try.

21. More indignities of old age.

22. Even more.

23. Still yet more.

24. Filled the dumpster (and then some).

Building a new subfloor, fa la la.

25. This is only a partial list. I’m leaving out 26 through 147, but each and every one of them hold promise of a good story when I get to the point where I can laugh.I got a wee bit drunk last night. It was my only hope for sleep. I’ll never sleep tonight. It is, literally, 94F in the bedroom and the entire first floor is a construction zone. The only furniture available for human bodies are the wooden kitchen chairs. The idea of wine as a sleep aid is revolting and I’ve been mainlining water so I’ll pee every 30 seconds all night. Might as well just sit here.

AH DAMN. I JUST SWALLOWED A BEETLE.

After the Derecho slammer jammed West Virginia, 85% of the state lost power last Friday, including me. I woke Saturday morning to air conditioned comfort much to my astonishment. That astonishment grew as I learned about the Derecho, the state of emergency, the suffering that hurricane force winds during temps in excess of 100 can provoke. For those of you as ignorant of this weather phenomenon as I was, a Derecho is either Spanish or Sioux for Straight Arrow (different sources different origins). It’s a hurricane force wind that arrives with no warning and travels a great distance in a very short period of time wreaking havoc. This one started in the upper Midwest and didn’t stop until it knocked D.C off the grid. In 10 hours.

I routinely lose power. If a cloud somewhere sneezes, my power goes out. How did I get lucky? I don’t know. But I lost power in the second storm on Tuesday and here I sit, swallowing water and beetles.

Third degree mosquito bites fer shur, dude.

Boston Boy is resolved to sleep out here tonight. If he succeeds, we’ll be at the E.R. tomorrow tending to potential Lyme Disease and 3rd degree mosquito bites.

The IPhone is keeping me sane. I switch between Facebook, the APCO website and email. One thing led to another and I found Charlene on Facebook today. By the time she accepted my friend request, the battery was dead. So the phone is on the car charger and I’m losing the battle against the bugs. The nifty new lantern which was the last non-electric source of light available for purchase in the state of West Virginia is attracting June bugs who subsequently explode like tiny, wet fireworks when they get too close to the flame. (Yes, it’s gruesome, but there are that many fewer for me to swallow.

It’s a dandy lantern – 1500 lumens with an electronic ignition. If it just had wi-fi, I’d be all set.

I need a strait-jacket.

Besides every hotel being full to bursting with tree trimmers, power workers and the heat-tortured citizenry, we’re not in a hotel tonight for fiscally prudent reasons. Nor were we last night, but we were Thursday night because otherwise I was going to end up in either prison or the psych ward. But the, “Gee! Let’s put in new flooring” torture and massacre of every penny and more in the budget has the checkbook keening loudly, although not loud enough to drown out the neighbors’ three, yes three, generators. I hate the sound. Hate it. It sounds like a stampeding herd of semi-trucks. I just know the neighbors are over there wearing sweaters and surfing the Internet while sipping something frothy with lots of ice.

[Connie looks forlornly at the 2” of dirty water in the bottom of the cooler.]

So, it seems I’ve blogged again.

Find contentment in creating chaos.

It’s now Sunday evening, about 10 p.m. I’ve had power since shortly before 2 p.m. Of course, another storm arrived shortly thereafter which is wreaking havoc. Thus far, the power is on having only flickered once or twice. I have the AC cranked. I’m going to get this house freezing so if we lose power, and I expect to, we’ll have some spare cool air. However, the heat has broken. It’s a good 30 degrees cooler outside than it was this time last night. I expect to sleep well tonight. Last night I prowled Walmart after writing the above. Heat-induced insomnia is a terrible thing. I did manage a few hours of restless half-awake-half-asleep-all-miserable time in the bed. I did persuade HMO’Keefe to sleep indoors last night so no hospital adventures for us today.

Sleep well, y’all. And try to find contentment in chaos.