Posted by: deadmousediaries | July 2, 2010

If Your Phone is in the Fridge, Menopause is Calling – an observation from Mitchell Kyd

It’s July 4th weekend already. Where are my paper plates?  We used a handful on the first big weekend of summer, just 32 days ago.  I know I have a nearly brand new stack because I bought ’em when I couldn’t find the new  stack I bought for New Year’s.  I’ve already searched the picnic hamper, the cupboard where I stash all the other paper goods, and the basket under the microwave. They are too big for the junk drawer, too wimpy to be stowed under the sink and too bulky to have been dropped into the toaster.  I’m sure they’ll turn up.

“They’ll turn up.” That’s a phrase I’ve learned to embrace as I make my way through my fifty-somethings.  Life for middle-aged women is a hormonal funhouse, bizarre but entertaining one moment, frightening and garish the next.  (Whoa!  That’s exactly how I would describe a circus clown.)

If you haven’t yet reached this amazing crossroads of womanhood  (or don’t have the plumbing for the adventure), forget what you’ve read about menopausal mood swings and hot flashes.  The real challenge for your brain as it starts to sputter without estrogen is finding stuff.  Notice I did not say losing stuff; that’s the easy part. Finding is much tougher because you continue to rely on old logic for your search. For instance: if you can’t find your checkbook, your PM (pre-menopausal) brain sends you to the last place you actually used it.  During menopause (M), that kind of thinking will only send you to the bank to open a new account.

Here’s how it works in your new world of M: you were working in your checkbook when the phone rang.  You carried the checkbook with you to pick up the phone and passed Fido’s bowl on the way. You walked into the bathroom to dump that water with the phone pinned to your shoulder.  Not even Wonder Woman can multi-task now without a third hand so obviously, the checkbook is now in a basket on the back of the tank in the bathroom.  How else could you turn on the faucet?

Or maybe you picked up the dry cleaning yesterday but can’t find your need-NOW jacket. Old logic says look for the whole set of freshly pressed garments dangling somewhere in their plastic wrappers.  Wrong. You took the jacket out of the bag the moment you picked it up to make sure last week’s indiscretion with the chocolate syrup had been rendered undetectable. (Reminder, you had to stop first for cash because you couldn’t find the checkbook.) Upon satisfactory inspection, you folded your most forgiving piece of summer party wear neatly and laid it on the car seat. When you unloaded the car, you gently placed it on top of the groceries.  Voila! Your jacket is clearly now in a brown paper bag on the counter with the macaroni and the Jello that will be needed for tomorrow’s picnic .

See how it all makes sense? And if your phone ends up in your fridge, accept it’s simply that menopause is calling.

I’m inclined to believe that houses that house menopausal women should be without remotes and cordless phones. Life would be far less stressful if men weren’t constantly annoying us by asking where we left those items. There are those who would argue it would be a helpful public service to post a huge scarlet M outside these homes as well, indicators like they used in other centuries to warn strangers that someone in the house had diphtheria or typhus.

I personally think women of a certain age should have no fewer than three sets of cars keys, three watches and four pairs of black shoes, all exactly the same. The alternative to this excess might be to purchase duct tape and several of those retractable dog leashes.  The people-end of the leash could be taped securely to the wall inside the back door. The dog-end should be attached to the travelling items such as staplers, oven mits and the beaters from the mixer. (Wind tightly with enough duct tape to discourage disengaging.)

Here’s another great piece of advice for the Ladies of  M, you can shave two hours of non-productive time off every day through acceptance;  let go of feeling organized. For example, your PM ability to effectively manage paperwork is now beyond your grasp for at least the next five years. There are just no solutions to making sure that the tax bill doesn’t get filed in the recipe box, the cat food coupon does not land in the silverware drawer, or the license application won’t be whirling through the spin cycle. (Again, I could explain the events that lead to these scenarios but the actual sequence varies in every M-emblazoned household so I’m not sure that’s productive.)

The joys of womanhood are never-ending and picnic products are just a buck at Dollar General so I think I’ll take my own advice and stop obsessing.  After all, paper plates don’t expire and won’t go bad and the other pack will most certainly turn up when I’ve stopped looking. (Although I’m thinking now that I have put them in the magazine rack when I cleared the kitchen table…)  I’ll pick up  a stack on my errand run this afternoon, as soon as I find my car keys and my checkbook.

Copyright 2010. Mitchell Kyd. All rights reserved.

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