Thursday, May 29, 2014

Not that Funny

Dear Faithful Readers,

Maybe you’ve noticed that I haven’t blogged very frequently in the last few weeks. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m fresh out of ideas or if this is what they mean by “writer’s block.” It isn’t as if I haven’t been trying. Nothing I’ve come up with lately seems to have much juice. Nothing has been tickling my funny bone.

I started one blog about the irony of ironing in the summertime. You know, it’s hot out, but you’ve got your iron steaming away trying to make your cotton pants looks crisply cool. It’s ironic, right? Anyway, that one fell flat. It was about as funny as a rumpled linen table napkin. I pressed on.

Next, I tried writing about my lifetime of being a “What If?” traveler. I’ve always been a Nervous Nellie about flying, you see, and tend to overcompensate. For example, I pack my carry-on with enough snacks to make three course meals out of protein bars, packages of almonds and cheese-flavored Quaker rice cakes in case I get stuck in a longer-than-planned lay-over. The horrors of flying topic was inspired by a friend who got marooned in Chicago’s O’Hare airport overnight and had to sleep on a cot in Concourse “L.” Her predicament got me thinking about contingencies that I hadn’t even considered up until this point, like, what if the airport restrooms run out of toilet paper? So now, I carry a roll of Charmin. Even this riff didn’t really get me on a roll as far as blog-writing goes.

For a few minutes, I mused on my deficit of leisure time. I referred back to the 1970s, when experts predicted the end of the five-day work week. I came up with a lame joke about someone inventing the leisure suit. It wasn’t that suitable.

Scoffing at Martha Stewart Living magazine brought me no glee, which is disappointing, because it usually brings me such joy.  

I couldn’t even muster much mirth for the “New Bra Episode.” I haven’t bought a proper bra for years due to the mortal dread I feel for those tape-measure-toting, eye-glasses-halfway-down-the-nose-wearing sales persons lurking like evil fairy-tale queens in every department store in the nation, ready to ambush you from behind the flannel nighties, rubbing their hands together, asking in cackling voices, “Do we know what size we’re looking for, dearie?” I’ve been perfectly content in shapeless “As Seen on TV” pull-on numbers that I buy at the Walgreens drug store. But dress-up occasions demand a bit more lift and separate, so I allowed a young thing with a tape measure at an intimate apparel shop to talk me into a monstrous, shape-wear bra designed for the maturing gal’s figure. For me, it was a moment of cheerless resignation. But she chirpily convinced me that it would effectively flatten back bulges, reign in side fat, cinch in cleavage, lift up rogue flab tissue from as far away as my navel, generally pack it all in and thrust it upward for some very impressive contouring. I got it home. I marveled at how huge the darn thing was. The other bras cowered in its presence. It was so big it needed its own dresser drawer. Hell, it needed its own zip code. I showed it to Ken. “What do you think of this, dear?” I asked, trying to be coquettish in a bra the size of a watermelon. “Whoa!” he said, “That thing would fit on the front of the Lexus!” I was laughing too hard to be angry at him.

I took it back to the store. I thought I’d write a blog about bra fittings, beginning with the first, humiliating “training” bra incident when you’re 12 and your mother goes into the fitting room with you and the sales woman with the eye-glasses down her nose shouts at the top of her lungs in Eaton’s lingerie department, “Do you think our young miss might fit a DOUBLE A???” But, as I had just spent all of April and half of May volunteering for our local 5K walk for breast cancer causes, the topic just seemed to be in bad taste.

And so, dear readers, I’m hoping that my two week vacation, which starts on May 31, will be rejuvenating. I won’t write a blog again until after we return. I hope to heck something funny happens. Or I get my blog mojo back.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Empty Nest Syndrome

Kids! Mothers’ Day barely past and already they’ve flown the coop. After all my worrying. And fretting about them getting enough to eat. And doing my best to keep them safe from harm. And what do they do? Take off! Without a single thought! How can they do this to me?

What’s that? You’re asking, “What kids? You don’t have kids, Lesley!”

That’s true.

I’m talking about the Robin triplets. About a month ago their mom built a nest at the top of the ivy that climbs the wall near our front door next to the driveway. I’ve been stressed out ever since she moved in. First I fretted about disturbing her as we went in and out, back and forth. Then I worried about the nest. Was it in a good spot to prevent nasty intruders like Starlings or squirrels? Was it secure enough up there at the top of the vines? What if it toppled? What if the eggs fell out? What if the baby birds fell out –oh, my, that would be terrible! I lined a bushel basket with leaves and placed it under the nest to soften any potential tumbles. I watched every day to see if the orange vees of their beaks were stretching up to gobble worms that their mom brought home. I’d time my trips to the car so that I wouldn’t interrupt her delivery schedule. I had the wild bird rescue place on speed dial.

These sudden outbursts of maternal instinct always catch me by surprise. I spent my reproductive years undersupplied with the requisite nurturing drive, feeling rather ambivalent about motherhood, if not downright fearful. My biological clock didn’t strike the eleventh hour until I was closing in on 40, getting perilously close to peri-menopause. Suffice to say, it just never happened.

But spring has a curious way of awakening those motherly impulses. The “Aw, they’re so cute!” season of baby birds and bunnies turns me into an over-wrought, anxious, surrogate mom to our backyard creatures, great and small.

The Robin trio got bigger by the day. They began to flutter their wings and shove each other to get better access to the worm delivery. They started acting like teenagers demanding the car keys. Their chirps took on sullen tones.

On Sunday, I was about to step out onto the front steps to see if it was safe to run to my car. Before I opened the door, through the sidelight window, I spotted a baby Robin perched on the railing, kind of teetering there trying to find his balance, clinging by his toes. I called Ken to come see, “Look! They’ve started flight training!”

My next thought was, “O.K., now what do I do? What if he falls off that railing? What if he gets stuck there all day and Riley goes out and gobbles him right up? I can’t stand here all day! Where is his mother!?! What was she thinking, letting him out before he’s barely got any feathers? He's only a BABY!!!”

In a flash, the little guy lifted his wings and launched himself high up onto a tree branch. I haven’t seen him or his sibs since. The nest seems so bare.

Times like these, I wonder how you moms out there who are raising human kids do it. I would have been a nervous wreck.