Saturday, January 21, 2017

Oversharing in the Post Menopausal Years

Somebody slap me, please, if you ever hear me talking out loud in public about medical issues. I turned 64 this week. And, I am all too aware that health problems are more and more inevitable as we get older, but WORSE I fear, is the sudden urge to TALK about it!

You've overheard those conversations, haven't you? Old people at the next table in your favorite coffee shop sharing squirm-worthy episodes about their "tests" and hideous details about their surgeries. I've heard about spine-chilling conditions of the "OMG! THAT can't actually happen to a person, can it??" category this way. (Too much information, people!! I don't want to hear you! La la la la la la la la la la!!) It's enough to put you off your lunch or latte!

So, I wonder, is this an affliction that jumps up to bite you the day they issue your seniors' bus pass? One day you're a reasonably erudite, middle-aged adult discussing pilates and politics, and then, POOF! before you can say, "bunion," you've turned into a wrinkly sexagenarian sitting in a Starbucks recounting graphic tales of digestion gone horribly wrong with a bunch of other "tsk, tsking," aging baby-boomers anxious to relate their own stomach-churning tales of ghastly disorders and revolting ailments. Please don't let me be one of them!

Let's you and I make a pact today. Let's agree on the following: categorically off limits for conversation over croissants and coffee is anything that is, in-growing, out-growing, sinking, sagging, protruding, leaking, plugged-up, sticking out, impinging upon, or otherwise causing inflammation, irritation, reflux, gastric discomfort, bronchial distress, urinary urgency, bilious eruptions, or internal hemorrhage.

I am totally okay with getting back to euphemisms like, "female issues," and, "tummy troubles," preferably without the hand gestures to indicate those regions of the anatomy to which we refer. Let's just make do with, "down there," and "you know."

And so, I implore you, dear friends — as I am now knocking on the door of full senior citizenship, please do alert me about any overloud oversharing. I have a full schedule coming up with my annual mammogram, a colonoscopy, an MRI on my knee, and a biopsy on the thing that isn't disappearing on my nose. Welcome to 64.

Want to go get coffee? I can tell you ALL about it!

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Box in the Basement or How I Learned to Love the New Paranoia

Not that I'm paranoid or anything, BUT…well, let me put that another way. I WASN'T paranoid or anything. Until yesterday. Okay, maybe I was a wee bit paranoid before that, but now I am CONVINCED the house is bugged.

I used to think our phone was tapped. That was back in 1999 when we first moved to the US. Odd clicks and funny pauses made me wonder if someone was listening in. It sounded like we were living in a rural area in 1952 with an operator "patching us in" on a "party line." It wouldn't have surprised me if we were being monitored seeing as how we were recent immigrants to the country. But I decided not to worry about it. Security agents would have eventually been bored to tears by conversations with my mother, "How cold is it there today, mom?" I SAID, "HOW COOOOLD IS IT TODAAAAYY, MOTHER?" 

When a news story came out recently about how someone could be spying on us through  computer cameras, I put some duct tape over the lens on my laptop. Nobody try to FaceTime with me — the glue on the tape seems to be permanently fixed now and I can't pry it off. Maybe if I used Goo Gone. "Please hold! I need to de-grease my camera lens." But again, if there is someone spying through computer portals, who wouldn't fall over in a dead sleep watching me write emails, check Facebook, bite my nails, and compose my blog? It's not as if I'm naked doing any of it and who would want to watch THAT for long anyway? "Hey, Ron!" (Ron being the cyber hacker supervisor) "C'mere! I got another 64 year old sexting her husband!" Please.

There is a new threat to our privacy, however, and it came into the house yesterday. It is a box located above my washing machine in the basement. A guy came to the door around midday with a large tool bag in his hand. He said he was from "the City" — and looking at the truck he drove, yes, it had the City of Oakwood insignia on the door. He had a clip board with some official looking forms on it. His jacket bore the Oakwood city crest. 

"I'm here to install," here's where he lost me, "a something-something-something box above your water meter. We're upgrading the old ones in the whole neighborhood. We replaced them all last year, except it seems we missed your house. Says here," glancing at his papers, "you need a new one."

"Oh?" I was sort of curious about this box, whatever it was, but I was pre-occupied by keeping Riley from running out the gate that the guy left open. I let the guy in and closed the front door. Well, should be alright -- he looked like he was an official from the city, didn't he? Riley had his head stuffed into the tool bag ("Is this the postman, Mom? Does he have a cookie in there?") as I showed the guy to the basement. He got out his flashlight. 

"It should be somewhere close to your water meter and shut off valve."

"Uh, not sure where those are," I said. ("Honestly, Lesley, you would be hopeless in an emergency!" I never miss an opportunity to berate myself.) 

"Well, here's your meter" he called out, cheerily, walking toward the washer and drier. "And, there's the box!" He pointed his flashlight at a small, plastic box mounted up in the rafters that had some wires coming out of it.

"Huh," I said, "Never noticed that before." I really hadn't.

"That's what I need to update!" and he set to work.

I stuck around downstairs, putting Christmas decorations away. Riley supervised the work, still convinced there might be something pertinent in the tool bag. The guy was nice about it, "Good doggy. Good doggy." The man was gone again within minutes.

When the Mr got home, I told him about the visit from the city worker and the new box in the basement.

"What kind of box? the Mr wanted to know.

"Not sure," I said, "The city guy just said we needed one. An upgrade."

"You didn't ask what it was for?"

"What difference would that have made? You know I don't retain information like that anyway."

"Great. For all we know, now the CIA is listening to us."

"Oh, I doubt it! The guy said everyone had a new box installed, but we got missed."

"Right. You didn't see him go to anyone else's house. Did you?"

"He was in a City truck with a city crest on the door!"

"Like it wouldn't be easy to get one of those magnet crests to put on your truck? Have you watched no movies ever? Let's go look at this box."

We went downstairs to check it out. It looked exactly like the old one.

"That's where the bug is!" the Mr said. He grabbed me and started tickling. 

"Oh, stop! There's NO bug! Really? Do you think?"

"That just let's them read the water meter from outside the house. And listen to our conversations." 

We headed back up stairs, and called back at the box, really loud," WE THINK THE PRESIDENT ELECT IS A GREAT GUY." You know, just in case.

I told myself not to worry. But I woke up at 4 am and broke into a panic. "Good grief," I thought, "What if we ARE bugged? Or what if the city guy was actually a burglar? With a gang? And now he knows our house layout! And he knows Riley won't bite him! What a sec! He had an accent! What if it was — The Russians?!?" 

I didn't get back to sleep. Would you? See, I'm not the only one who's paranoid!