Monday, August 30, 2010

In Which I Learn that I am Slow

We were driving through Boston over the weekend -- right on that stretch of road by the river where there's a paved trail, beautiful grass, and a great view of the city. There were also about a zillion walkers, runners, and bikers. We were stopped at a light and an older runner shuffled and dragged and gasped his way past us. He was tired, out of breath, and, well, not so graceful. Ha! I thought, Ha! At least I'm faster than that guy! Except that I accidentally said it out loud. Like, in front of other people. But thankfully only in front of my husband (who already knows I'm the tiniest bit crazy) and my daughter (who was sleeping). But still. Thinking crazy, selfish, overly competitive thoughts is one thing; Saying them is another.

Demetri, assuming I was talking to him, sort of paused, made a soft humming sound, and said, "Well . . ."

I whipped my head around from the window and the pitifully slow runner to look at the profile of my husband. My husband who was very intently looking at the traffic light. "WHAT?! I'm as slow as that 70 year-old guy? That one right there?" I pointed out the window. We both looked. Mr. 70-year-old-slow-runner-guy was now stopped in the grass bent over, one hand on his knees, one hand clutching his chest.

"Whoa. Is he ok?" Demetri asked*.

"I'm sure he's fine. Stop avoiding the question -- Am I as slow as that guy?" I demanded.

"Well, it's hard for me to tell exactly. We're in a car and everything . . ."

"We're in a car THAT'S NOT MOVING! So . . . so . . . so you're trying to tell me," I slumped back into my seat, "that I am as slow as that guy." And, a part of me knew it was true.

I know, at least on some level, that I am a slow runner. I know that some people can walk faster than I run. Some people can even hula-hoop while walking faster than I run. The Silver Sneakers, the over 70 running club at the Y, has a few members that can take me. But, the thing is, I don't feel slow. When I run, I feel fast. Swift. Nimble. Dare I say, lithe (hi Lisa!). Even after someone passes me, blows by me, crushes me. As soon as they are out of sight (which usually happens pretty quickly) I am back to feeling like an Olympic runner prancing nimbly down the path. And, well, yes, pushing a stroller. But still.

The day after driving through Boston and recognizing myself (by force) in Mr. 70-year-old-slow-runner-guy, Demetri came running with me. This was only the 4th time he's come. And I could tell my pace was painful for him. I encouraged him to run at his own pace and, finally, he agreed. My husband took off and left me and the stroller (with Zoey in it) to prance lithely through the dust behind him**. In no time at all he faded into the early morning green-black smudge of trail and trees far ahead of us.

Part of me, yes, was a little bitter that he has been running FOUR TIMES and already is much, much faster than I am. But most of me was happy that we were all out on the trail at the same time. I was just happy to be running on a summer morning on a shaded trail. I was happy to be the fastest and most graceful runner in sight. And happy that fast is a feeling, much like beautiful is, that can be kept in my head and in my heart.

* Why yes, Demetri is the more caring and kind spouse.
** Please note who has the stroller FOR THE ENTIRE RUN. I am also nice. And very, very modest.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Upon Closer Inspection

We have a contract on a house up here (pause for appreciation and applause) and today is the inspection. Demetri and I are both anxious about this process and we each are imagining catastrophic scenarios. But in different ways. Very very different ways. While I am worrying about structural instability, roof leakage, and/or evil wire-chewing bunnies in the basement (Hi Carla and Josh!), Demetri has . . . other concerns. Mainly, hobos. That's right, hobos. Not tramps, who work only when forced. Not bums, who don't work. But hobos, as in wondering workers*.

Now it's possible (but not probable) that a little background on the house will help explain Demetri's concern. The house backs up to woods -- preservation wetlands. But on the other side of the woods there is a train track. I think it's important to point out that it's a commuter train. But Demetri, apparently, thinks the type of train is irrelevant. He states, "The type of train is irrelevant. Hobos can be on any kind of train. They're probably all living back there in the conservation wetlands. Right behind our house." My response was in 3 parts: 1. Laughter. Whether or not it was in his face is somewhat irrelevant. You know, just like the type of train. 2. Questioning his fear of hobos (based on the idea that hobos don't really exist anymore) and 3. Wondering if we should proceed to buy a house that may or may not abut a blossoming hobo city in the conservation wetlands.

Demetri assured me that he is not afraid of the hobos, per se. He is more worried about them. I jokingly said that I had better not bake a pie and then set it on the windowsill to cool. And . . . Demetri nodded his head in fervent agreement saying, "Yes, it's probably a good thing you don't bake that often." He then added, "If someone comes to the door carrying a stick with a red and white polka dot bag tied on the end, DO NOT ANSWER THE DOOR." Eventually, we came to an agreement that the existence of a hobo community between our house and the commuter rail would be a deal breaker. So . . . we'll see what happens.

But on another note: I knew that one day my lack of baking skills would be seen as a huge asset. I knew it! VICTORY IS MINE!

OMG! Wagon Riding: the gateway mode of transportation to train hopping! Nooooooo!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Good Stuff

With all the crap that's happened in the last few weeks, there was some good stuff. Some funny stuff. Some I-don't-want-to-forget stuff. And here is some of it:

1. This is a picture Zoey drew for me while I was in the hospital. It is, in fact, a picture of me. At the hospital. Distended belly? Check! Scar from surgery? Check! Belly button? Check! It's surprising with all that attention to detail that I have only one arm and no hair. Especially since a certain hot husband with a fine ass and a degree in art helped with the rendering. Boomer, our now deceased cat, and Zoey are also pictured.

2. When I went to the first ER Zoey came with me. Once we had secured ourselves a room, I was told to change into a hospital gown. After I put it on, Zoey looked up at me, gasped, and I swear she did the thing where she holds both her hands up in the shape of a square like a picture, "Oh Mommy! You look goooooood! You pretty! Pay for that dress with the monies!" That's right people, I rock a hospital gown.

3. On the day after the first ER, I lay on the couch most of the day. Zoey kept coming over and tucking my feet in the blanket. She would pat my feet with both of her hands and solemnly say, "You OK Mommy. You OK now." And I ask you, what is more comforting than having someone pat your feet and tell you that you are OK?

4. In the second ER, we were in a room that had a glass patio-like slider door that separated us from the chaos of the hallway. Zoey would peer out the glass and whenever she saw anyone wearing white or wearing scrubs she would screech, "HERE COME THE DOCTORS! H-I-I-IDE!" My sentiments exactly.

Monday, August 2, 2010


So . . . it's been a while. And, man oh man, do I have some good excuses. I was at the ER 3 times in one week. The first time so they could put me through painful and humiliating tests and then fail to diagnosis my apendicitis. The second time was for more humiliating tests and a correct diagnosis of apendicitis . . . and then a 5 day stay in the hospital. (Side note: after my suregery, because the first ER and then my surgeon messed up, I couldn't/can't pee on my own. And let me tell you -- there's nothing that makes a girl feel sexy and confident like a warm bag of your own pee strapped to your leg!) THEN I was back at the ER the day after I got out of the hospital because I couldn't breathe. THEN our car broke. THEN the house we are trying to sell broke (while people were looking at it) -- the AC went out, the downstairs toilet leaked all over the hardwood floors, and the fire alarm was beeping. And then over the weekend our cat got hit and killed by a car.

If any one or two of these things had happened in isolation it would be manageable. Doable. It would be life being life. But all these things at once is a bit much. I know there are people out there in the world - in this country, town, and block - that are experiencing much worse things. Terrible, horrible, inhumane, unimaginable things. And yet . . . I still feel beat up. I feel scared. I feel like something is going to jump out and get me.

While driving, I am certain each and every car is going to hit us. While walking down the block I'm sure I'm going to get side swiped by a truck. Or stung by a bee. At the grocery store the lady in the produce isle in the red tank top with a sequenced cat on it is looking at me funny. I think that she and her sequenced cat are going to push me down and steal my cheese and tomatoes. Somehow it is not reassuring to me that this actually does not happen. On Sunday we took Zoey to a farm to see the animals. I was convinced that the yellow-eyed goat was going to paw at the ground, let lose with a foamy snarl from his mouth, and chew through the fence to attack me with rabid, spiky teeth. Now, as far as I know, goats don't generally have spikey teeth. Or rabies. Or even exceedingly violent outbursts. And yet . . .

The world just seems to be a dangerous place right now. More so than usual. For now, I'm holding on and going through the motions. For now, I am lucky to have people that love me when I'm a little bit crazy and a little bit scared. And when I have a sexy bag of pee strapped to my leg.