Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Early Alzheimer's?

This past Spring I drove by the most beautiful purple irises I had seen in a number of years. They were tall, full and a really deep purple. They definitely brought back memories.

I strongly remember that there were a bunch of extremely beautiful purple irises in front of my grandparents' house on the south shore of Lake Erie. I always wondered about them because no one ever used the front door, they weren't visible from inside the house, and my grandma didn't seem overly concerned about landscaping, though I remember Dad planting a few rose bushes in the back she could see from the window.

Some of my favorite memories revolve around this house, this land and Lake Erie. Growing up we spent a lot of time up there fishing and swimming.

So I told my sister about the irises and how much they brought back memories. She said, "What irises?" Even after describing them, she had no idea what I was talking about.

Since my aunt had lived in that house for a number of years, I decided to ask her about the purple flowers. She said there were no irises at the house.

Now I have got to wonder -- why on Earth do I think there were irises? If they weren't at Grandma's house, where were they? What other things do I think I remember but never happened?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Land Shark!

At a recent baseball game, one of the moms told me a story about feeling old.

At work that day she had to interrupt a closed-door meeting. She knocked on the door and someone from inside asked "Who's there?"

She replied, "Land Shark!"

There was no reply from the other side of the door.

She felt pretty foolish, even though someone walking by chuckled.

For those of you who need an explanation, the Land Shark was a reoccurring skit on Saturday Night Live (back when it was funny) which was introduced in 1975.
... the Land Shark is considered the cleverest of all sharks. Unlike the great white shark, which tends to inhabit the waters and harbors of recreational beach areas, the Land Shark may strike at any place, any time. It is capable of disguising its voice, and generally preys on young, single women.
Yeah, when NO ONE in a group has ever heard of a Land Shark, I think you are approaching old.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going 50 mph at (Nearly) 50

On a recent long-weekend trip, my husband and kids thought it would be great if we would try a local zip line. In theory, this sounded like fun, but in the back of my mind, I kept expecting something to prevent it from happening. (Too costly, too life threatening, it was broken down...)

So it was with mixed emotions that I returned to the car from checking on prices to tell everyone it was within our price range. When the three of them got all excited, I decided I would do it too. It's not every day I'm offered the opportunity to ride a zip line, why not try it!

Though a little nervous, I was feeling absolutely fine until we rode the glass elevator to the top of the tower. The higher we went, the harder my heart pounded. As we stepped off the elevator and looked out the observation windows I started having a panic attack. "I can't do this!" I gasped. The looks on their faces started out as surprise. I think they were all thinking something like "What do you mean you can't do this simple thing?" Slowly, two of the faces turned to concern. They all gave me a few minutes to get used to the idea, I watched a couple of people go before us and I started to relax.

Finally it dawned on me -- how would I feel if I walked away? How would I ever look myself in the mirror if I didn't take this opportunity? And finally, I'm turning 50 this year -- I need to do things I have never done before.

After that, I was doing fine waiting. Actually, I was doing fine until I physically got into the chair hanging from the zip line at the launch site. Each hanging chair sits behind a metal gate. It was good they had the gate because it limited my view of the 230-foot drop before me. Again my heart started pounding so hard, I thought I would have a heart attack. But once I was belted in, there was no way I could back out.

The gate opened, I went out over nothing and had a split second of panic. I screamed once and then I was fine! I even released the death grip I had on the straps and put my arms out to my sides.

For about 70% of the ride, I was in the lead. Our daughter started to catch me, then slowly fell behind. Then suddenly our son passed me and he won. My hubby was last the entire way. By the way, when they say an "abrupt" stop, they are not understating the event. When you get to the end, you stop!

It was an absolute blast! That half mile at 50 mph went by so fast!

My legs were rubbery at the end, but I would love to do it again. I see a canopy tour in my near future!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Dog is Gone

I've been debating for a couple of weeks about what to do with the old blind poodle that I inherited from my mom when she died three years ago. The dog's cataracts were severe, her dementia had progressed pretty quickly over the last few months, and she was basically no longer house broken. And she smelled bad no matter how many baths I gave her.

Despite that, she could hear -- she just chose to ignore everyone. And she was pretty mobile. She would walk around in a little circle in the middle of the backyard for as long as I would let her. (Though it was sad because she was confused, it looked pretty funny. I felt guilty for laughing and I never left her out there for more than a few minutes.)

So this past weekend we had a couple of people over. My sister walked into the kitchen, took one look at the dog sleeping in her crate and said, "Oh! It is time!" A friend who recently had to have her own beloved pup put down agreed. I didn't even have to ask. Whew!

I made an appointment at the vet for 5 this evening. It didn't need to be today, but once I made the decision I just wanted to get it over with before I chickened out.

By the time I got her to the vet, the bath I had given her this morning had worn off, and she was smelly again. She looked horrible -- she looked scraggily and uncared for. I felt terrible!

Of course, the "mean" vet who has yelled at me (undeservedly) in the past had to be the doctor who walked in the room. When I said we just needed for her to be put down, he immediately agreed with our decision. He said it would be fast and it was. In a few seconds, it was over.

Here is why this feels weird. Though we had her for three years, this dog didn't really bond with anyone. She loved my mom so much, and my mom spoiled her so bad, she had a hard time adjusting to being treated like a dog. At our house she was not held constantly and she had to eat -- dog food. She slept in the kitchen in her own bed, like the other dogs. Because of this lack of bonding, I never felt that she was our dog -- she was my mom's dog. That gave taking care of the little animal a different feel. Though we all cared for her and wanted the best for her, we didn't have the love for her we have for our own dogs -- it was more of an obligation. And making a life or death decision for an animal who you feel is not yours is in some ways much harder. Was I making the decision for the right reasons? Was it best for her? And in an odd way, I was losing that last final connection with my mom.

Luckily I was offered some unbiased opinions that helped me make the right decision. I'm confident the guilt will pass.

Side note: When my mom rescued this dog from a puppy mill -- the little dog had been forced to have way too many litters of puppies -- mom asked if we wanted her. I said no. She tried and tried to push the little poodle on me and I said no. I told her, I don't want a dog that takes that much grooming and extra care. I prefer dogs that don't need haircuts.

So years later, after the dog got old, I still ended up with her.

Another side note: Sometimes I get really ticked off when I ask a direct question and someone (who shall remain nameless) refuses to give me an answer. A couple of weeks ago I asked directly if it was time, and he said it was up to me. Of course I read that to mean it must not be time or else he would have said so. No, he just wanted it to be my decision. Well, I obviously needed help or I wouldn't have asked! (Some men are so aggravating.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How did you get to be so old?

My three-year-old cute-as-a-button niece walked up to my good friend Scotty and asked innocently, "How did you get to be so old?" Scotty's jaw dropped. Once he recovered, he just did not know what to say.

The thing is, Scotty is my age -- he will be turning 50 just three months before I do! Though he has more gray hair than some (my lack of gray is thanks to my hair guy), he doesn't really look old. But then again, I'm not three.

After the little cutie bounced off, and we finished laughing, my sister-in-law explained. Lately the little girl has been asking to do things, and her mom's response has been "when you get older." She just wanted to know how to get there.

Well, cutie, it just takes time.