06 May 2011

Getting Older is a Bitch; But That Depends...

Getting Older is a Bitch;
But That Depends

            One year left in my twenties and all I have to show for it is an angry, abused liver and a muffin top.  There were so many things I had planned for myself and haven't yet accomplished.  Good thing I don't take myself or life too seriously otherwise I'd have to be on anti-depressants and have a suicide hotline programmed on speed dial because I literally have not accomplished anything in my twenty-nine years on this planet.
            I wanted to travel the world and see places like Greece, Australia, Hawaii, and North Dakota.  The furthest I've gone is Ireland and Canada not counting the twelve United States I have visited.  I haven't even been to Mexico, although I have taken that destination off my list for now.  Apparently, American tourists are targets for violent crimes there.  I wonder why that is?  What's wrong with Americans?
            My number one goal in life has always been to be a published author, sitting pretty in the #1 spot on the NY Times Bestseller List.  The only list I'm on is my ex- fiancé's hit list (I broke off our engagement four days before our wedding; can you blame the guy?) and possibly the No Fly list at the airport.  I can be a bit loud and obnoxious in public, and some might find that threatening. 
            Of course I could always self publish my book, but that's about as fulfilling as self-medicating or masturbating.  Nothing beats prescription drugs and sex.  Even better when you combine the two.
            I also thought if I weren't a published author by now that I'd at least have a sweet, good-paying job doing something I love.  Like being a crossword puzzle writer, a sandwich shop owner, or a video game tester.  That also hasn't happened yet.  I do crosswords, write, eat sandwiches, and play Wii, I just don't get paid for it.
            I guess I shouldn't be complaining though; turning 30 soon really isn't the end of the world. I could be dead, or worse, in my 40's.  At least I don't have gray hair or an AARP membership just yet.  I haven't resigned myself to wearing turtlenecks, sweaters with sparrows sewn on them, or watching PBS.  I haven't taken up bird watching or crocheting as hobbies, nor do I belong to a bridge club. My smile lines are still under control (no need for botox yet) and my boobs are still perky.  At least some things are still looking up for me!
            Lately I've noticed I don't recuperate as quickly as I used to after a night out drinking.  Back in my early twenties, I could go on a twenty-eight day drinking binge (coincidentally the same amount of time as a stint in rehab) and never felt hungover!  Now if we go out for a few drinks on a Thursday night, I'm a tank ass at work Friday, sluggish Saturday, and just exhausted on Sunday.  And Mondays suck no matter what, so really I'm not quite 100% until Tuesday! 
            It could be that I'm not much in shape or that I'm just getting old, but man alive does it take me a long time to get off the floor after I've been on my knees (insert sexual innuendo here).  My joints ache frequently, and I have this bulging disc in my back that bulges at inconvenient times.  Like when I'm trying to sleep or just relax and watch TV!  The only time my bulging disc doesn't give me attitude is when I exercise, but again, I'm not exactly sure what that word even means.
            The most significant sign of aging I've noticed is my lack of bladder control.  Or bladder size.  I think my bladder used to be the size of a cantaloupe, but now it's the size of a cantaloupe seed!  I pee about 100 times per day, no matter how much water I drink.  If I don't pee right before I go to bed, there's a slight chance I will pee the bed.  That happened once in college, but luckily hadn't happened since.
            Until recently when I discovered my bladder cannot control itself when I'm unconscious.  Sober or drunk.
            It was a Tuesday night (I remember because we had gone out for drinks the previous Thursday and couldn't recuperate until that Tuesday) and after watching Biggest Loser, Emily and I headed to bed.  Even though I knew it was dangerous, I had three glasses of water before bed.  Hey, I get thirsty watching those contestants working those treadmills!
            That night, I had the most beautiful, scenic dreams.  I dreamt that we were at Niagara Falls and I was swimming and frolicking in the waterfalls.  I was with a bunch of faceless friends (I read somewhere people in dreams are just a reflection of yourself and therefore, they are faceless) and I kept telling them I had to pee.  My bladder was throbbing like a thumb that had just been slammed in a car door and I was seeing stars.  They urged me to pop a squat, saying "C'mon KC! You do it all the time anyway!" 
            That was true.  I do pee outside all the time.  I'm a Midwestern tomgal; "up nort", we're not afraid to pee outside in mud, snow, rain, or in an alley leaning against a dumpster or even in someone's backyard.
            Then the scene suddenly shifted to the most beautiful toilet, positioned adjacent to a babbling brook.  The toilet was made of gold and it called my name, urging me to sit on it.  I didn't even think it odd that a golden toilet was next to a body of water.  Maybe that's because there's this restaurant called Le Tub in Hollywood, Florida, located on the Intracoastal Waterway, and they have toilets and tubs (used as pots for plants and trees) decorating the exterior of the restaurant.
            In my dream, I followed the commands of the golden toilet and took a seat upon the throne.  As soon as my ass hit the golden seat, a stream of gold was released from my body.  Ahhhhhh...sweet release.  It was the most amazing feeling in the entire world.  Then suddenly, the toilet disappeared and my dreams slowly merged with reality and I was lying in my bed, staring up at the ceiling fan. 
            Soaking wet.
            Every other time I dream about urinating, my body forces me awake so I don't pee the bed like an eight year old who still uses plastic sheets on his bed.  But that night my brain and body both failed me. 
            I lifted my butt off the mattress and felt below my ass and there it was.  A puddle of pee.  Scratch that.  It was a goddamn lake of pee! I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 4am.  Emily was sleeping peacefully beside me, unaware of Lake KC that had just formed in our bed. 
            I ran to the bathroom to finish the job and it sounded like Adam Sandler's Longest Pee skit.  Even my cat got bored with the unexpected early morning excitement and fell asleep at my feet. 
            I faced a difficult decision.  Should I wake up Emily at 4am and tell her we have to change the sheets because I peed the bed?  Or do I use the extra large beach towels in the closet to sop up the mess and hope it dries in three hours when we have to get up for work?
            Beach towels.  Clearly the obvious choice.
            I grabbed the beach towels from the closet, trying to make as little noise as possible.  I put one under the fitted sheet and one on top.  I slept like a rock (from the bottom of that babbling brook) for the next few hours and woke up thinking that had all been a dream.
            Until I realized I was sleeping on beach towels, not sheets.  When I got out of bed, I removed the towels and put them in the laundry basket.  They had done their job beautifully and soaked up Lake KC to the point my sheets were dry!
            Second difficult decision.  Do I tell Emily what happened when she wakes up and wash the sheets right away? Or do I pretend like nothing happened and wash the sheets after work?
            I did a mixture of both.  I got ready for work, left the house, and I failed to mention I had lost all bladder control that night.  When I got to work, I was dying to tell someone I peed the bed.  If I were going to tell anyone, I knew it had to be Emily.  She was out walking a dog and I knew she would be home late morning before going to her real job (social worker real job; dog walker second job).
            "Hey hons.  When you get home, do me a favor and wash the sheets. K?" I texted her.
            "Just do it. Please?"
            She wasn't going to let me off the hook.
            "I peed the bed."
            "Laugh it up."           
            "Do you want me to pick up Depends on my way home too?" she added.
            I was hoping I wouldn't have to wear Depends until my late 80's, but I guess lack of bladder control came 50 years early.
            One of the reasons I love Emily is that although she teased me relentlessly, cracking jokes about bed wetting ("Remember that time you peed the bed? As an adult?") and asking me if I should wear Depends to bed, she did offer to pay for a Detrol LA prescription and even printed out paperwork for an AARP membership.  Quite a gal if you ask me.
            For a few months after this incident, Emily was also the Pee Police.  She would force me to try and pee, even if I didn't have to go.  I remember my mom saying the same thing when I was younger and I couldn't believe this was my new bedtime ritual.  I might as well be in a nursing home with a bedpan catching my pee dribble.
            I was so scared to drink anything before bed.  I was even scared to rinse my mouth out with water after brushing my teeth because I might swallow some.  I would have a hernia trying to squeeze every last drop of pee out of my bladder before heading to bed.  No matter.  I still sometimes had a full bladder at night.  The dreams about peeing in a babbling brook still came, but since then, my body hasn't failed me.
            I've gotten a bit more relaxed about my water before bed restrictions.  I still tempt fate by drinking a cup of tea or an ice-cold glass of water before bed.  I still bring a bottle of water to bed in case I get thirsty at night.  Sometimes I have phenomenal sex dreams and I get parched.
            Even though I sometimes feel old, I know I'm not.  Getting older is a bitch, but it depends on the way you look at it.  I'm so excited about my last year in my twenties but I'm ready to say goodbye to them and welcome the 30's with open arms and plastic sheets. 
            Although I haven't set any unrealistic goals for myself, I have high hopes that this book will be published and someday I will be on that Bestseller list, that I will get to travel to exotic places, and finally learn the definition of "exercise".
            If I live to see 30 I will have accomplished at least that. For my birthday that year, I plan on either taking an Alaskan cruise, flying to the land down under, or at the very least, getting the F out of Florida.
            Hopefully I won't have to pack an extra suitcase just for my Depends.

05 May 2011

You Can Take The Tomgal Out of The Midwest, But You Still Can't Bring Her to South Beach

           It’s true what they say—you can take the girl out of the trailer park, but you can’t take the trailer park out of the girl.  I think there’s a white trash joke here somewhere, but I’m not smart enough to think of one. I’m from the Midwest yo!
            In my case, you can take the tomgal out of the Midwest, but you can never take the Midwest out of the tomgal.  That's right; I'm a tomgal, not a tomboy.  I'm not manly enough to be considered a tomboy, but I'm definitely far from feminine, hence the tomgal.  Either way, neither sex wants me on their team, so I'm happy being somewhere right in the middle as a tomgal.
            I moved to South Florida from Wisconsin three years ago, and to this day, there is nothing about me that screams South Beach or Florida, unless you consider my nearly empty wallet and odd tan lines.  I’m not even sure I’d be welcome in South Beach.  After all, I wear jeans and t-shirts and drive a Saturn.  I don't know my Louis Vuitton from my LA Gear and for the longest time I thought Gucci was either a French dessert or a Caribbean fruit.
            I’m damn proud of where I come from and refuse to conform to the plastic and rich lifestyles people lead here.  Or on the other end of the spectrum, I refuse to become a heroin addict and make a cameo appearance on Policewomen of Broward County. Now that is a quality show.
            Everyone (especially Southerners) all claim they’re special, simply because of where they come from.  Well, the same can be said for Midwesterners.  We are a special group of simple-minded people who lead simple lives.  Midwesterners are smarter than Canadians but sometimes dumber than the cast of Jersey Shore.  Ironically, most people in the Midwest can’t even get cable or satellite at their house to even understand this reference.
            The Midwest is full of small towns that aren’t even considered towns.  Sure, we have cities like Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis, but if you don’t live in an unincorporated area, then you live in a college town, or at least a town near a college town.  If you want to see a concert, go to a fancy restaurant, or see normal people, it’s at least an hour’s drive.
            Growing up in Rhinelander (home of the Hodag; Google it), a small town I’m not even sure is on the map of Wisconsin, I was spoiled into thinking everyone in the world was nice, friendly, and simple.  My town is like Cheers; everyone knows everyone.  Gossip travels faster there than Malaria travels in Africa.  For years I was convinced Kmart was practically like Macy’s and Burger King had the best burgers in the world.  The most exciting time of the year was the 4th of July parade where two fire trucks, an ambulance, and the local 4H float would cruise down Brown Street in a matter of minutes and the fireworks later that night lasted for thirty-six seconds.
            We even have a special neighborhood in Rhinelander called “Divorce City” where all the single pregnant/young moms live out their twenties surviving on welfare and the paychecks of the summer carnival workers.  I have a cousin who lives there and she’s a damn proud Divorce City-zen.  As long as the rest of you Wisconsinites keep working, she doesn’t have to.  Sweet deal if you ask me.
            The summer I turned 18, I moved to Oshkosh and spend the next five years and over $30k in student loans reading, writing papers and studying (read: pretending to be a student while partying heavily) to only learn one thing: everyone is a drunk (myself included). Then I move to SoFlo and realize everyone is an asshole (again, myself included).  Although my partner Emily and I do love living a mile from the ocean (that’s right folks; 1 mile) and having our choice of food, arts, entertainment, and strip clubs at our fingertips, it’s just not the same as the Midwest.  It’s just not home.
            Back in the Midwest, parties take place in a field or in someone’s basement, not in an overpriced club on the beach where there is a plethora of fake tits and Extacy tablets available for sale.  Grocery bills are a fraction of the cost, as are speeding tickets.  Licensed Midwest drivers aren’t afraid of driving 65 MPH through eighteen inches of snow on icy covered roads. Florida drivers (with or without said licenses) are afraid of a few raindrops and slam on the brakes the minute they detect moisture in the air.  Bitch, please.
            Midwesterners aren’t afraid to kill a hog, throw it on the grill, and have a pig roast to celebrate a wedding, divorce, or just for shits and giggles.  In Florida where the Jewish population reigns supreme, pigs are not considered Kosher because they do not have cloven hooves, or some dumb shit like that.  Every time I sink my teeth into a baby back half rack, I count the days until Yom Kippur so I can atone for my sins.  And I’m not even Jewish!
            Here in SoFlo, there is an obvious difference between the male and female sexes.  Most women have fake tits and rock hard tan bodies.  Men have the exact same, minus the tits, unless they’re gay men and have peck implants. 
            The genders of us Midwesterners can easily be mistaken.  Both sexes wear plaid flannel shirts, Carhart clothing (that shit is warm!), and official NFL gear and/or Nascar gear.  And that’s only during the winter! The only time you can tell the difference between a redneck man and a redneck woman is during the summer simply by looking at the length of Jorts (jean shorts) worn by both sexes.  Men’s Jorts are shorter and if you look close enough, you might even see a ball.  Or two.
            Women in Florida drive cars most consider cute, like a Smart car or a VW Bug, cars I think you have to be mentally handicapped to even step foot in, profoundly mentally retarded to own and drive.  These women carry Coach purses and wear Manolo Blahnik heels; Midwestern women don’t need purses.  That’s what pickup trucks and Carhart jackets are for.  We wear steel-toed boots and sporty sandals. 
            Florida men drive BMWs and Bentleys and are more boring than mortgage brokers and teachers. They also think their sexy, sleek cars will make up for what they lack in personality. Or what they lack under the hood, if you catch my driftwood. Midwestern men drive tractors (and yes, we do think they’re sexy) and have trucks bigger than most of the houses in Florida.
            In the Midwest (and the South), the streets and the three major highways are clogged with pickup trucks and actual smart cars like the Ford Taurus or Chevy Malibu.  Those cars can handle the two seasons in the Midwest—winter and road construction.  Pretty sure if anyone in my hometown drove a Smart car, they would be shot with a hunting rifle, tagged and brought to the DNR.  Or killed and thrown on a roaster like those poor pigs.
            There’s just no comparing Florida to the Midwest.  Sure, the weather is nicer (only in the winter; in the summer I sweat more than a hooker in a Catholic church) but the people are rude, everything is expensive, but it’s like comparing ground turkey to ground beef.  It simply cannot be done.  
            I will always be a Midwest gal (er, I mean, tomgal) even if I don’t live there currently.  Midwest gals are just as tough as the guys.  We don’t flinch when we need to use jumper cables in the winter or apply Deet immediately after showering in the summer.  We can chop wood, kill deer, throw a mean right hook, and almost all of us are professional hoers.  The only thing SoFlo women can claim is being professional whores. The words sound the same, but they are so not.
            Living in SoFlo has been an amazing, eye opening experience.  When I mention the word “cheese”, people around me gain three pounds.  I gain ten.  When I say the word “Minnesota”, people mimic my accent and let the long “O” sound in “sota” go on for an hour. I learned quickly the only thing $20 will buy you at a bar is shitty valet service or worse, self parking in a parking garage for a measly three hours.  When I say hello to the cashiers in the grocery store, they damn near stroke out in complete shock that I’m friendly.  And I’m not even that friendly; in fact, I’m an asshole who happens to be from the Midwest where other people are friendly.  It’s just in my blood.
            It is, however, possible to compare Midwesterners to Southerners because we are basically the same, just without the annoying accents and just a smidgeon classier.  I’ve been to the South several times and enjoyed it long enough for me to have credibility in my comparison.  The Midwest is still better, y'all.
            We Midwesterners are about as redneck as you can get without crossing the Mason-Dixon line.  We say you guys, not y’all.  We say ask, not aks.  We prefer baked chicken over fried; green beans over collard greens.  We drink beer, not Jack Daniels.  We eat Walleye instead of crawfish.  We have fish fries, not clam bakes. We eat corn, not peaches.  We add cheese to everything the same way Southerners add BBQ sauce.  We eat oatmeal; not grits.
            I love everything about the Midwest as a region, but everyone knows there’s no better state in the country than the state of Wisconsin.  The Badgers aren’t just a football team; they are also cute woodland creatures found in almost everyone’s backyard.  We buy our entire list of Christmas presents at Fleet Farm.              
            We know a brat is something you eat and a name you call every single one of your children.  Or other people's children. We have more miles on our snow blowers and snowmobiles than our cars.  We have accepted the fact that we can use the heat and A/C in the same day and have gotten frostbite and sunburn in the same weekend.  We’ve all seen a Hodag (haven’t Googled it yet? you really should) and we can identify the difference between an Illinois and Michigan accent.
            And most importantly, we know our ABC’s and have a full set of teeth (per person, not per family).
            Oh yes I did!

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