Monthly Archives: October 2013

Who hasn’t broken a toe?

clumsyYou know you’ve reached some upper level of clutz-ness when you don’t realize that some things just aren’t normal.

To be fair, I know I’m a clutz – I always have been. It’s what happens when you grow too tall too fast, and your momentum can’t keep up with the size. At my tallest (at 46 I’ve noticed I’m starting to shrink a bit – or “settle,” as my Great Aunt Bev would say) I was an even 6’0″ – and I hit that at age 12. My feet grew pretty quickly, too – from the time I was 5 to the time I was 12 my age and my shoe size were the same number. I used to worry as a child what my feet would look like when I turned 30.

When I was a teenager my mom thought she could help by sending me to modeling classes. I could re-learn how to walk, she thought, and pick up some other tips along the way. It worked, sort of. I did learn to walk with my head up, shoulders back, and with confidence. I learned to appreciate the natural look rather than the over-makeup’ed look. And I got to do a few runway shows and photo shoots.

But I still ran into things. I still fell. I still got bruises and scratches and cuts and scrapes.

I was still me.

Which brings me to this week, and my discovery that some things I thought were normal just … aren’t.

Things like broken toes.

I broke my pinky toe Friday night. It wasn’t the first time, so I didn’t think too much of it. I mean, it hurt – a lot – but there’s really nothing you can do for a broken pinky toe other than tape it up and let it heal on its own. So that’s what I did.

Before you jump to conclusions – you know who you are – I was completely sober. OK, I had one beer with dinner, but that was a few hours earlier. I was changing into my pajamas and was uber tired and you know when you get so darned tired and you just can’t get your foot out of your yoga pants (OK, maybe those of you with normal-sized feet don’t have this problem) and the more it won’t come out the more frustrated you get, so you just shake it harder and harder, and it keeps not coming out? Finally I’m shaking and kicking really hard and I kick my bed – and my pinky toe got stuck between the box springs and the bed frame. The toe instantly turned several shades of pink, red and purple, swelled to double the size and hurt. like. hell.

I cried and yelled and laughed and cried and my daughter, who was home from college, came running in to see what happened. When I showed her my toe she stopped, looked at it, and simply said, “Again?”

So, yeah. This wasn’t the first time.

And I thought everybody broke their little toes. My now-ex-husband did it a few times, once shortly after we were married when he was trying to lift the garage door at the old farmhouse we rented, and it was frozen to the ground. He thought – wrongly – that getting mad and kicking it would solve the problem. The door didn’t budge, but his toe swelled and turned all sorts of great holiday colors.

My brother has had broken pinky toes. Both of my parents have, at various times, had broken pinky toes. It’s just a thing. It happens. The little toes are tiny, they’re fragile. And they’re down on the ground where anything can happen to them.

Because I’d broken my toe so many times before, I was actually getting around pretty well by Saturday night and Sunday, and started getting ready for work on Monday morning. Then, in the shower, I went to put my foot up on the ledge so I could shave my leg, and – you guessed it – I slammed that toe right into the tub wall.

I collapsed. I cried – no laughter this time, just tears. The dogs came running in – I swear they looked at my toe and thought, “Again?” and left – and I sent a note to work letting them know I was incapacitated and would be working from home.

The next day my concerned coworkers asked about my foot. I started to explain and I said, “You know, it’s a broken toe. It happens all the time!”

They all just looked at me. Then at each other. Then back at me.

Apparently none of them have ever broken a toe. So I went about on a mission to see who around me had never broken a toe. I couldn’t find anyone all day who had ever broken a toe.

I could have sworn it was normal.


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Thou Shalt Not Be Late to the Doctor’s Office

ImpatienceIt’s no secret in my family, or with my friends, or with anyone with whom I’ve ever had an appointment that I have a chronic problem with being on time. Most of the time it’s just a few minutes, but there have been occasions – and I’m not particularly proud of them – where I’ve been a half-hour late or better.

Don’t get me wrong, I typically call well in advance of the 30-minute mark passing by – but that does little to quell the frustration of someone who wanted two drinks instead of one before a show, or who wanted dinner rather than appetizers before a movie. I’m not intentionally late – but yet, I’m almost always late. It’s gotten so some members of my family – my parents, my kids, my boyfriend – will sometimes hedge the time they want me to be somewhere and tell me 30 minutes earlier, just because they know I’ll be late and by showing up late I’ll still be early.

It’s a problem, I know.

My doctor’s office, however, has apparently found a way to deter late-comers.

This morning I was about 15 minutes late for my annual physical – again, not intentional, my doctor is super-cool and we have a great time talking – but when I apologized while checking in the clerk smiled politely and oh-so-nicely brushed it aside and said, “Oh, no big deal, things happen. You’re not that late.”

Great, I didn’t cause a backlog, I thought.

She pointed me to the waiting room – Waiting Room 3, down the hall and to the left, and then all the way to the end – and I walked in and joined an older couple, probably in their 60s. I generally try not to pay too much attention to other patients so I pulled out my phone and started a game of Candy Crack Saga. A nurse came in and called the other woman into a room and after some shuffling of papers and a short discussion with the-man-I’ll-assume-was-her-husband, she went with the nurse.

And that’s when it started.

The man pulled out a bag of something and began crunching away, savoring every crunch as though it were his last. The bag must have been small because the crunching didn’t last long. What I didn’t know, though, was that the crunching was just the beginning.

No sooner had he stopped crunching did he start those strange hiccup/burps, the ones that start to sound like a hiccup, have a little bit of burp in them and end with a slight expulsion of air. You know the ones – the sounds Grandpa would make after a big meal, or after half a can of beer. And with that slight expulsion of air came the distorted stomach-acid lined smell of whatever was last eaten.

I don’t know what it was, but if I ever smell that on my plate, I’m not eating it.

The man’s issues didn’t end there. Oh no, after about a half dozen of these hiccup/burps, his stomach started to gurgle. Not in an “I’m still kinda hungry” way, but more of a, “What in the hell did you just put in me?” kind of way. It started slow, and small, but gradually got a little louder and more fierce.

I could no longer concentrate on my game. I tried. I matched a few purple candies, then a few red ones, but the louder he got the more frightened I became.

Then the nurse came in and called my name. I jumped up and followed her.

“You made it in, huh?” she said.

“Yes, and I’m so very sorry. I promise, I’ll never be late again.”

I swear she turned back and winked at that guy.


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Are you ready for some football?

FootballMy mother would be so proud.

Well, maybe not proud. Surprised, probably, but proud? That may be pushing it.

The reason? I’m in a fantasy football league. AND … not only am I in a fantasy football league, but I am currently in 3rd place (of 14 teams) and am the current points leader (rankings are based on win-loss records, not points accumulated).

Why would that surprise my mother, you ask?

Football was never really my schtick. I played basketball, volleyball and softball growing up, but football never really seemed to catch my interest – my mother used to joke (until not that long ago) that I likely didn’t know what a football was or how many points came with a touchdown.

Growing up in a one-television home – I don’t think I ever lived anywhere with more than one television until I got married – football season was the bane of my existence. In the off-season, Dad and I would watch movies after church on Sundays – I grew up with Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and Lee Marvin, as well as the Bowery Boys and old Little Rascals movies. When football season started, though, the parents took over the TV and watched whichever game was on (this was years before ESPN and definitely before NFL Gameday). They watched the pre-game, the game, the post-game, and then switched it over to the next game.

In high school, football games were a must-attend social event, but not for the game. I seldom knew who was winning until the game was over, and rarely – if ever – actually sat in the stands. Generally my friends and I would walk around the field, meet up with other friends and go behind the concession stand to smoke. In college it was largely the same thing, except I didn’t need to hide behind the concession stand to smoke, and I often did sit in the stands.

I thought my football days would end with the end of my college days, but then I met a boy who loved football and watched whatever games he could. He was an avid Chiefs fan – he had been since he was old enough to speak – and so I tolerated his Sunday indulgences. When we got engaged, I figured those indulgences would come to an end and he’d want to do nothing but be married to me and raise our children and play with them all the time, occasionally stopping to whitewash the picket fence that was going to go around the yard of our perfect, immaculate ranch home.

One night when we were having dinner with his parents the talk turned to football (it must have been football season) and I mentioned to my then-fiance’s mom that I agreed once we got married that my husband would be able to watch his Chiefs on Sundays, but that he should really spend the rest of the day with me.

His mom laughed.

What happened instead was I adopted an, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” attitude and started watching football. And started liking football, and the Chiefs. We got season tickets to the Chiefs games even though we lived in west central Iowa – we’d pick two games to go to and then sell the rest. That was back in the early to mid-’90s, when the Chiefs had the likes of Derrick Thomas, Neal Smith, Christian Okoye, Tim Grunhard, Marcus Allen … the tickets were never hard to sell.

My love of football lasted longer than my marriage, and the ex got the tickets in the divorce. I remained a fan but my game-watching wasn’t as fervent as before. If it didn’t have to be on, sometimes it wasn’t. And since the kids and I had moved to eastern Iowa – at about the same time the Chiefs’ seasons started taking a nosedive – often the games weren’t even aired in this area.

I’ve come back to watching the last few seasons, and am ecstatic about the Chiefs’ season this year. My first year in a fantasy football league many of my players are Chiefs, so I’m even happier they’re doing well.

So there you go. Through the years I’ve done an about-face on my football habits.

And Mom – the football is the oblong brown ball with the white laces, and touchdowns score 6 points, plus one extra point for the kick or two if the players run it into the endzone. See? I can be taught.


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