I celebrated my birthday recently. And the Universe made sure to show me, once again, its sense of humor.
I awoke that day with plans for treating myself. Not in the way I used to, with lots of friends and loud celebration. I was going to work the first part of the day and then slip into a quiet movie theater. Midday solo movies are balm for the soul, people. They got me through my mother’s brief illness and hospice stay. I think doctors should be allowed to prescribe them for patients going through a hard time—a get-out-of-work pass once a week for a little afternoon escape from your own reality and into someone else’s on the silver screen.
I was to finish the day with my sons enjoying a steak dinner.
It sounded quiet and lovely to me—just how I wanted to pass this birthday.
But the Universe had other things in mind for me.
I began my day buying something I forgot we ran out of, only to forget what the item was when I got to the store (the Universe’s first little wink/wink, nudge/nudge on advancing one more year into middle age). As I paid for my item, I glanced at the conveyor belt. The woman behind me, probably about 15 years my senior, was buying Poise pads (for bladder control issues) and vodka. I’m not sure if the latter was because of the former or a contributing cause, but either way, I told the Universe its sense of humor was duly noted and not appreciated.
As I worked to meet a deadline before heading to my movie, one sneeze brought the whole house of cards down. I felt a snap in my ribs and then quite a bit of pain. I’ve had two children, mind you. It was not quite that much pain, but enough that I found it hard to breathe in without tearing up. I can still go to the movie, I thought. It’ll pass. Shake it off, sweetie. Halfway there, I turned around and headed to the doctor’s office.
I spent the next several hours being poked, prodded and x-rayed, only to find out I’d sprained an intercostal muscle under my ribs. “How did you do this?” my doctor asked. I was tempted to puff up my chest (if only it didn’t hurt so much) and tell him I was in an aerial acrobatics class or hang gliding. “I sneezed,” I mumbled, hoping he would not ask me to repeat myself. “Ah, well, bronchitis will strain these muscles. That’s probably why this happened,” he said. Did I mention he is my age? He smiled knowingly. And then wished me a happy birthday.
As I headed back into the grocery store for the item I forgot the first time (wine), I bought it and they didn’t card me, despite the 40 and under sign. Ouch. First time.
I thought back to the day before, when two good friends took me downtown for a musical and a wonderful dinner. As we rode the train, three women who looked about 20 years older than us were exiting at the same stop. “Are you going to see a show?” one asked. We told her we were and she waxed rhapsodic about how much she loves going to shows with her friends. I loved the sentiment but as I took in her steel-gray sausage curls, large frame and orthopedic shoes, I felt a shiver down my spine. The Ghost of Birthdays Future? My friend Gail reassured me. “We may still be going to shows in 15 years but we won’t look like that.”
I finished my day with my two sons and a lovely steak dinner. Other than having to breathe shallowly so as not to hurt and deciding between one glass of wine or a painkiller later (the wine won), we were having a good time.
As we discussed some historic military event that involved Dwight D. Eisenhower, my son—a history buff—gave me all the details on it. I smiled with pride at his knowledge. Which is when he said: “Mom, who did he run against for president? You voted in that election, right?”
No, dear. I was not even close to born yet. However, I know a couple of women that were. One pairs Poise with vodka. The other is wearing orthopedic shoes and needs a good blowout.
Not me. Yet. Hopefully not ever.
But I applied some lipstick and fluffed my hair, just to be safe.
Next year, Universe, a simple Happy Birthday will do.
56 Comments Add yours
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Belated 🙂
Thank you! Healed and ready to roll for the next one:).
SO funny and clever! Hope you had a Happy Birthday – I can’t remember if I called you or not – NO old jokes on this! ; ) Thinking of you and hoping we can catch up soon. Keep up the great work on your blogs!!
I am catching up on life. I can’t believe I missed this! Happy belated birthday! Your humor 🙂 made me smile. Life has quite the sense of humor.
Thank you! Life certainly does keep us laughing, right? Better than the alternative!
Belated happy birthday! Few things are as sneakily great as an afternoon movie, alone with wayyyyy too much popcorn.
I so agree! If we could all do that once per week, I can’t help but think the world would be a kinder place :-).
Happy belated, dear K. Ha ha ha. Lipstick and fluffed hair. Hey, anything that helps. I’ll take anything.
I hear you! Lipstick and fluffed hair are about all I had at my disposal at the moment:). But, like you, I’ll take anything that works!
Like I always say, the best thing about growing older is that it beats the alternative.
My father used to say the same!
Belated happy birthday Kristine. Indeed a cautionary tale. Surely you’re not serious about the <40 rule? I didn't think they had daytime cinemas any more. The only one I ever knew showed adult movies to creepy guys in plastic macs (so I was told) 🙂
Oh so serious about the under 40 rule:). We are not as laid back as you lovely Europeans. Oy. No daytime cinemas near you?! Oh, that is such a shame. It’s a lovely escape on a rainy afternoon . . . hope you’re doing well.
But the legal minimum age is 21 in the US isn’t it?
Yes:). But just last night, at a festival, I was carded again. Signs here now state that they will card you if you look 40 or under. I don’t necessarily think that I do, but generally the person doing the carding is quite a bit younger than I am. I’m not sure they know what 40 really looks like :-).
I see, so if the card says you’re 21 that’s OK. If those are the rules then I’m not surprised you’re questioned Kristine 🙂
I haven’t been reading or writing blogs lately and it was good to restart with yours. Had a good chuckle. Things we said wouldn’t happen to us, when we were younger? We’re there it almost there now. OMG! Oh, I just published a new blog ‘for men only’. I bet you’re curious now. All my best.
Yep:). Ever so curious. Will have to check that one out . . .
PS. Happy Belated Birthday!!!
Ah, those subtle reminders: they’re everywhere. And I think they always have been; it’s just that now I am sensitive to them and notice every reminder of what awaits and telling myself it will never happen to me. Right.
We all do it:). While feeling like we’re still really 17!
Happy Birthday! Well, kids say the darndest things 🙂
They certainly do!
Happy belated birthday, Kay. This year, ironically, I celebrated a milestone birthday with a series of inopportune, but comically tragic aggravations of my own. It would have been so easy to sulk, but the laughter made up for any disappointment and the gentle reminders of my good fortune centered my irritation in gratitude. Humor and gratitude are my emotional equivalent of coffee and leftover cake (or a midday solo movie with popcorn) – extravagant necessities. Wishing you a year of happier surprises to come.
Oh, this comment means so much bc you are a bday kindred spirit this year:). Am loving the idea of extravagant necessities–a delightful oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one!
Ha ha, love it 🙂 The universe has a sense of humour! Happy Birthday!!!
Thank you:). In my case, the Universe seems to be quite the wiseacre . . .
It’s obvious no mere muscle sprain can prevent you from flexing that fabulous funny bone of yours!! Thank you for making me laugh, Kristine! Sorry about the pain you have had to endure… Hope it’s a thing of the past now.
And btw, you will NEVER be old. xoxo
Thank you, friend! At least in our hearts, we’ll stay young:).
Happy birthday! Don’t worry, how you age is a choice like everything else. I’m almost 60 and never expected to still be wearing skinny jeans and high heels. As they say, its all attitude.
I love that you’re still rocking the skinny jeans and heels!
I’m still smiling about the vodka and Poi se. There are funny things all around us, we just have to find them.
I’m curious what you bought when you forgot the wine the first time?
Greek yogurt :-). Another healthy Item but in entirely different way than the line.
Ouch! Happy? Birthday. Have another glass of wine, on me. Hope your sprained muscle heals quickly. Getting old does have its drawbacks I’m finding as well. Took a spill on the roller rink back on New Year’s Day and my butt bone still hurts.
I’m glad it still at least in one piece! And that you’re still taking turns on the roller rink :-). It’s when we stop doing that that we get old.
A thousand pardons, I meant: “How did you ever manage to forget.”
Adlai E. Stevenson ran against Ike… And – how did ever manage to forgive wine the first time around?! It is only one of the main food groups!
I hear you on the wine:). An egregious omission!
I don’t adore you as much anymore…
I meant on my part :-). The wine was in egregious omission.
I’m sorry, Kay! I know I should be commiserating and sympathizing, but you made me laugh. Oh, dear. sorry about that. A belated happy birthday to you. And you are a lucky girl, because yesterday I wished someone a “bleated happy birthday”. At this rate, i’ll be the vodka and Poise next, I fear.
LOL. At least you didn’t wish them a bleeping happy birthday :-). Count your blessings!
That will come next, I’m sure. Right alongside the Poise and vodka.
I’m wishing you a happy birthweek. You deserve it, brave woman.
Happy Birthday!!! and a great read as usual 🙂 Hope you get to the movies soon. Hugs and cheers!
Happy birthday hun!
I did the same thing to my intercostal muscles but it was while I was sleeping. You win for the better story.
I tried the Poise inserts and then freaked out that ‘I couldn’t live like this’ so I got me a hoochie whisperer/pelvic floor physiotherapist. She is tightening up everything down there to avoid leakage when I sneeze. I hope she can avoid intercostal muscle strain too 🙂
And, I love daytime movies. Popcorn for lunch and the phone off is a perfect birthday. Sorry you spent it at the doctor’s instead 😦
Sleeping?! How did that happen? You must have been having a wicked dream!
Happy Birthday! I love your stories, you always give us real life with real feelings. You won’t be wearing poise anytime soon ha. 🙂
From your lips to God’s ears:).
Happy Birthday, Kay. I’m sorry about the doctor visit though I wish I could have seen the expression on his face when you told him how you did it..:)
I hope next year is better for you..:)
Oh, he had fun with it! We’ve known each other for years and his birthday is two weeks before mine . . . so it’s a race to the finish, I guess:).
Just wait till the Universe catches up with you again next year Kristine….IT KNOWS DAMMIT, IT KNOWS! 😀
Like everything else, it has a dossier on us all, a really, really big one 😀
Happy Birthday anyway, may your pads and vodka be only a crazy dream 🙂
And I’ll drink to that:).