A few weeks ago, I turned 50. The big 5-0. Fif-TY. Yes. Me. But before you worry too much about my mental state (other than the normal worries...which...never mind) you'll discover that it really wasn't an earth-shattering event for me at all. Other than having to check a different box on surveys and realizing that I am old enough to be somebody's grandmother (not rushing that...seriously)...it's all good. My husband, Big Dave, is five years older, and I have pretty much acclimated myself to this realm since we began getting AARP mailings in his name five years ago.
Now I'm getting them.
And they can keep on sending them...because we aren't joining. Not because we don't want the discounts...but because we don't agree with their mission politically. And not only that...but because I find it more than a little bit creepy that they knew of my impending birthday. Hey, AARP, if you'd give folks a month or so to adjust to being 50...you might not hit the trash can tossed in like a rotten potato with words like "ewwwww...." emanating from their lips along with an overly dramatic shudder.
I'm just saying.
No, I'm not ready for the senior citizen discount. Yet. Okay, unless you are Publix, and you are giving me 5% off. But I won't get that one until the next zero birthday. Officially, anyway. I've found, though, that 5% off really isn't worth it because the day that they give the discount is Wednesday...which is also incidentally the day when the sale paper comes out. If you dare to venture into Publix on that day because you have inadvertently forgotten something...and have lost your mind and forgotten what day it is...you'll find that you have to bob and weave around the motorized scooters only to find that whatever was on sale has not been restocked after the coupon ladies cleared the shelves. Thanks, Southern Savers! (not)
Anyway, this birthday has been the one that has made me really think...because I'm having to let go of so much of what I assumed was "my life." I am "ma'am" to almost everybody, and nobody is really fooled by the fact that I've remained blonde all of these years. I've topped out on job advancement, I prefer comfort over stylishness, and my children are either grown and out on their own or headed that way within a few years.
I have friends that I've known for decades, have crossed out many items on my "to-do" list in life by either doing them or because that time has passed for me and now it is NO. Just no. (Anything I might wear to the beach, high heels, and jumping out of planes fall into this category). I actually now get tired from being on my feet for extended periods, and I have to say "I really can't do that..." sometimes...not because I am so over scheduled ..but because I just don't want to do some of the things that people want me to do with or for them. Because, truth be told...the older I get the more I realize that I know who my real friends are and they'll love me even if I turn them down...and I also know how short weekends are.
And that's perfectly okay. I've earned it. Or so I'm told. After all, I'm fifty. 5-0. Yeah.
Three weeks before my birthday, my daughter told me that she'd like to throw me a party because I missed having one for my 30th and my 40th...and she didn't see Big Dave tearing it up trying to pull one together. I gave her names and addresses of various friends and family , and told her to invite whoever she wanted to and to do whatever she wanted to pull off. I didn't want to know the details,and I wanted to be surprised at what she could pull together. I mean...this child was a Marketing Major at the University of Alabama, and she had the idea that she might enjoy event planning at one point in time. I haven't had the heart to ask her if she still does.
This not knowing the details is a very dangerous thing...just so you know. And far more stressful than one can imagine. Because planning an event at age 50 and planning one at age 23 are completely different animals. I could just imagine her serving a tub of French onion dip and a bag of Fritos and calling that "refreshments." She will, of course, be horrified to read that, but most of us get into some kind of a crack without adult supervision when we are planning a party in our 20s. I know I did.
She called around for a location, and realized that there was only one obvious choice after balking at paying a huge amount for an clubhouse in a local apartment or neighborhood. Those that weren't already booked, by the way.
Oh....to the my gosh.
A little backstory is probably necessary here, but I don't want to delve into the gory details of our private life here at Casa Mixon...any more than I do every single day of my life online on Facebook. But just so you won't think I'm ultimo tacky, let's just go with the old standby excuse that I use that pretty much covers everything. Big Dave is a contractor. He works on other people's houses all day long and gets paid for doing things such as building pergolas, painting, repairing ceilings, finding water leaks, replacing toilets, and moving walls from A to B. The last thing that the man wants to do when he comes home is even look in the direction of a paintbrush, saw, or anything even remotely related to construction. He will clean the pool, mow the yard, and occasionally do yardwork and housework without a whimper. He mops like some kind of domestic Thor (he needs a haircut and during Prom Season he can't manage to just walk right in...and since waiting five minutes is apparently not an option...he looks a little Jerry Garcia-ish as I write this.) He rocks a broom and can clean a kitchen so well that Martha Stewart looks like a slacker by comparison. I'm serious! He cooks. He grills. He can even do laundry (although the concept of putting it away completely escapes him.) Making beds? No problem.
Fixing things around here that need fixing? Not so much.
So, imagine my horror when my sweet daughter announced that people were coming to this house. THIS. HOUSE. And seeing as I'd be gone out of town for business the week before...my contribution to housecleaning would be pretty much non-existent. Not that I'm a cleaning dynamo by any stretch of the imagination. Too late though...the invitations were in the mail.
I made a list of the things that needed to get done...things like...recovering "The Albatross" (the ancient sofa that Big Dave inherited from his grandfather...who originally found it on the side of the road in Palm Beach, FL in the 1940s and which has been a family heirloom ever since). Did I mention that it has real horsehair stuffing in it? No? Well, it totally does.
There was also the matter of fixing the porch (our "temporary ceiling" from 2001 really needed to be replaced - ya think?), some rotten wood that needed to be repaired at the back door, the front and back patios needed to be powerwashed, the driveway needed regraveling, a hole in the wall needed fixing from where we replaced our TV going on two years ago (seriously, a big gaping hole), and there was the matter of finishing some trimwork on the bookcase that he built two years ago but never got around to doing this last little bit.
Not that I didn't try whining. I just found that it didn't work. Like at all.
So, all of that needed to be done as well as yardwork, putting out pinestraw, trimming bushes, and making our house get off of the "least likely to win 'Yard of the Month' in our neighborhood" list that I'm not sure actually exists...but probably should. Because we would totally win.
I'll leave out the tears, drama, sackcloth and ashes, and gnashing of teeth that went on regarding the decision to have people in this house because I don't want anyone referring us for psychiatric evaluations or passing our name along to Jerry Springer for an upcoming episode of "The Cobbler's Wife Has No Shoes" (or "The Contractor's Wife Has No Prayer of the Honey-Do List Getting Done in Her Lifetime" or something equally tragic.)
Fast forward. (Please. Just reliving that made me all stressed and depressed.)
Things started coming together...even though Big Dave was still insisting that it was all of it was going to get done and that it was going to end up all right. Uh...yeah. Seriously, this man is a contractor. Do contractors have any sense of time whatsoever? No. No, they don't. Not even close.
And I know this...because I'm the one asking if someone is about to be billed out...and he always has a reason why he has to go back one or two (or twelve) more times. He forgets that I live with him sometimes. Bless his heart.
We got the sofa recovered because I bought the fabric and was a royal pain in the behind until he relented and nailed the fabric for me. I think he was concerned about what I might do with an gas fired nail gun...and with good reason since I have no mechanical "skillz" whatsoever and there really wasn't time for a trip to the hospital.
It isn't perfect...but you have to realize that we don't have a clue what we are doing, and that the thing is filled with ancient horsehair. Seriously. He managed to get the trim on the bookcase, the mailbox freshened up and the porch started. A sweet friend came over and power washed the concrete so we wouldn't get divorced over this whole celebration.
When he finished...it looked so good that I almost cried tears of joy. Okay, FINE, I did cry.
The porch was ripped down, the columns shortened, and I came to grips with the reality that the driveway was impossible to fix in the time frame established because one of the folks who was going to be begged to help us was out of the country. Smart man.
Anyway, about this time I was leaving for Mississippi, and would not return until that Thursday evening. The party was on Saturday afternoon. That's less than 48 hours if you are counting.
Did I really go into the fact that the house needed cleaning? Badly? Because Spring Cleaning around here is something we do all Spring...not in one weekend. "All Spring" being defined as every weekend between March and July it is hit at in the blind hope that we will eventually be able to get it to a point where we feel like we can finally give up trying. Because we are normal people like the rest of America who is not sitting on an uncomfortable row of bleachers somewhere, walking/running/golfing for charity, or doing something for the less fortunate this time of year.
Because this year? I was the less fortunate. In spirit, anyway.
But sometimes normal people get into extraordinary situations. Like vacuuming the walls at midnight on the night before the party because it was a mite dusty all up in here, naming the dust bunnies before extricating them, and begging Brian to clean the windows because they were blocking the view of the pond. Not "hoarders dirty" or even "call the Health Department dirty"...just "we live here, people, dirty." Because we totally do. And when you live in the country, have animals, and you don't want to spend every waking moment cleaning house...well...THIS happens.
Needless to say, thanks to some very solid help...primarily from Brecksyn and Brian, we got the house in order. Big Dave went into grumpy mode...but he got it done...and we didn't even need marital counseling.
At least got it to a point where the house looked presentable. So, there's that. And the good news is...most of the stuff that I've been on the Harpy Express over is now done. Yay for that. Of course, just because my life can't possibly be perfect, I should admit that Big Dave still has some finishing work to do. And I'm not letting up this time until he does it. Because we are oh, so close...
Just know that the preparation mode for having any event at your house is almost enough to kill you. Or at least...that was our experience. On the bright side, the house has stayed fairly clean and the long list of projects to be done is far shorter than it was. We have a lot to be thankful for, and I'm grateful that I can sit today and look around and enjoy what is here in this home. That I can see very little dust, and the view of the pond is unobstructed. That time made me make quick decisions about moving things along that should have seen the curb long ago.
Of course, the day of the party...this house was beautified with the floral arranging of my sweet friend, Nedra, and the beautiful faces of my sweet mother, daughter, other daughters, and my friends. Which was the best part of turning 50, by the way.
Here's to turning 50! And AARP...you can kiss it. Seriously.