Tuesday, August 25, 2015

10 Facts About Turning 47

I had a birthday. A wonderful, wish filled, joyful birthday, celebrated with friends near and by friends far away. It was great, except for one tiny little detail.

I turned 47 on this birthday.

Now, on its surface, 47 isn't anything special. Just another random number. But in truth, it's the one that puts you on the downhill slide to 50. And that's a biggie, because it declares to the world you are officially Over The Hill. Mostly because there is no chance I'm living to 100, so I'm definitely on the back side there.

So, I thought about how I could do some cute blog post about being 47, like "47 Things You Don't Know About Me." That might work if I was twelve, but fourty-seven? There is no one in their right mind that wants to read all that. Especially since writing forty-seven facts about me would require I scrape the bottom of the "interesting" barrel. Does anyone out there want to know that I refuse to sleep with a top sheet because I think they are silly and useless and just create more laundry? Didn't think so.

Sadly, last years Christmas card picture is the most recent one I have of myself

There are always the posts that go "40 is the new 30" or "50 is the new 40" and all that crap. No, it isn't. I know this because 37 year olds don't get heartburn for no apparent reason. They don't throw out their backs by turning off a light switch and they don't find themselves saying "What? I can't hear you" all the time.

Or how about the "Good Things About Being 47" or the "Bad Things About Being 47." If you already around this age, you know them, and if you are not, there is no point in my ruining your youth for you. Enjoy it while you can.

So, what you get are Things About The Second Half of Life That Are Not Good, Bad or Particularly Interesting But Just Are The Way They Are. Let's face it, I am well into the second half of my life at this point, since I don't see myself getting past 80 or 82 without some serious medical intervention, and 94 isn't likely to happen.

1) Shit doesn't work the way it used to. Hearing, knees, energy levels. You will wear reading glasses, which suck except for the part where you can give the librarian stink-eye look to anyone who interrupts you. This is ok though, you don't want to hear most of what people are saying anyway.

2) You will diet and exercise, but for completely different reasons than before. The idea of doing it so you look great in a bikini is out the window. That ship has sailed sister and it ain't coming back. Now you will do it to avoid getting diabetes and having to use the rascal scooter in the grocery store. Still noble goals.

3) You no longer need to worry about what the latest and greatest fashion trends are. No one wants to see old people in Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister. Those are not fashionable anymore you say? See, proves my point. It makes shopping so much easier when you know that not one person on this planet gives a damn what you are wearing because they aren't looking anyway.

4) It doesn't matter how hard to you try keep up with the latest technology so that you aren't "one of those" old people, it will pass you by. Probably when you aren't even looking. Pick and choose a few thing to try to learn and screw the rest. Most of it is drivel anyway. Twitter anyone?

5) You will become impatient. Your time here is limited and you can't be wasting it. Those of us who have always been impatient will get there first and be the worst offenders. Those of you who had reams of patience when you were younger will take longer, but eventually we will all scream "Get off my lawn!" at someone.

6) You will be able to tell who are your real friends and who are just people hanging around. Its a great thing really and everyone should learn it in their 20's. Except for the part where you are impatient. That causes you to be rude. On the upside, now that you are old, you won't really care.

7) You will discover what you really want out of life. However, it will most likely not be what you have spent all your time and money up until now obtaining. *sigh*

8) You will start losing people around you, if you haven't already. If you're like me and have managed to get this far with both parents and a large majority of Aunts, Uncles and cousins around, you know whats coming and it won't be pretty. It is still surprising when friends pass away, but it will become less so over time, sadly. 

9) You will start to see kindred spirits in all those old people that used to be invisible to you when you were in your 20's. All of a sudden they become more like looking through a time machine that is a little too close for comfort. This will spark the exercise and healthy eating kick that will suck the fun out of the rest of your days.

10) Things will seem like more trouble than they are worth. What things? All the things. This isn't bad, this is a level of zen-like clarity that Buddhist monks aspire to. Things are more trouble than they are worth most of the time.

You will try to impart the wisdom of age to those young people that run across your path, telling them all the thing you were once told. Enjoy your health, take care of your body, save money, find out what you really want and go after it, call your Mom, visit your loved ones, life is short, don't waste your money trying to impress people you don't really care about, slow down and relax........

They will ignore you. Let them. Trust me on this one, its more trouble than it's worth!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Viva Las Vegas

As some of you may already know, we went to Vegas this summer. How and why are a whole 'nother story though. We were all ready to take our regular vacation to my cousin's house in Malibu when the damn I-10 fell apart. Literally fell apart when a bridge fell down four days before we were supposed to drive over it. We decided that there must be some other way to get there and while I was researching alternate routes, I thought "Hey! We could go through Vegas!" This only adds about 2 hours drive time, but there were faster routes than that. My plan was to stay the night there and my Mom could play slots if she wanted and I would take Thing 2 around to see the sights (since it was just the 3 of us). 

Now, believe it or not, I did have a moments hesitation about the wisdom of taking my 14 year old daughter to a drinking, gambling, stripping mecca. But it was only a moment. She was excited and informed me that several of her friends had been there this summer already.

So off we went. My biggest problem with the whole trip was that suspension bridge over the Hoover Dam. I have never driven over and it and the last time I saw it was during construction. I HATE driving over those types of things. I am convinced that even though I am in total control of my car, there will be some sort of tragedy and we will crash over the side. Seriously. I probably need therapy for this. If I cannot be on the very inside lane closest to the median (where it is hardest to plunge to your death from) it is even worse. Sweaty palms don't help, because that is how you lose control of the car. So for 15 miles leading up to the bridge Thing 2 is cackling like a witch at the prospect and I am getting increasingly nervous. Then we get there and just let me give a quick shout out to the bridge designers! I know they did it to keep people from screwing up traffic looking over the sides as they go over, but OMG! You cannot even tell you are on the damn thing! It is level with the highway leading up to it and the side walls are so high YOU CANT SEE OVER! They are my favorite people ever.

Shortly there after, we roll into Vegas, baby!

Can I just say now that as we drove down the strip to Bally's, I was really disappointed. I haven't been there in probably 6 years or so, maybe more. The Las Vegas I remember from years gone by had these huge themed hotel/casino with these elaborate fronts to them. Think Caesar's Palace with all the statues and fountains, Treasure Island with the pirate ships, etc. Most of that is gone. Oh, the hotels and casinos are still there, but the exotic fronts are gone. I guess the property became to valuable because all the hotels are hidden back behind a bunch of shops and restaurants that now line the property along the strip. That might be OK if there were different shops and restaurants. There are two McDonalds, a White Castle burger, a CVS and THREE Walgreens. Three. In a 2 mile stretch of road. It's pathetic and sad.

We checked in, left my Mom to herself, and went to scope it all out. We saw the fountains at the Bellagio and then went to the Mirage via Caesars. We were going to stay at Caesars and see the show there, but it was a bizarre experience and we needed to get out. It was like that scene in Percy Jackson where they go to Las Vegas and get stuck on the casino and can't get out! We were in an annoyingly large shopping mall with no exits. Of course, we didn't know this at first. We just kept walking until we go tot the end, but then you couldn't get out. None of the stores or restaurants opened to the outside. We started walking back and asking people how to get out and they kept telling us to just "go down there and on the left is an exit" We were told this by several people including a security guard on a segway. Pretty soon we were making this journey with a British family of four that was as desperate as we were to get out but couldn't find an exit either. We pushed open security doors, found the employee  parking, and ending up high fiving each other when we finally got out. Since they only do the volcano show at the Mirage twice a night now, off we went. In front of the volcano is when I realized that I didn't really need to worry about taking my teenager to Vegas. We were surrounded by small children on all sides. Then a pregnant woman and her husband rolled up to stand in front of us with their three kids, ages 6, 4 and 2. It was like waiting for fireworks at Disneyland.

As we walked up one side of the strip and down the other, there was a very odd dynamic happening. There were all the normal people passing out their little "flyers" who I had to keep an eye on, but I guess they don't want to go to jail for distributing porn to a minor, so she was skipped by them. Right next to them though were all these people in costumes that you could pay to have your picture taken with. Seems ok until you realize all the costumes were kids characters?!? We saw 2 Elmos, an Olaf, Bert from Sesame Street, several  Princesses...it was so weird! 

All the while Thing 2 is making comments like "This place is really something else" and "I'm guessing there are 24 happy hours a day around here?"

As it is getting close to 9 p.m. I decide we need to head back since the drunks are starting to roll out and that is when we start to see them. Along with the porn peeps and the costume creatures appear a new group that is clearly meant to appeal to the wasted among us. There are men holding large signs that say "Kick me in the balls for $20." I am not even kidding with this! In a "too late to do any good" display of parental guidance, we head for our hotel.

As we walk around the entrance to some other place close to ours, we see them. The crowning glory of our excursion. KISS. Or rather, photo op guys dressed like three members of KISS. 

Which is fine, except I seem to remember KISS wearing pants. Not, as these three had on, black studded g-string thongs. Two are facing us, but one has his back to us given us a full and complete look at his ass. Needless to say, there is a line of women waiting for pictures and these guys are in 12 inch platform boots, so they are draping their legs over these women's shoulders.

"OMG! No. Just No."

I'm afraid after my laughing she didn't take me up on my offer to take a picture.

So as we get back to the room, Grandma asks her how it was. I'm not sure what to expect from her at all. Then she says this...

"Oh, I am totally coming back here with my friends when I'm 21 Grandma"

I just hope someone gets pictures.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The 8 Kinds of People You Meet on the Highway

After spending the summer driving season making a giant circle in the desert from Phoenix to Las Vegas to Malibu and back to Phoenix, it has become apparent to me that there are certain types of drivers you meet over and over on the road. Since I spent the better part of 18 hours with them, this is what I have determined is out there for you, should you decide to take to the open road this summer.

1. The NASCAR wannabe-You know who we are talking about here. Maybe it is even you. The driver who always feels the need to go as fast as humanly possible, with no care at all for speed limits, the flow of traffic, lives of other people, cops, etc. They are the ones who fly up behind your car like Wily E. Coyote on an ACME rocket. If you are lucky you can move over and get out of their way. Otherwise they will slow down only when they are within 1.2 inches of your bumper and not move from that spot until you are free to get out of their way. They pay taxes for these roads damn it and they can drive however they like! If you are really unlucky, you will attempt to move at the same time they change lanes to pass you on the right and due to the speed discrepancy, they will likely vaporize you in the collision.

2. The Law Abider-I live with one of these. If the speed limit is 55 then they go exactly 55. Not 56, not 54. Everyone else on the road can piss off, because they are right and you are wrong.

3. The Brake Rider-You have surely dealt with these in your everyday driving also. They are people who, for whatever reason, feel the need to zoom up on the person in front of them and then hit their brakes, startling you behind them into thinking something is happening that requires you to stop. You know you are behind one of these people when you find yourself hitting your brakes every 5 minutes for no apparent reason whatsoever.  It’s double the fun at 80 M.P.H., when you are desperately trying to avoid rear-ending someone who keeps hitting the brakes. Most of these people drive some sort of giant Hummscalade that you cannot see around or over or through, adding to the feeling the stopping must be necessary due to something happening that you cannot see. Nothing ever happens.

4. And 5. Mr. Cruise Control and his opposite, Mr. Oblivious- These two are something else. For some reason they always seem to appear in pairs, like the universe has conspired against you and this is your punishment.  Mr. Cruise Control has picked his speed and will not touch the brake or the gas to adjust in anyway for anything short of a 10-car pile up. Then he would have to reset the cruise control and who wants that? He is invariably paired with Mr. Oblivious who is drunk, texting, or both. His speed can vary anywhere from 55 to 95, in the space of a single mile. He is the one going so slow that you have to pass him, and then he races up next to you. You can play the “passed you/no passed you” game with this asshole for miles. No matter how desperately you try to get away from him, he will be there at every gas stop, bathroom break and fast food run.

6. The Hoarder- This is the person that, for unknown reasons, appears to have everything they own inside the car with them. The windows are full and the back seat is stuffed, even though it may have people sitting in it also. There are naked baby dolls sprawled in the rear window, making for a very disconcerting view. They could not see another car if they had to and that other car is you. Get away as fast as you can.

7.  Truckers- By and large, truckers are very good drivers. They obey the trucker expectations by staying on the right unless it becomes imperative for them to go around someone. If they have to pass, they give a lot of notice of their intentions and get back to the right immediately. They do not stand for any shenanigans and if you feel it is necessary to be a pain in the ass by weaving in and out and around them in your stupid little Fiat 500, they will squash you like a bug.

8. The Perfect Driver – You will know one when you see one. You will say to yourself “Now, that person isn’t at all annoying.”  You may even find yourself effortlessly following their lead, making your drive very pleasant and agreeable.

Or not, as I am done driving for the summer. Either way best of luck to you!