Getting *back* to normal. In a relative sense.

After four days the back injury's still a little tweaky. Rest helps, but unfortunately I don't get a lot of that. Child labor laws supposedly prohibit me from handing over both my paying job and all my other responsibilities to the kids. Otherwise I'd lounge on the sofa all day. You know I would.

Stupid government, with their lawmaking and all.

It doesn't hurt so much when I'm sitting, save the occasional stab in the middle of my back when I'm driving. Bending or twisting my spine is unpleasant, but I don't quite feel lucky enough to change lanes without double-checking the blind spot. Actually, I don't feel lucky enough to avoid being hit on the head by a meteor. Not after last Thursday.

It's most painful when I arise from sitting. It takes a few minutes, sheer will, and loud, monotonous grunting to straighten myself to full height. I try pretending I'm just not in a big hurry to get anywhere. Anything to tell myself I'm not just stooping around the office like somebody's grandmother. It adds nothing to the youthful image I hoped to cultivate by coloring my hair and using words like, "dude," and "Skype." I think my cover's blown by a good decade, at the least.

Otherwise, an unusually busy weekend was had here – one so busy I was actually glad today was Monday. That's about as sad as sad gets, assuming sad can be measured. And if it could, I'd be the standard.

Saturday morning was what I call my usual weekly sojourn to my paid friend, i.e., therapist. It's my one hour of calm out of a long week of anything but. On Saturday afternoon we went to a family reunion at a semi-local forest preserve. We got there late and left early. Why break tradition? It could throw off the entire cosmos.

Every decade or so we figure it's good to pop by for the free meal, enjoyed sitting in uncomfortable chairs under trees that drop crap on us. Unidentifiable crap, but fortunately nothing that seems to have traveled through a bird's digestive system. Not unless they were having a really rough day. And did I mention it was 90 F and humid? Really humid? Did I mention how bitchy I get when it's hot? Really bitchy?

Mmm. Fun!

The gathering was for relatives on Paul's mother's side of the family – the Polish crowd. I probably knew all of six people there, requiring me to pull out the ubiquitous vague smile one gives to strangers you don't know, but who appear to recognize you. The vague smile, and the incoherent half mumble/half cough that works well enough if you do it confidently, and in a high pitch, followed by a bolt in the direction of the dessert table to try and grab that last brownie.

An upside is the kids like seeing their cousins, but I didn't raise my brood to be comfortable anywhere outside the confines of home. Climate control, our own indoor bathrooms, and satellite TV are essential to life. So they were almost as thrilled to be there as I was, baking away in the summer heat, while the food/petri dishes sat in the sun, broiling.

Family gatherings require a certain departure etiquette similar to the disbanding of any party, but the timing's more tricky. You have to be on your toes, waiting for the first person to announce they have to get going. If you don't jump up before they've finished their sentence you have to wait for the next party to leave. And we weren't planning to wait. As soon as Paul's sister and her family started rounding up the troops I shot out of my chair like a clown from a circus cannon. One vague smile over the shoulder, an almost-wave, and dust was flying from my heels.

Waste not, want not. That's what my grandmammy taught me.

After a nap (me), a shower (Paul) and other householdly stuff I'm unaware of since I was unconscious, my daughter drove us over to the house of some friends who live about ten minutes away. We hardly ever see them, for no reason other than that's life.  Our kids are almost exactly the same age, and get along great.  Throw in a backyard bonfire, pizza, and chocolate cake, and what you have is a party. Impromptu, and casual, just like I like them. And the best part? I knew everyone there.

We socialized more in this one weekend than in all previous months in the year combined. For any other family that may be weird. Just not so much for us. And all that with my tweaky back.

I'm just so, so brave. Kind of makes you tear up, doesn't it? I know. Me, too.

4 thoughts on “Getting *back* to normal. In a relative sense.

  1. It’s sooo much better today! It’ll still be a couple days before I go back to the health club, but it’s feeling a lot better. Thank goodness! And let’s hope I don’t have to clear a paper jam from the copier again anytime soon.


  2. A comment on the word dude. Dude is actually a very tricky word. If you don’t know when or when not to pronounce the W you could be inadvertently commiting a grave faux pas. “Whoa, dood!” means something completely different from “Whoa, dewd.” And then there’s the Dyewd variant that can get you into lot’s of trouble. If you misuse any of these forms of dude no one will be hep to your jive.


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