Monthly Archives: January 2015

How I Became Your Mother

Kids, even when you are absolutely, positively, beyond the shadow of a doubt CERTAIN that you do not want kids, the biological clock can be a powerful monkey wrench in one’s plan to remain slim and tan and rather wealthy into ones’ golden years.

As I recall, when I turned 35, your father and I had a conversation that went something like this:

“Hey, I heard on the news today that they are calling it a “geriatric pregnancy” if you are over 30 when you get pregnant.”

“Seriously? Wow. You’re 35. What word would they use for you? Elderly?”

“Shut up. I don’t want to have kids. And if I did, I would not have one that came out of us, I mean, can you imagine?”

“That is scary. I mean, what if it turned out like you?”

“Or worse…you!”

“If we were going to do it—and I’m not saying we are—we should adopt.” We had just adopted a puppy. It was fun. Except for the chewing. But babies didn’t have teeth so that was cool.

On a whim, we looked into foreign adoption. Big time. Contacted the agency, gathered info, discussed how completely altruistic we were…especially considering we never thought we even wanted kids! How awesome were we? Then, we got to the part about the fees, and holy cow! Adoption was like…seriously expensive!

We could save so much money by just making one of our own.

So…because we were now sort of excited by the whole kid thing, we decided to try getting pregnant. Chances were, we’d waited too long, the plumbing was corroded, stuff had dried up, whatever.

If no baby happened, we would throw in the towel. Admit defeat and skip off into the sunset. And if we did by some miracle, manage to get pregnant in our advanced years…well, we figured we’d just have a single child. That way, if we didn’t like it, we only had to put up with it for 18 years.

Two weeks later…I was pregnant.

And, she was born on our 16th wedding anniversary. And, we liked her. We really, really liked her. We were complete boobs. Everything about her completely charmed us. It was as if we were the first people on the planet to ever have such an adorable child! She was perfect in every way and we would spend hours smiling dopily at her, waiting for her to wake up so that we could play with her, taking thousands of pictures, and bragging about her to our long-suffering friends and family.

And, babies, like Lays Potato Chips, were addicting and we knew there was no way we could eat just one…but kids, that’s another story and it gets sort of tangled up with Wendy’s story, so I’ll get to that next time.

 

Carolyn

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers

How I met your father…

Okay, kids, I just read how Wendy told you she and I met.  I’ll get to your father in a minute…

Apparently, it was in line for lasagna, and not in line for the Rita Awards Ceremony. Kids, I think it’s fair to say that we are not actively trying to deceive you with revisionist history, it’s just that we have no foggy idea how we met, and it really doesn’t matter at this point.

So. Where was I? Oh yes. How Carolyn Sue Got Married. (Suzanne really is my middle name).

Matt was not sweetly romantic, like Tim. I guess if I had to describe Matt: the early years, it would be Joey Tribianni from “Friends”. “How you doin’?”

So, after we’d dated awhile and he casually mentioned that something we’d just said or done would be “A great story for our grandchildren,” I was surprised. “What grandchildren?” I asked. “The kids our kids will have,” he explained, as if I was dim.  “Our… kids?” (I’d been under the impression we eschewed kids, and he’d never mentioned anything about us staying together past winter term). “Yes, our kids. We’re getting married, ding-dong.”

That was my marriage proposal. No ring. No bended knee. Just, “We’re getting married, ding-dong.”

Which, looking back, was the perfect proposal for a nineteen-year-old girl who—a year later—tried to get her mother to buy her a new coat instead of the wedding dress they were shopping for.  To say I was immature or, perhaps, a late-bloomer was a gross understatement. I was a complete ding-dong. So was he. We, as it finally turned out, ended up being perfect for each other, but the early years were not without a lot of pain and suffering.

We were in fact, two non-swimmers jumping into the deep end of the marriage pool. More than once we nearly drowned each other as we thrashed off in opposite directions, looking for new, more exciting horizons.

I’d love to tell you it was all happily ever after. True, some of it actually was quite blissful. Some…not so much.

See, kids…we were kids. Stupid, vapid, self-absorbed kids who bought into the new, 80’s ideology that loyalty lasted as long as your feelings did, and life was about being happy and not about living up to responsibility. Thankfully, we were smart enough to realize that if we had kids, we’d ruin them.

So, we managed to cling to each other until we grew up. Found God. Realized the good thing we had in each other. Learned about forgiveness. Learned about the precious thing a best friend is–when you are as terrible as you can be to that person–and they still love you and want to grow old with you, warts and all.

So, it took us a little longer than most.  We got there.  And, we’re staying.  And kids, I gotta tell you, I’m glad.

Carolyn

 

 

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Humor, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, romance novels, Writing

How I Met My Husband and Became The Oldest Mother In Kindergarten, part II

Here’s what I remember about my husband when I first met him: I remember the way he looked at people when they spoke to him And that way was simply this:  He looked at them.

Have you ever talked to an actor at a party or at an audition or in a market or on a street corner or in his living room or any dang place where the actor thinks there might, just might be someone who can give him a job? His handsome mug may be pointed in your direction; his eyes, however, will be scanning the room. (I’m sure I did that, too. I apologize to everyone I spoke to during my acting years.)

So, when I walked into the first rehearsal for Of Mice and Men, I saw Tim, surrounded by people, and what I noticed was that he listened to them. He cared about what they were saying—even if it wasn’t about acting. Each person deserved his attention. He seemed oblivious to his own appeal or whether he was upping his own status in the room. He spoke humbly and with authenticity.

Integrity.

That’s the word that went through my mind as I watched him. (Note to our daughters: Consider putting that quality at the top of your list of traits to look for in a potential husband. Thirty years after “Wow, he’s cute!” has worn thin, “Wow, he has integrity” will still pack quite a wallop.)

I liked him. I really, really, really liked him. He gave great pre-show hugs. He liked animals. And when my character was choked to death on stage and my skirt somehow inevitably wound up over my hips night after night, he was the only cast member who would find a way to push the skirt back into place, so I didn’t have to lie on stage with my tush on display for the next twenty minutes (I was dead, after all; I couldn’t do it.) So thank you, cute and considerate actor.  Will you marry me?

He did. But later. A lot later. Twelve years later.

The fact is, DH and I make decisions about as fast as sap can drip up a tree. During a frost.  After we married it took us another five years to decide to become parents. Ironically, we flip-flopped our positions: I was ready to have kids, and he wasn’t so sure.

Before kids, though, we got Carolyn. More on that next week as she returns to blog about how she and I met.  I think she’s returning to blog.  She’s currently in Cabo, getting relaxed, tan and blonder.  I’m insane with envy.  Hopefully she will come home and resume her responsibilities as a blog partner on Tuesday. Until then—

–Wendy…not in Cabo, not so relaxed, white as a 1000-watt daylight bulb, and in desperate need of some highlights.

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Before We Were “Too Hot” Mamas

Dad, Libbi and MomCarolyn suggested we tell you all the story of how we met (standing in line for lasagna at a publishing party in Florida), how we discovered we had a lot in common (high anxiety…we are oodles of fun on a plane together), and how, after that first meeting on the opposite side of the country from where we both lived, our lives as writers and mothers began to intertwine in the most wonderful of ways.

I liked reminiscing about it all. Then she said, “Begin with your marriage. That’s how motherhood started.” Yeah, that’s a little harder, because now I have to be honest, and, well…eew.

Being honest about my husband is easy; he’s one of the most transparent people I’ve ever known. But we met when I was twenty-three, and I cannot say that transparency was one of my salient qualities back then.

I grew up hiding—or trying to hide–big chunks of myself. I was a people pleaser, a classic human chameleon. I stumbled into the real me, turning holes in my character into a whole human bit by fumbling bit. And for nearly thirty years now, my beautiful, honest-until-it-hurts husband has ridden shotgun.

When we met, I knew what I wanted in a boyfriend—a sense of humor, intelligence, a creative spark, strength and mystery. (I have no idea what I meant by mystery, and note to my daughters: That is a really asinine trait to look for in a life partner.)  He and I had crossed paths a couple of times. We were both acting in theatre and had been cast in the same plays twice, but either I took the role offered while he turned his down, or vice versa. And then we both auditioned for Of Mice And Men.

He remembers watching me at the audition as I was playing with a little girl in the lobby of the theatre. In that moment, he knew I’d make a great mom someday. Ooookay, here’s where the icky, eewie truth comes in. That little girl was the director’s daughter. I was playing with her because I thought it would score me some points if I was nice to his kid. I DIDN’T WANT KIDS. Well…someday. About ten or twelve years from that night. Maybe fifteen years. Possibly twenty.   It took a lot of time, a lot of tears and a very, very cool plot twist that involved Carolyn to get to the point where we squished that adorable baby in the photo between us.

To be continued on Thursday, because I promised Carolyn I wouldn’t get diarrhea of the keyboard.

Wendy

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How I met your other: the beginning

Kids, in order for you to understand how I met your other (toohotmama) and launched a blog about Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause, I should probably tell you a little about the Marriage and Motherhood piece.

One of the first actual conversations I had with Matt, my now husband of many years happened back in college, when we were teenagers. At the ripe old age of eighteen, we mutually decided that if—and when—we ever married (we took the plunge at twenty) we were never, ever, EVER, not in a million years, ever going to have children.

Why?

We wanted a VCR, instead. See, kids, back in the day, a VCR cost $700 and well, as we were making $1.84 an hour and paying our way through college, a baby just didn’t seem to provide the entertainment value.

Besides, there were tons of kids out there, somewhere, who didn’t have any parents, and though we’d rather have a VCR, we also hated injustice and considered ourselves to be enlightened freedom fighters who would someday, maybe, (after we’d bought a house, a couple cars, traveled Europe, acquired fabulous wardrobes, a big screen TV, a second VCR—to tape all the shows we were missing by watching the movies we rented—climbed the ‘80’s corporate ladder, smashed through the glass ceiling and became legends on Wallstreet) go out and adopt some lucky orphan.

But probably not. Because we didn’t really want kids. Not someone else’s. And certainly not our own.

We’re still scratching our heads over the fact that we ended up with five…but kids, it’s getting late, and that part of the story will have to wait. Carolyn

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How I Met Your Other (Too Hot Mama)

Kids, over the years, many of our faithful readers have asked the thought provoking (and thoroughly legend…wait for it…dary) question, “How did you two meet?”

The simple answer is, we were standing in line for an awards ceremony at a writer’s conference (where Wendy was—as usual—up for an award) and I offered her some anxiety meds (which she politely declined), then I blathered on about my acute stage fright, and my total fear of vomiting or fainting in public to such an extent that the woman behind us (an anxiety counselor) offered me her business card.

If Wendy had been smart, she’d have picked up the skirts to her stunning cocktail gown, grabbed her husband by the hand, and rushed to her seat. But instead, we got into this hilarious conversation about how social anxiety gives us both humiliating verbal diarrhea, and a lifelong friendship was born.

Because this story is in fact, rather longer and more miraculously wild and wonderful than either of us can recount in a single blog, I’ll be tackling it in little Bob Sagget-esque flashbacks over the next few weeks.

So, kids, I’ll be back on Thursday, with my part of the beginning. Carolyn

 

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, aging, Bathroom Humor, Children, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood, Older writers, Writing

Cleanse, Shmense.

scale cartoonMy esteemed blog partner was supposed to post, but she can’t; she’s recovering from her health-juice cleanse.

I told you so, Carolyn.

Hey, blog readers, have you ever done an “internal cleanse”? I have. They’re great. For the first five days, you are filled with energy. You’re lighter than air. Your skin glows. You glance into mirrors, eager to greet each long-lost muscle as it reappears. You love everyone.

“Hello, Happy Mail Carrier Person!”

“Good day to you, Darling Dog Groomer!”

“Love ya, Safeway Cashier! That bag of Ruffles With Ridges you just rang up is not for me, by the way; I’m juicing!”

You even think that maybe, just maybe, your new-found inner clarity and serenity could yield the secret to world peace. Does anyone have the number to the Oval Office?

On day six, you wish you could stir a little simple syrup into that kale juice. On day seven, you take a three-hour nap. On day eight you would eat the dog if someone gave you a bottle of ketchup. And on day nine, you ask your blog partner to Google Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, because you know you have it, and, oh crud, you slept instead of posting a blog.

I told you so, Carolyn.

You’re de-toxing. We’re menopausal. We have so many toxins, they just pour all over the place when we try to tease them out of their hidey-holes.   Look, I get it: You were trying to rid yourself of two of the classic symptoms of menopause–weight gain and sluggishness.  But it’s a dangerous game you’re playing, my friend.

I was just at Bob’s Red Mill. Do you know that Bob Moore, the king of whole grains, is going to be 86 next month and is still working a full schedule? If he says he’s going to blog, he blogs.  I ate at his restaurant, and they serve GIANT 3-egg omelets smothered in three cheeses, with fried potatoes, whole-grain biscuits and butter. They would NOT do that if it was bad for us.

While I was at the Red Mill Store, I bought you a big ‘ol peanut butter cookie.  It’ll stop that nasty detox in its tracks. I expect you’ll be writing a blog asap.

I’ll drive over with the cookie.  First, though, I’m going to take a nap, ‘cause I’m still a little full from lunch.  Come to think of it, I feel kinda sluggish.  And I think I gained weight.

If you have any extra juice, I’ll have a sip or two when I see you.

Love you.
–Wendy

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FROM HERE TO MATERNITY LEAVE

Stork

Hi, everyone!

It’s Wendy, one half of two hot mamas, back from a maternity leave that consumed all of 2014.

Yes, that’s right: Just like Sarah in the bible, I became a mama again when I was not merely “too hot,” but practically charred. It was a miracle, although not quite like Sarah’s.

This “baby” was birthed via adoption, and she was almost five. Carolyn was there the whole way, acting as our doula, helping mother and child to make it through some rocky times while my husband worked out of state for most of the year. Frankly, Carolyn saved the adoption more than once.

Along the way, she and I fulfilled two more dreams—writing a book together (we’ve published a combined total of fifty novels on our own, but never before collaborated), and home schooling our tweens. And, she got her three oldest settled in college/early college and jobs.

We meant to blog during all this; we really did. But, let’s face it: We were lucky to shower—

Aw, crud. I knew we forgot to do something.

Well, anyway, we’re back now. Look for fresh blogs every Tuesday (and reruns on Thursdays…unless we’re napping).
Happy 2015,

–Wendy and Carolyn

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No…no…wait…it’s toohotmamas?

They said we wouldn’t be back until this happened and lo and behold…

What?  Pigs are flying?

What? Pigs are flying?

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Filed under 35 symptoms of menopause, Bathroom Humor, hot flash, Marriage, Menopause, Motherhood