Today is my last day of being 37, or being in my "mid-thirties" as I've been saying for the past 364 days. Let me just say that if today is indicative of how 38 is going to go down, I'm in trouble.
The day started out well enough. We've been checking out different churches in our new town, trying to find one that feels right for us. We weren't overly enamored of the United Methodist church we attended last week, so we'd decided to try the Presbyterian church right in the middle of town. We all were fed, showered and dressed appropriately with plenty of time to make the five minute drive over to the church. Hubby and Kiddo were waiting in the minivan, which Hubby had already backed out into the driveway, when I headed out the door.
And here is where things started going south in a hurry. I was putting the bag with our shoes in it (as we were wearing our sensible winter boots due to the weather) in the back next to Kiddo when Hubby, noting the freezing rain pelting down, suggested I grab the large umbrella out of the back seat of his car so we'd have enough coverage for the walk to church (Kiddo is a bit of an umbrella hog). We'd read about the parking situation at this particular church - that being that they don't really have any - and knew we were in for a bit of a walk. I turned around and started back into the garage to grab that umbrella.
The next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the icy, icy driveway. Did I mention it was icy? It wasn't actually the "next thing" I knew, for as always seems to happen when I fall, time freezes into super-slow-motion and it feels like it is taking an eternity for my body to meet the ground. (Hubby disputed this over lunch, saying that no, one second I was standing by the front of the van and the next I wasn't. He swears it was a "blink of an eye" sort of thing.)
Now, traditionally I have One Big Fall each winter season. (The length of said season depends on where we're living - sometimes it is just January-March, nowadays it's more November-April.) It is an accepted fact among those who know me that I will fall, spectacularly, once each year. I generally breathe a sigh of relief once the One Big Fall has happened, as I know I'll be safe from there on out, and I dread those years when the OBF doesn't occur until March or April. Now, there has been the occasional season when I do fall more than once, and there is even the rare year that I don't fall at all. But generally speaking, there's One Big Fall each winter.
So, it was today. I landed rather heavily on my left hand/arm. Not in any conscious "I shall stop myself from falling by breaking said fall with my left hand" sort of way, because my Spectacular Falling Method does not employ any such choreography. It's much more pratfall than graceful sinking to the ground. My best OBF ever occurred back in 1997, when I was working at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH - aka The Land of Neverending Winter (followed by the Inexplicable yet Quite Accurately Named "Mud Season"). One February morning that year, as I was heading in from the parking lot to the building that housed my office along a very slippery sidewalk, I did one of those both-feet-out-from-under-me moves typified by the expression "ass over teakettle" (though Dame Helen Mirren used a more colorful, British variant of the same euphemism quite famously at the Emmy Awards a few years back). My bagged lunch and bag of shoes, which I had in my right hand, and my purse, which I had on my left shoulder, went sailing off into the bushes and snow all around me and I even managed to lose one of my gloves (which I'd been, you know, wearing) in what Dane Cook would call a fit of joy. Of course there were several witnesses of the Snooty Ivy League Graduate Student variety, which meant far more in the way of pointing and snickering in my general direction than any offers of help or inquiries as to the state of my extremely prone body. That added note of humiliation, coupled with the incredible amount of hangtime my suddenly horizontal body had whilst in midair, definitely qualified that as the Best. OBF. Ever.
But I digress. Back to this year's edition of my OBF. There I was, sprawled upon the icy, icy driveway. I managed to get up without falling again and limped into the house for a wound check. Hubby and Kiddo were quite concerned, but I determined I was all right once I'd washed the grit and stones out of my palm and wrist. (Kiddo did pipe up with the helpful tip that if I'd been wearing my gloves when I fell, my hand would've been protected. Thanks.) I grabbed an icepack for the road and away we headed to church.
It turns out that more than our driveway was really, really icy. Our neighborhood is in a very hilly area, and the main road into the village is in and of itself a large, large hill. The road out of our subdivision empties out about 2/3 of the way up one side of this hill, and the most direct way to the church means turning onto and going up the rest of the way and then down again. Well, the minivan wasn't so sure about the whole "going up" bit, and when we'd gotten to the top, we came upon an accident involving at least two cars and a street sign, along with a fireman who was waving us off to turn around. So, we did, opting to carefully make our way down the hill the other way and take the other route into the village. (Kiddo: "Is this a shortcut?" Hubby: "No, this is actually a longcut.")
So now we're pushing it in terms of getting to church on time. (Oooh, brief musical interlude here.....) We carefully make our way to the church without further incident and Hubby lets Kiddo and me out right in front before driving off to find parking. By the time he finds a spot and makes his way back to the church, the service is well underway. I think we were about 12 minutes late by the time we walked into the sanctuary, though we were not, I'd like to note, the latest people to arrive.
No, we weren't the latest but still, turning up late at a new church doesn't make a very good impression. In my haste to get Kiddo to pipe down as we entered the sanctuary, I completely missed the usher who was attempting to hand me a bulletin, so that plus the distraction of being late, keeping Kiddo in line (she's had serious ants in the pants going on all day) and the relatively searing pain that occurred every time I tried to straighten out my left arm, it didn't make for a peaceful and satisfying worship experience. Add to that the fact that this was a Presbyterian church so there were bits of it that differed from the UM service we are used to, and bleargh. (Case in point: The Lord's Prayer found Hubby and I saying, as we are accustomed, "forgive us our TRESPASSES as we forgive those who TRESPASS against us" while the rest of the congregation all was saying "Forgive us our DEBTS as we forgive our DEBTORS" and let me tell you, of all the things to be saying fervently yet incorrectly aloud, something chock full of sibilance is really going to stand out.)
So, the service concluded and we went off to collect Kiddo from Sunday School, to which she'd happily gone off with a girl she knew from school who'd also gone up front for the Children's Moment. We arrived at the classroom to find Kiddo wearing an angel's costume, having secured herself a part in their upcoming Christmas pageant. We were introduced to and spoke at length with the Director of Christian Education, who assured us Kiddo was most welcome to be in their pageant and that they'd be rehearsing from 11 until 12:30 today so we could come back and pick her up then. We talked it over with Kiddo and she assured us she really, really wanted to be in the pageant and off she skipped with nary a backward glance to the sanctuary to rehearse with the rest of the children.
We wandered about the very crowded Fellowship Hall for coffee hour for a bit, then headed past the sanctuary and went home to change and for me to strap an ice wrap on my now throbbing and swollen left elbow. I took a few Advil for good measure, since I'm certainly not getting any younger so I don't bounce back as quickly as I might've from my OBFs of years past. When we returned to the church around 12:20, one of the Sunday School teachers was sitting with a de-costumed Kiddo in the front pew. Uh-oh. She then explained to us that Kiddo had changed her mind about being in the pageant as the rehearsal got underway and had proceeded instead to sit in the front pew, crying. Not crying about the pageant, mind you, but because she'd eaten a doughnut with the other Sunday School children right before the practice started and, having eaten a doughnut at home for breakfast, was suddenly stricken with remorse that Mommy might not have wanted her to eat a second doughnut and that she might get in trouble for eating too much sugar. (Which: did I mention the ants in the pants? Sigh.) She had explained all of this at length to the Sunday School teacher, about how Mommy would be so, so mad about her eating that doughnut and how that was why she was crying, because she knew that Mommy would be so, so mad.
Ugh. To sum up the first impression this church has of us: We arrive late, foist our child upon them and then leave (though, as Hubby rightly pointed out, the other parents all left as well) so that our child could whip herself up into a hissy fit about having eaten a doughnut (um, guilty conscience there much, Kiddo? Getting that general sense of "knowing better" and the subsequent guilt that comes with doing it anyway? Fanfreakingtastic, but next time, let's try to keep the histrionics display for family only, mmmkay?), turn on the waterworks and quit the pageant, while also demonstrating what appeared to be a significant amount of fear at the pending Wrath of her Wacko Mother over the minor transgression of eating a doughnut. I mean, Kiddo turned it on as she is wont to do, being a junior Meryl Streep and all. I'm sure they were expecting me to whip out a switch and flay her alive right there in the sanctuary or something. Yeesh.
On that note, we made our way back out into the sleety rain and headed off to my birthday lunch, with a now sulky and petulant Kiddo in the back seat. Happy, happy, joy, joy. We arrive at the restaurant, Macaroni Grill, where we've gone to eat for my birthday for the last several years (um, okay, over a decade). I do adore their food and they make a "dessert ravioli" that is to die for.
Well, they *used* to make a dessert ravioli that is to die for, anyhow. Turns out they changed the menu since last December and the dessert ravioli is gone. Bummer. The rest of our lunch was fairly delightful and the chocolate cake covered with chocolate ganache and crumbled pecans, surrounded by dollops of fresh whipped cream was almost an acceptable substitute for the dessert ravioli. It would've been better if Kiddo, aka Ants in the Pants Annie, hadn't decided to end her two year aversion to all things chocolate (which yes, I never fully understood, or even partially understood. I mean, to suddenly go from loving to refusing CHOCOLATE? What the heck?!) and grabbed a fork to join in on the piece Hubby and I were sharing. In doing so, she managed to scoop up all the dollops of fresh whipped cream, which took the delightfulness factor down a notch or two.
On that note, we headed home again, home again, jiggety jig. I went upstairs to change out of Clothes That Require Things Like Zippers and Brassieres and into Comfy Clothes, aka my jammies. In the bathroom, I was taking out my earrings when my left arm - you know, the one I landed on mere hours ago? - decided to suddenly send a searing pain up to my left hand and kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk, I dropped the earring I was holding. The toilet lid was down and I wasn't right over the sink (which, granted, pretty much anywhere in our master bath is basically "right over the sink" unless you're in the Pepto-Bismol stall shower), so I didn't fret about it too much. However, I couldn't find it anywhere, which befuddled me and led me to believe that it must've fallen into the mostly full garbage can that sits between the toilet and sink (because the dang bathroom's too small to put it anywhere else, including under the ridonkulously small vanity). Now, this wasn't an expensive earring, just a $5 faux-diamond stud, so I decided that I was not about to go dumpster diving in my own bathroom just to retrieve it. With my luck, it didn't fall in there anyhow and I'll find it by stepping on it in the middle of the night when I get up for a drink of water without putting my glasses on...........
So, there you have me today. Bruised, swollen, probably banned from the new church, unstuffed by dessert ravioli and missing an earring. The cat is presently perched in the windowsill just behind my computer monitor, and I'm fully expecting her little, kitty head to whip around a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist and spew forth furballs upon me and/or my computer. (No, I'm not linking to that particular film clip. You're welcome.) Ants in her Pants Annie is whinging away in the next room wanting me to play with her, and at my refusals (because, ahem, I'm working on the Christmas presents for the grandparents right now...) is whinily asking the Magic 8 Ball "Oh Magic 8 Ball, tell me true, will Mommy finish doing her boring work and play with her kid?" And I do have to finish the project, which I can't get into as certain of the grandparents have been known to read my blog and I can't spill the beans, but let's just say there is a lot of creative input and uploading type work involved as well as completion deadlines for shipping in time for Christmas and if my kid is Ants in her Pants Annie, well I might as well confess that my own mother has called me Last Minute Annie for the past 37 years and 364 days... so I'd better get to it.
At least tomorrow I have this to look forward to...
Maybe hitting my late thirties won't be so bad after all...