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Hot and Bothered? Learn to Laugh More

More than once this week I have laughed out loud at the bizarre turns that life has taken lately. In a matter of a week I’ve come to realize that it’s not uncommon for Murphy’s Law to rear its ugly little head when the weather is hot and moods are bizarre. I have decided this week, for example, to name my car Ruffles. For a brief period of time I was fuming at every ding and dent that appeared on her while she was left unprotected in a parking garage as I slogged through two states to get to work in 100 degree heat. But now I have simply accepted that she has ridges. They give her character, so I’m letting them go. Ruffles have ridges. All will be well.

This week I took a four pound zucchini out of my garden, and so far we’ve made a pie, slaw, ribbons to mix with pasta and pesto, breaded & fried slices…and about 2/3 of it still remains in my fridge. I’ve also plucked about thirty tomatoes and seventeen cukes. In addition, I have been eating home-grown lettuce for months and sautéing spinach, chard and peppers from our modest plot. Two Japanese eggplants are tantalizingly swinging from their leafy perch just asking to be baked with cheese. Is there something new in the NJ soil that I don’t know about? Well, I have accepted it and I do not want to know what it is.

On Thursday, a miscommunication caused confusion with a group of people I am working with. At first I was angry and was 100% ready to track down an administrative employee and demand answers. By Friday, I decided that I was lucky to have made it through a weird week with only one miscommunication and let it go. Why? Because I was also once an admin who “forgot” to go up three flights and hang up a sign…well no; actually, I didn’t but I’m sure I had my share of doozies as a new worker bee. Misunderstanding forgotten on behalf of having been a newbie myself.

Friday began another DIY weekend at Casa de Keri and we decided to sand and stain the doors in our apartment to go with our upcoming lobby remodel that has been planned since we got here…in 2006. Why is it happening now, you may ask? Well there was asbestos, then an explosion while the asbestos was being removed (which we all had to pay for since we own the units…even though the stuff was in the walls of the basement—hmm) because someone left a blowtorch on. I know, but I really couldn’t make this stuff up. Then there were a couple of gas leaks, some roofs being ripped off in dire straits and repaired and now gutters, lobbies and I hear eventually fences to replace those that fell down…slowly over the past six years. And what better time to revamp our lobbies since they all failed inspection? Who says things don’t work themselves out! Anyway—back to my DIY project…

After signing the closing papers on our long, long, long awaited refinance bright and early Saturday morning, we sanded, stained and stood staring proudly at Door #1. Cherry shaded oak shining in the Saturday sun, glinting pretty and ready to be rehung. My guy is really good at this stuff. I’ve learned a lot. Humidity being high we decided to let it dry outside, and hilarity ensued. It was about to storm around dinnertime, so we brought in the door and it was doing nicely lounging in the hallway, laid out on two sawhorses. What’s so funny about that? Well we realized we would have no company this weekend, and also no privacy. We had anticipated a quicker dry and ironically—it was the bathroom door. Fun times! And deep breaths allowed me to laugh instead of being frustrated—what a nice feeling.

Making a pact with myself this Spring to feel healthier, I’ve been hitting the gym, but recently got a bit bogged down and slacked off. Saturday I decided I would go to the gym and work out as hard as I could until I couldn’t do anything more. After an hour and a half of cardio, my shoulders were down where they belong—sweet! And after another 20 minutes of stretching, my legs felt longer and I was standing up straight, looking forward to the juice I would sip and savor on the way home. As I stretched out and cooled down, I overheard a pair of teenagers talking about their workouts. They didn’t want to “get fat or flabby” you see, so they were “gonna like go to the gym every single day for reals”

I stifled a giggle…barely.

As they carried on I hear the word old, followed by thirty, and the words really old followed by forty. Feeling a bit red, I glanced over at the two orange sprayed new drivers. Barbie turns to Skipper and whispers something and they snicker in the general direction of where I am. This I couldn’t resist.

Noting that there happened to be several other women stretching on my side of the room, who were also enjoying the young chatter and exchanging glances and eye-rolls with one another I raised my brows and grinned. Flushing faces ensued and they whispered (but really didn’t whisper because I could hear them clearly over the music blaring from the ceiling) “What’s her problem, and why are they all looking at us!”

Moments like this are just so rare I couldn’t resist.

“I’m sorry, was it that we were old, really old, a bit fat, too flabby, or laughing directly at you? We dinosaurs really aren’t able to keep up with you young lasses you know. Whatever is the matter dear?”

Pronounced smoothly in my best Betty White voice, followed by a brief moment of silence… and appropriately closed with hysterical laughter from my stretching buddies—perfection ensued. Eventually the girls even smiled.

So why did this bring me such satisfaction? I’ll tell you. I am only thirty five and everyone in the room was probably between thirty and fifty five. We laughed together because we each saw a bit of ourselves in Barbie and Skipper (Not their real names.) And if you can’t laugh at yourself—you shouldn’t be laughing at others, because they will laugh at you someday. Plus I don’t feel old, flabby or fat and neither did my fellow stretchers. That is something to smile about.

Besides all the wacky things that the heat brings—thunderstorms every time I get a carwash, winds so strong they enter my living room and scatter the paper all over the room while sticking my hair firmly in SPF 30 lip balm, sweat that seems to weigh me down as I walk my four legged friends a zillion times a day only to need yet another shower; there is also much good that arrives with summer. Books for one are my best summer friends. As I eagerly anticipate my hardcover copy of Odd Apocalypse in the snail mail, I have almost finished Wool, which feels quite apocalyptic and has made me think about reading all The Hunger Games. Wouldn’t you know it’s an indie that made me do it!

The four pound zucchini was hilarious, but I realize that despite having it as my profile picture, posed with my dogs, sitting next to my laptop for scale, it tastes awesome, isn’t nearly finished, has five plump brothers on the vine and saved me a huge chunk of dough—as did the tomatoes and cukes. Naming my car Ruffles gave me a reason to laugh at the ridiculousness of being mad at the dent fairy who visits me every couple weeks. I would assume her wand is losing power day by day. The girls in the gym made me appreciate that although I am far from a Jillian Michaels kind of fit, I can run and not pass out, eat healthy and feel good—even when it’s hot. Knowing I can come home to my Nook or a book to take me away after these long days: priceless seems too mild a word.

Sunday morning I ate a bagel because I wanted one. Then I calculated its calories, went to the gym and sweated them off plus two hundred extra or so for good measure. When I got home Wool was waiting and I smiled as my Nook lit up with the promise of a great story. I mean really, every day is our own great story. We just need to write it down. If for no other reason than “nobody’s gonna believe this” please, do write it down.

Write your life! It’s funny—and trust me I’m laughing right along with you.

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