I wish someone would write one of those “What to Expect when you’re expecting” for turning 50.

I really wish that someone would write a book on what to expect when you are turning 50 because I think I’m doing it wrong. I don’t feel like I’m fifty. I still feel like I’m in my early forties. Anyone else feel that way? I look at all the latest fashions and think I could definitely rock that. Then my 19-year-old daughter gives me the look. You mothers out there, you know the look. It says everything without uttering a word. It says, oh Mom, how can you be so clueless? You look absolutely stupid in that. I acknowledge the look. I realize I have had an error in judgement and hang my head in shame. Turning back to the dressing room I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and I am shocked to see a middle-aged, slightly overweight woman, with a bit of a double chin looking back at me.

Now, I know some people are perfectly fine with being the age that they are. Not me, I going kicking and screaming because I can’t reconcile who I am on the inside with who I am on the outside. I think, well, if I can lose 20 pounds I’ll feel and look better. Yes, and that would be amazing considering my job is to stare at my computer until words appear on the screen. It doesn’t burn many calories.

Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room, I believe I’m also going through menopause. This is the point in a woman’s life when her emotional state goes from depression to rage, to tears, to screaming at the car in front of you because they are going the speed limit. I’m really glad I don’t own a gun.

Another fun fact of menopause is the weight you gain because your body is not getting estrogen from your ovaries and decides to layer on pounds around your mid-section so the extra fat can provide the estrogen your body needs. Look at most women in their fifties. We all tend to have the same body type. It’s just not fair.

Oh, and while were at it, just exactly what is happening to my hands? Why are my hands turning into these wrinkly old lady hands. People tell me I don’t look my age. What does my age look like? Well I guess we could look at celebrities who are over 50. Sandra Bullock will be turning 50 this year. She certainly doesn’t look like what my mothers decade looked like at 50. Demi Moore, Kate Couric, Christie Brinkley, Dorothy Hamill there actually is quiet a list of celebrities over 50 that look fabulous. Now granted these women have the money to have plastic surgery, so there’s that. But is it is possible for the average woman to continue to look great over 50? I certainly hope so. I’m going to try. But it still comes back to the original question. What is a 50-year-old woman supposed to look and act like? If someone writes the “What to Expect when you’re 50” book let me know. Until then I guess I’ll just have to wing it and if my daughter doesn’t like me dancing around in our living room to “Just get lucky” by Daft punk and singing into a spoon, tough!

Honey, my golden doodle, has to wear snow boots now.

So the winter isn’t just taking a toll on us, it’s causing injuries to our pets as well. Honey, our golden doodle, hurt her paw somehow so now she has to wear boots when she goes out. Let me tell you just how much fun that is, every time she wants to go out I have to Velcro 4 boots on her. She’s so funny to watch once she goes out. She thinks she can step out of them. It’s hysterical!

Honey, dog, golden doodle, boots, snow

Honey hurt her paw so now she has to wear boots in the snow. She is not a happy camper.

My most unexpected yard sale find

First, let me just say, I love yard sales. I live in an area where there are many upscale communities and every weekend the yard sale section of our newspaper is filled with ads. You would not believe the things I have bought for next to nothing. So it killed me to have my own yard sale on one of the last good days in October, when yard sales are at their peak. Everyone is trying to take advantage of the final few warm weekends before November and the crowds dwindle.

For the past two years I have been saying that I was going to have a yard sale. The unfinished part of my basement has been my holding area for the boxes and bags of things I have wanted to get rid of for probably the last three years. The space is overflowing with clothes, flower arrangements, Barbie’s, large plastic toys, scooters, bikes and various other cast-off. Literally, I had to a clear path to my treadmill, and believe me, I will use any excuse not to exercise. So the stuff had to go.

When we finally were able to agree on a date, which was not easy given my families various schedules, I put the ad in the paper. So, no backing out now, it was definitely going to happen. I forgot just how much hard work goes into preparing for a yard sale. The hours it takes to go through your house and decide what goes, what stays, what gets donated or gets thrown away.

I like to have most of the item set up on tables the night before. This way I can just open my garage door and I am ready to go. The early birds, people who show up before the time the sale is supposed to start, get the best stuff. If you are a “hard core” yard sale shopper, this is a very competitive sport. The early birds do tend to get the best things.

The last yard sale I had I made $240. Not bad. So my goal was to top that. I was also going to try a new pricing strategy, mostly because I was too tired and lazy to price every single item. My idea was to have a real blow-out sale. Price everything really cheaply. Go for volume. The strategy paid off. We made over $400! Crazy, right, cash for my trash. Some people do not like to have yard sales. They do not want to do the work or deal with the people. But I’ll tell you, I really enjoyed it.

The benefits I got from having the sale goes further than the money we made. I finally met one of my neighbors who has lived across the street from me for two years. Another neighbor, who lives further up the my street, who I knew just on a casual basis, I found shares my passion for fixing up and restoring old furniture. While buying Bratz and Polly pocket dolls for her girls, we struck up a conversion about yard sales, she also trash picks, come on now, don’t judge. She has gotten some great pieces that way. We bonded over stories we each had of finding some amazing pieces at ridiculously low prices. For example, I bought a Fairfield office chair, in great condition, for $20. They retail new for between $800 to $900 dollars.

I brought her into my house and showed her one of my favorite finds. Two antique cabinets, with ornate spindle legs, with fabulous details in the cabinet doors, one had a Birdseye maple inlay that was absolutely gorgeous. You can’t buy this kind of furniture any more. The craftsmanship was excellent. The story the owner told me was that they had been shipped to America, in the 1900’s, from Germany, by his grandmother. He did not have room for them and would sell them to me for $30 each. How could I say no? One piece I painted Marine Blue using chalk paint and the other I refurnished to its original condition. After examining them she told me they would each sell for at least $150.

I told her I was still looking for door knob for the Marine blue cabinet. She said she had already been to another sale that day and came across a women selling vintage crystal and brass door pulls. I agonized over not being able to go to the sale myself and see them. Strangely enough, I did end up with those drawer pulls. The woman who bought them at that yard sale bought the lot of them. Then, when she came to my yard sale, she saw the furniture I was refinishing and told me that she had just bought the door pulls. My eyes must have lit up because she told me she would sell me some. I bought eight of the most beautiful antique crystal and brass door pulls, that I will get to use on some future project.

Later on, my neighbor from up the street pulled up and the end of my driveway. She asked me if I wanted to look at a piece of furniture she had just bought for $33, a beautiful antique, chest of drawers, in need of some love. When she bought it home and her husband had a fit. Their three car garage was now a one car garage due to her accumulation of projects and they did not have any more room for it.. Did I want it? Are you kidding? Of course I did. I paid her with the money I made from my garage sale and she drove the piece to my house. My husband said playfully, “You are buying things, from the people who are buying things, from us, at our yard sale?” He just shook his head.

What really surprised me just how much I truly enjoyed meeting the people who came to shop and hearing their stories. As a writer and a stay-at-home mom, I really have not had much time to concentrate on making, or even finding new friends. How lucky I was that these wonderful women came to me. So, I find it somewhat ironic, that while I set out just to make some money and unclutter my house, what I ended up doing was something much more valuable,  making some great new friends.

Love’s Labour’s Lost (Or Why Yoga Pants are Bad for Your Marriage)

Oh sing it sister!

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

vintage-wedding-veil“Oh,” my husband recently sighed.   “The yoga pants.”

Sometimes it takes a cataclysmic event to rock your relationship, to make you sit down and take a good, hard look at your emotional surroundings; a serious illness, an extra-marital affair, a trial or a tribulation that must be faced.  Sometimes those head on collisions, those crashes of reality versus expectation, are the tipping point in whether a marriage survives, or whether it bursts into flames on the way down.  Summits are called, G8 meetings of marital accord.  Contracts are pulled out and scrutinized.  They may be renegotiated, they may be declared sound and worthy, they may be declared null and void.  Statistics are on your side, either way.

But sometimes it is not the seismic jolt of matrimonial earth, but a slight shift of a relationship fault line.  Something seemingly inconsequential.  A subtle shift in attitude, an air of difference…

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The Wonder Years

After receiving this assignment, I went through my purse, my desk and junk drawer.  I couldn’t find anything to interesting to write about. When suddenly the “To Do List” my oldest daughter left lying on my desk caught my eye. I’m currently having an ongoing, well let’s see, what should I call it? Disagreement; is probably the best way to describe it, with my 18-year-old daughter. A “To Do List”, she left on my desk, not for herself, but for me! It hit me like a bucket of cold water in the face. What kind of insanity is this? When did I become her secretary? She walks around declaring her independence. I know this is a stage that every teen goes through, but I really don’t remember the part of stage where I become her secretary. Anyone else get “To Do Lists” from their teenage children? Maybe it’s just me.

I’m calling this piece “The Wonder Years” because I’m wondering exactly where I went wrong.  I grew up in a lower middle class home. My father worked in an oil refinery and my mother stayed at home. We struggled to make ends meet. You better make sure you shut the windows and turned the lights out at my house. There was no college fund for me. If I wanted to have a fancy wedding, I would have to pay for it.  Growing up I knew I would have to work hard to get what I wanted out of life.

My family has been fortunate.  Our children grew up in a somewhat affluent atmosphere, and yes, I’ll say it, we spoiled them. We also encouraged and stressed that they could be whatever they wanted. We wanted to raise our children differently than then how we had been raised. Although, I still do find myself yelling about shutting windows and turning off lights. Out of love, we told our children they were special. Everyone gets a ribbon, just for participating, trophies for all the children on the team whether they won or lost. By raising our children this way, I believe we set our children’s expectations too high and ultimately, set them up to be unhappy.

This high self-esteem that we were trying to foster in our children has actually back fired. When your child is not accepted at a fancy “name brand” college and has to shockingly, settle, for a local or dare I say it, community college.  They get a nice, big, bitter taste of reality. The world, it seems, doesn’t care how special they are.  You don’t have to go to a big name school in order to get a good job. Try and tell that to a child who you’ve been telling how wonderful they are all their life. I finally told my daughter, after almost 4 months of listening to her complaining about having to go to a local college,

“Get over it. Move forward from here. This is the real world.” Welcome! It’s tough out there. Wear a helmet.