Getting Old: Hot and Cold

Getting old is bullshit.

By bullshit, I mean it is amazing.

Here’s how getting older is bullshit.

I’ve been working out regularly since January. I mean, I still have a ways to go before I’d consider myself in good shape, but I’m fucking better than I’ve been in years.

I do a plank every day. I do wall sits. This shit isn’t easy.

So, one would think that the act of cooking Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be enough to hobble me for days.

Yet, there I was, on Thanksgiving evening, writhing in agony because I hurt my back while cooking. The turkey wasn’t even that big. Only 13 pounds.

I understand my basic mistake. I stood for hours, in my bare feet, on a ceramic tile floor. This is just something I can no longer do.

Arch support!

I can no longer ignore arch support no matter how fast I do a mile on the elliptical.

Also, mistakes were made when I allowed a 7 year old granddaughter and a 9 year old granddaughter to join me in a recliner. I didn’t move for quite a while, but I regret nothing. Being covered in grandchildren is worth it. Mostly.

I probably shouldn’t have done that either.

Friday morning, the kids and grandkids went for an outing.

I love them all dearly. I am so glad we got to spend time together. I am grateful for our children and our grandchildren. I am grateful for the people our children brought into our lives.

I was also grateful that they were going to be gone for a sustained period of time. My back was in agony and I had to feel better because I was taking my mother to see the afternoon show of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Even though I was in pain and even though I wanted nothing more than to soak in a hot tub, I had to clean it out first.

I am not pointing fingers at who’s pubes were in the tub. Could have been one of my stepdaughter’s. Could have been Joey’s. Could have been mine.

I just knew I wasn’t going to risk soaking in a hot tub with my son in law’s pubes floating around.

Our bedroom still reeks of Tiger balm, and my back isn’t perfect, but feels better.

I’m just still bummed out by how much it knocked me on my ass. And I’m bummed that I have to finally stop being stubborn about some things.

I love bare feet, but I can’t take hours on end in my bare feet anymore. I just can’t. And that is total bullshit.

But here is how getting older is amazing.

My 80 year old mother and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra the day after Thanksgiving.

So, as it turns out, the show wasn’t what we expected.

I knew the Trans-Siberian Orchestra toured around Christmas every year. I heard clips from commercials. Like a bit from The Nutcracker, but with guitars and drums.

Mom and I thought we were seeing a huge orchestra, from Russia, which would play Christmas music.

As it were, the name Trans-Siberian Orchestra is somewhat misleading.

They aren’t from Russia and the orchestra, while playing a part, isn’t the focus.

They’re like 80s hair metal, but with Christmas songs and a story line that plays out like a Hallmark Christmas movie. If Hallmark makes Christmas movies, I’m not sure. I don’t watch that stuff because it is not interesting to me.

The light show was amazing. But we spent the first 20 minutes kind of just staring, then looking at each other, and then staring some more. Then mom leaned over.

Martha: Shell, what is this?

Me: I have no idea. That guy looks like Angus Young playing something from Nightmare Before Christmas.

Me: They’re not even Russian.

Martha: Are they singing in Latin?

Me, holding my breath to keep from laughing:…

Martha: Seriously, I am worried about that one guy playing guitar. He seems upset.

If I had been younger, I would have been horribly annoyed by the amount of money I spent to take my elderly mother (who could still kick my ass, because she’s been working out a lot longer than I have) to watch some goddamn Christmas music and what the shit is this?

But in that moment, I was present.

My back was in agony and I spun around in my chair like a rotisserie chicken.

The guy in the seat next to me kept swirling his popcorn bucket which would normally drive me mad, but it didn’t. Swirling popcorn was just part of the whole experience.

Plus, my mother did her best to say something to me to make me laugh. 

As I’ve aged, I’ve learned being present means everything. I’ve learned to appreciate how finite we are. It doesn’t scare me and makes appreciate the people I love more.

Okay, finality scares me a little.

During our time, watching a hair metal band work though Christmas music, we were infinite. During that time together, we were going to live forever.

Disclaimer: I have learned that TSO has a big following. I know a lot of people love them. And that is wonderful, but they are so much not my bag.  That being said, even though I would never pay to see them again, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. All the way down to paying ten bucks for two bottles of water. 

Getting old feels amazing.

For so many years, everything was serious. Everything. I didn’t make a lot of time for silliness and that’s a goddamn tragedy.

Mom and I had to sit in the parking garage for over 30 minutes waiting to back out of our space. Randy and I bought a new car and it has a back camera and mom is just fascinated by that.

Martha: Back up a little. I want to see the camera.

Me: We can’t go anywhere.

Martha: You can go a few inches.

So I did.

Martha: Okay, a few more.

So I did.

Martha: C’mon, you have plenty of room.

We didn’t care, one little bit, how ridiculous we looked backing up and stopping half a dozen times. And it’s not like people didn’t see. We were surrounded.

Martha: I am so proud of us.

Me: For what?

Martha: We went to this show and we did great.

Me: We went to an arena that I’ve been to a zillion times and successfully parked in a parking garage? This is your proud mother moment?

Martha: Yeah, I guess. And we still haven’t moved from this spot.

Martha: You suck.


I hope you all had a lovely holiday. I’m looking forward to putting my head down and plowing through the cold weather until spring arrives.

Don’t forget to be present. Don’t forget to appreciate the people you love.

I’m curious. How do you feeling about getting old?


Image courtesy of sabinevanerp.


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  • Agreed. I had to go to yoga on Friday because my back (from my shoulders to my lower back) were a mess from two days of standing in my kitchen cooking. I am considering making fewer things from scratch next year. Thanks for sharing your TSO experience! And for sharing your descriptions of you mother. She’s a rock star.

  • I TOTALLY hear you on the getting old thing. I did not host turkey day, but I made two dishes to bring to my sister’s. Mainly I made vats of chili, sloppy joe’s, and balsamic chicken and peppers. I wanted two college boys to take food back with them. I was going to Louisville for the weekend for Irish dancing championships. I brought mini vats of food for girls and I. Antway Wed night, I wanted to lean across the island and just REST. My low back! My recently-messed-up meniscus in my knee. I pushed on till all food was DONE and my whole body ached.

    Getting old does suck, but it has its advantages. I apologize for less. Care little about what other people think. Do more stuff that I want to do- not the orchestra thing you stumbled across. Writers groups. I delegate more to the capable but messy offspring.

    My least fav thing about being old: requieing cheater glasses for EVERYTHING!

    I appreciate the ‘being present’ message/tip. That’s a good one.

  • Bravo, My Dear! Bravo!
    Lovely experience you made Happen in the Moment <3
    I am one of your known TSO diehards, even if I can't listen to them for the face leakage and heart swelling 😉

    How do I feel about getting older? …meh….
    I am not the prettiest sister, anymore. *sigh* But, I might still be the smartest… damn that Thanksgiving Family Status Reveal, anyway…

    I'm looking into those magnetic eyeliner/lash combos. They looked FAB on my sisters… Should go very well with my Librarian Bun <3

    Yeah… still working on the competitive edge of Sister Rivalry, so… haven't lost my game yet, Biotches!


  • It’s impossible right now for me to think about getting old because I’m laughing too hard at “Angus Young playing something from Nightmare Before Christmas” among other things, including your mother’s fascination with the rearview camera. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to run around behind the car and put my face up to the camera and have my wife take a picture which just makes her sigh and ask, “How old are you?”
    And that’s probably why getting old is kind of sneaking up on me. I’m easily distracted.

  • Omg the stuff about the TSO was too funny. I’ve played with them several times—they always hire a small group of local string players to round out the “orchestra” and frankly, I would also prefer them to be what you imagined.

    Growing old: the past week I kept doing things that required sitting on the floor for a bit and then standing. I don’t recall hurting so much when I stood up before!

    • Yeah, there were local people making up the orchestra, or at least part of it. haha.

      I feel you on the sitting on the ground and getting back up. Since I started working out, that has gotten much easier..but I wouldn’t call it easy.

  • Most days I love it, but like you after undercooking the turkey on Thanksgiving (because I think I am to blind to read the meat thermometer correctly). I was exhausted and so sore! My hands and wrists were killing me! Has the new baby arrived yet? I’ve lost track!

  • G-D bless Epsom Salts! Also when the leg cramps remind you that you aren’t 20 anymore, I go for the Magnesium and Potassium and (usually) within 15 minutes the agony goes away. But not the back. Or the behind (sciatica?). Every day we get older is a new experience, but thankfully, we still have them.

    Hope your holidays stay happy and pain free!

  • The TSO look amazing, and I used to say that the worst day at a rock concert is usually better than the best day anywhere else, but I missed Lucius when they played a club in Petaluma in September because I suck.
    I hope you are feeling better and I did notice that everyone at Thanksgiving dinner at Brenda’s house seemed to be dealing with one health issue or another.
    We have to move out today, and we are not ready and the road to Sugar Pine is impassible due to heavy snow right now, so we may have to stay in a cheap motel room for a couple of days.
    While I was here, I walked to the tennis court at Eagle Park a couple of blocks from here and back each morning, and Saturday was my last walk as the rain has been relentless since then, but I made it there and back in under 20 minutes, which was my goal.
    Not going to be doing much walking at Sugar Pine until the snow melts, so I wanted to get as many walks as possible while we were here.
    I hope the cheap motel is OK with cats…
    Your mom sounds awesome.

  • I feel better about myself at 57 than I have ever felt. I workout and I am emotionally stronger. Getting older is not too bad *2thumbs up*

  • I am catching up because getting old sucks for my dear daddy, who is his own quirky self, hates the orange monster, and can tell you about the articles of impeachment, but not what he had for breakfast. He was in and out of the hospital and now in rehab. which sucks for him, but also sucks for me, because we were all signed up to move him to live close to me when this happened, and now I’m trapped many hours from home with only three shirts and wearing his sweaters. So that is why I am late in posting.
    Many years ago, during the dark depression from 2008-2011, my kid’s school orchestra raised money to have the guy from the TSO visit the school. He did about 4 days at the school, working with the kids from the orchestra, getting them to play the electric violins and cellos and basses and even violas. They stood up and danced while they played. They learned music they hadn’t gotten to play in stuffy school orchestra, and gave a concert at the end of the week with a light show, and solos, and choreography. it was EPIC. Kids who were quiet played solos, everybody wore t shirts and jeans, the audience had a great time, and it was the highlight of a very tough economic time for our family.
    Also, I love your mom. she sounds fun.

By Michelle


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