I’m no longer allowed out of the kitchen
with its shiny hardwood floors while holding Mott’s Cranberry Raspberry Sauce in the little half-cup container.
Did my husband Alex impose this fierce rule on me? No, not at all. In fact, he’s at work and in the dark about the new law designed to keep me off carpeted areas of our house with red-colored food that flies far, lands with multiple splats, and resists two name brand carpet cleaners.
I am a klutz.
If my parents could have done one thing differently during my formative years, it wouldn’t have been guitar lessons or athletic training. I loved the gift, but the guitar they got me for Christmas when I was sixteen gathers dust and nothing could help me improve at any sport beyond croquet.
My folks should have done the thing most foreign in our neighborhood, in the Griffith clan, and sent me to finishing school. I clearly was not around when walking with poise was doled out. Nope. I was queued in some other line that day.
This lack of coordination has reared its ugly head throughout my life.
Shall I mention the pistachio fiasco?
There was no particular reason for my anti-pistachioism. I don’t think these small, greenish nuts have a bad taste. But where I crave raw walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts, almonds, and even the roasted-over-an-open-fire chestnut at Christmastime, I’ve never said: Man, I’ve got to get some pistachios; or hey, load up my beloved vanilla ice cream with pistachios, please.
Alex decided we should have a new nut in the house (I assume he meant besides me) and bought a bag of pistachios in their wretched shells. I realized that I should broaden my narrow taste buds and give pistachios another try. Alex expertly cracked a couple of the shells with his bare fingers, dumped them in my palm, and away I went. Not bad. Still, a unique taste that struck my tongue as a bit bitter, but edible.
My trials and tribulations start, as always, when my husband leaves me on my own.
Bad things frequently happen when Alex absents himself. Read Good Windows & Indiana Jones, to understand. Back to that infernal nut…. Eternally optimistic of my abilities, I grabbed the bag and set myself to pulling apart the shells. It was working. Then I came up against The Nut That Did It. I couldn’t get the shell open for anything. Did I behave intelligently and find the silver nutcracker? Don’t be silly, it was in the other room. Nope, I stuck the nut in the back of my mouth and crunched down.
The crown was old but it may have lasted years longer if I hadn’t broken a wee chunk off in deciding to use my precious teeth as pliers. I called my dentist and admitted what I did. The receptionist laughed, recalling when I previously rang up and said: I broke my tooth on a Curiously Strong Altoid Mint.
My dentist replaced the crown and three months later, the pain hadn’t ceased. She sent me for the first root canal appointment I suffered in decades.
First. Did you catch that?
I had to go back a second time and have another nerve dug out. When the endodontist explained, I instantly felt the physical terror of the launch when we rode the Mission to Mars rocket at Epcot. I made it through the G-force take off, the soaring through space, the landing on Mars and the plunging over the edge of the cliff to re-land. My first thought wasn’t one of success, it was: Dear heavens if they make me fly home I’m going to scream at the top of my lungs.
So it was enduring three appointments for the Great Root Canal Experience.
Back to the non-athletic part of my life…
When my nephew was five, he tried to teach me Pac-man. I charged on for some while before finally giving up. As my dad joined Adam, I heard my nephew state with utter dismay, “Grandpa, Aunt Rosemary doesn’t get this.” I didn’t hear Dad’s reply because I was laughing. I did not get Pac-man at all.
A life time later and the ability to coordinate arms and legs with what my brain is instructing them to do has not improved. Often, I can hide this fact. At least from myself if not from those observing me. A man I worked would remark, “It’s okay Rosemary, we just had that wall put in,” when I careened off a corner.
In high school my senior year, I auditioned for Color Guard—those folks who twirl flags and make pretty displays at half-time. I was so bad that the music director, feeling sorry for me, had me carry the American flag. That was it, straight vertical and occasionally tilted forward. Even I couldn’t muck that up.
Once upon a time I did FitnessGlo. I started with beginner workouts, concentrating on weights and simple cardio moves that I could handle. Next, I dove into their Peak 10 program—designed to get you into shape in, you guessed it, ten weeks. Which put it in time for a formal event and me being able to feel confident in a little black dress.
If I survived the course without a leg in a cast.
Initially, many participants were less able to get it together than me. It was amazing that I could do better than someone. The joke was soon on me as the instructor—clearly explaining the moves—bounced around this way and that with the new students experts at following. Thus began the forbidding of my husband from being in the room while I participated, ever thankful the sessions weren’t visually interactive.
As a gym rat, I stuck to the bike, elliptical, and weight machines. I never once ventured into the Zumba room, although I yearned to dance to the energetic music. My restraint in joining clearly reveals a note or two of wisdom as I lifted dumbbells and using the rowing simulator. Of course, I did stretch my Achilles heel too far pressing weights and had to go through physical therapy….
My equestrian efforts…
I could tell you about scars from 17 stitches due to my attempts at being a graceful rider of large, imposing beasts—the accidents 20 years apart. One involved a hole in my arm, concussion, and fractured skull. The other concluded with an able riding friend leading the two horses to her trailer, calmly saying, “You might need a stitch or two.” I looked in the truck’s mirror at the blood streaming down my face and chortled in laughter at the understatement—“Might?” There was a hole above my right eyebrow and a gnash slicing through it.
Other boo boos
While I’m confessing, I should reveal the time I waxed that hardwood floor in the kitchen. Yes, the room I’m now limited to with purple foods. The floor was shiny and I had on wool socks and you see where I’m going with this, right? I had to slide across it and see how far I could get. When you’re a kid, what’s better in the world than doing a grand slide like that?
Why should children have all the fun just because they bounce and recover better than adults?
The sun was streaming in the garden window, the sliding door was open from dining room to deck and the birds were cheering for me. I got my groove on.
Alex arrived home and I tried out my new trick for him. Except I changed directions and this time I did not come to the same calm vertical stop as I had when sliding toward the refrigerator. No, rather I crashed directly into the pantry door, landing on my hip, butt, and one elbow. Like a cat, I flew to my feet insinuating my intent to fall, only to see Alex doing two things simultaneously: asking, sincerely, if I was okay and biting his cheeks to keep from bursting with raucous laughter.
The accident that goes with the photo of my knees…
My most recent ballet-snafu was the crash landing I made into the driveway. Another lovely day and had it been winter I’d have been more cautious on the concrete steps. But no, those birds were at it again and then a dog barked and I turned to see who it was—Hank the giant lab, Hudson the tall poodle, or one of the little chaps in our dog-filled neighborhood.
Alas, in looking other than where the next spot my foot was to land, I missed the lower step and managed somehow to hit both knees and yet twist my ankle at the same time.
The pain! It shot through my gut like the day I broke my almost-collarbone downhill skiing. landed in a mound of snow and ice with such a whoosh that I called out to my instructor, “Don’t touch me. I broke something.” All I could do was laugh—it was the last run of my second day of lessons.
There I was prone in the driveway, cradling my ankle with both palms, tears in my eyes. At once I realized three neighbors could spot me and not wanting anyone to panic, I jumped up—as best I could on one good leg—and hobbled into the house, whatever errand I was on my way to run long forgotten.
At least I can provide humor to others through my mishaps.
At least I hope you’re laughing.
Aging should help…
You’d think that as you get older and therefore have lived with your body longer that you would learn to get the parts moving in sync with one another. Perhaps for other people, this happens. For me, body-part-synchronicity is not in the cards. At the end of any exercise session, I am thankful that I haven’t dropped a weight on my foot, fallen face first off the Yoga ball, or twisted my neck the wrong way doing Pilates—little blessings combining to provide my own version of success.
I’ve tried moving slower, really I have. The incidences of me falling down or up the interior stairs have gotten less. In fact it’s been at least three months since I last tumbled into the TV room to make a dramatic, Kramer-like entrance, Alex invariable yelling, “Stop that before you hurt yourself.”
There’s a bit of the history of my missing elegance.
For my snack, I opened my bright blazing purple-red Cranberry Raspberry Sauce, got a spoon, and decided to walk through the dining room and enjoy our backyard view while eating, watching those darned enticing birds again. I made it to the archway when the hand holding the sauce, which is connected to the shoulder that hit the arch, spun the container from me and threw the concoction onto the wall in the corner, under the dining room table over to the sideboard against the wall six feet away, onto two chair legs, and the carpet in between.
I stood in stunned fascination while I assessed the splatter patterns like a good CSI investigating the activities of an unsupervised three-year-old.
Over the decades of my life I’ve realized that I have traits I can change and traits I can’t.
Apparently, this crashing talent of mine isn’t going away anytime soon. No sense in beating myself up about it. I’ll adjust, regroup, and banish myself from certain parts of our home at certain times. It will be a safer, cleaner place around here if I eat colored food in a room with a floor I can wash.