The State of the Groin Report

I think all men should have a baby.

Just one.

Then they might actually have a clue what pain really is.

Okay, so my husband has pulled groin muscle. I get it. I am sorry, honey. But it’s been three weeks now.

First, the pitiful declaration of ongoing pain and detailed explanation of where and how far it extends to the back of the leg. Next, the amped-up google search to identify why, what, when, where, and how long? After that, the heating pad, the ice, the ibuprofen, the daily reports.

“Today, it’s 20% better,” he said after two and a half weeks. “I can feel it,” he declared, before launching into the litany of symptoms, cures, and pointing to it as the reason he has been comatose on the couch most nights after work. Also, it is most certainly the reason he has been depressed, complaining, and unwilling to exercise.

To his credit, he has walked around our neighborhood rather often, considering his plight. I get a full report on the State of the Groin muscle the minute he enters the door afterward, too.

An added bonus.

“Honey, it’s probably 35-1/2% better today! For instance, if ‘well’ is 100%, then I am 15-1/2% further along in the healing process, because yesterday it was only 20% better!” After this stellar announcement, he walks away, rubbing and slightly favoring his right leg.

I am thinking, if I had a pulled groin muscle (do women even GET pulled groin muscles?) I would pop about three ibuprofen, lighten up on my workouts for a while, and ignore it. My comments to my husband, if I even cared to share it (because women are tough and simply keep going – just sayin’), would be: “Wow, I think I pulled something.”

That would be it.

Seriously.

So now I am faced with my own issues in the face of my husband’s pulled groin muscle: how to respond in a kind and compassionate way without letting on that silently I am composing the most sarcastic remarks ever. (I sure hope my husband does not read this, because so far, I have done a pretty good job appearing concerned and compassionate. This includes pitying expressions, getting ibuprofen and water for him, listening to the State of the Groin reports, and other things a wife should not mention in a blog.)

All I can say is, he is the ONLY man I would do these things for. With a straight face, anyway.

At this point, the State of the Groin report is up to 50%. He is smiling more, he almost has the ole’ bounce back in his step, and miraculously, his job and life in general are more appealing.

I am very relieved. At first, I didn’t really think the groin muscle was the cause of all his woes. I thought he might be sliding into a middle-aged-man-at-the-south-side-of-fifty, midlife depression. I was somewhat worried about this two weeks in. Then I realized, incredulously, that it really was ALL BECAUSE OF THE PULLED GROIN MUSCLE.

I am thinking, are you kidding me?

I wonder if I could pull that off. Can you see it? A woman asking, “Honey,” (voice querulous, shaky) can you, I mean, could you possibly, um…bring me ibuprofen and water? I’m a little (cough cough) sore.”

Or “I don’t think I’m up to anything but laying on the couch tonight. Could you fix dinner, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, listen to my latest State of the Groin report, and bring me the computer so I can check my symptoms for the 1,014th time? (Cough cough) Thanks. I am SO sore.”

Um, no. Women are made of sterner stuff. At least where pulled muscles are concerned.

If he’d had a hernia, for instance, or a definitively serious condition, I would have exhibited ACTUAL compassion, mercy and pity, because I am not heartless and love my husband and want him to feel good. However, after three weeks and extensive research and the certainty that it is not, indeed, serious; I am about to throw compassion out the door and utilize the ‘Coach’ technique.

The ‘Coach’ technique is a big, fat, fail with women, but seems to work wonders with men. Things like, “You’re just a big wuss! What do you think you’re doin’, lyin’ there on the couch? GET UP! GET GOING! BE A MAN!” And et cetera.

Okay, I am not really going to say those things, but it does make me feel better to silently think them when I get the latest State of the Groin report.

And honey, if you read this, remember, humor articles are typically 50% exaggeration. Honest.

Really, they are.

The Secret to a Satisfying Vacation with your Spouse

An annual summer trek to Florida is made all the more interesting when one’s trek does NOT involve children; adult or otherwise. Just two spouses. Together. Seven days.

Alone.

My husband and I met and married in the throes of empty-nesting; and most of our vacations have been accompanied by various assortments of adult kids and grandkids.

We hardly know what to do with one another when we are alone.

Wait. Let me re-phrase that.

Not true. We absolutely know what to do with each other when we are alone, we just did not know what to anticipate or how we would interact on VACATION when we are alone.

So when we set off for seven entire days at the beach, it was with a bit of trepidation on my part, but hopeful optimism that even though we were over 50 and relatively set in our ways, we might re-kindle a bit of romance bouncing in the surf.

My husband, the energizer bunny.

After several intense and meaningful discussions around our individual expectations for the trip, my husband, who nodded off several times during these scintillating conversations, nonetheless brimmed with eager energy when we boarded the plane.

We’d agreed that the first day would be spent on the beach, doing nothing but playing in the water and soaking up the rays. So far, so good.

Day Two, the tug-o-war began. My husband, the energizer bunny-man; and I, the please-let-me-lay-on-the-beach-with-a-book-woman, crafted a pretty good compromise, I thought; by agreeing on morning beach time, and after lunch, an activity or two.

Or three.

Or four, if the decisions is left to my husband.

So Day Two, after lunch, we head up the coast to Clearwater, not foreseeing the inevitable traffic or the older population’s driving habits (slow…and slower) . So we finally arrive in a haze of irritability, park with some difficulty due to the crowds; and visit a public beach, restaurant, and various painted dolphins standing on their tails. By the time we get back to our condo several hours later, I have just enough energy to walk out to the beach and watch the sunset.

My husband suggests several restaurants, jet ski rental, a dolphin watch cruise or a quick drive to Sarasota, an hour and a half away. I look at him like he is crazy. We have been married long enough for him to correctly interpret this as: “I just laid out on the beach half a day, drove with you to Clearwater, hung out on a public beach, ate lunch at a restaurant, walked around admiring bizarro-painted dolphins standing on their tails…and you want me to DO MORE STUFF??? SERIOUSLY?? Without even a hint of an argument, he says “Umm, okay, let’s just stay in tonight.”

I think this means our marriage is progressing nicely. There was a time when he would have no clue why I had that irritated look on my face, and a marathon discussion would ensue. At least we are becoming more efficient with our communication.

Day Three arrives, and I ask if we can stay in and lay on the beach all day; with a few breaks for lunch in the condo. He gives me his long-suffering look, which I correctly interpret as: “What are you TALKING about? We fly all the way to Tampa, rent a car, drive to the beach; are surrounded by tons of cool stuff to do, which I have listed in an organized and obvious manner, and you want to STAY ON THE BEACH? SERIOUSLY?” Continue reading

Redeeming Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, and this theme was eloquently addressed in the church sermon this morning, after all the dads, granddads, and great-granddads were acknowledged and applauded.

Absolutely perfect nuclear family. I bet all his kids, and his wife, got him cards and gifts; and made him a pot roast to boot.

Father’s Day always leaves me a bit bemused, because I am supposed to get a card for my husband, but – news flash – he is NOT my father. My dad has been gone fifteen years, so I no longer partipate in the loving, dutiful daughter ritual of buying a card and a gift and making the obligatory phone call. Now I participate in the loving, dutiful mother and grandmother scenario of receiving the cards and gifts and the obligatory phone call. Different stage of life.

My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to stifle snorts and giggles of amusement as this morning’s speaker shared an interesting anecdote about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ. He offered the suggestion that we might actually appear, hand-in-hand, through shadowy mist and mutual, delighted smiles before Christ in family groups. Took me about thirty seconds to visualize this, overlay the visual on my personal life experience, and glance at my husband, who had apparently arrived at the same conclusion.

“I wonder if the speaker realizes that probably over 50% of us have been divorced at least once, and that a nuclear family unit skipping hand-in-hand before the judgment seat may be – a thing of the past – ?” I whispered.

My husband nods. “Yeah, I was thinking in our case it would probably be a crowd of around 100 people.”

Overcome by laughter immediately; we attempted to keep the mirth under wraps, but our red faces and tears streaking down our cheeks gave us away. We whispered to each through huge grins that perhaps this speaker might be out of touch a little.

Forget listening to the rest of the message. All I could think about was skipping merrily through the mist, toward a towering, white, marble podium (angelic guards on each side in white robes adorned with lovely sashes, possibly flanked by greyhounds) and gazing up at the King of Kings (who, in my imagination somehow carries a gavel – beautifully carved, all wood – dark wood, probably mahogany…with 18-karat gold inserts); holding hands with family and step-families past and present. We all stand in a frothy, cloud-like fog up to our knees. The Lord looks confused. (This is crap, of course, the Lord could never be confused. This was just a teensy-weensy imagination fart.)

My husband has been divorced once, and I have been divorced @@%%%&!!!? times (I feel a lady should never announce how many times she has been divorced), but between our kids and stepkids and grandkids, plus ex-spouses; we could probably bring an entire town before the judgment seat of Christ.

Blended families on Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day, for that matter) experience the bittersweet irony of what might have been juxtaposed beside what is to be. It is a sad reality that over half of Americans in the United States have experienced divorce. What are the kids supposed to do on these holidays? Card and phone call to both parent and step-parent? Who gets a gift? Does everybody get a gift? How to alleviate the  sadness  the holiday creates in the hearts of parents, step-parents, and kids?

What a mess. Complicated.

Depressing state of affairs.

However, this morning, the speaker completely redeemed this blended family’s Father’s Day. Actually made us laugh so hard we nearly disrupted the service.

Best Father’s Day we’ve had in a long time.