SEALED FOR YOUR PROTECTION: The Shrink-wrap Conspiracy

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The other day my mom told me she’d called a company about a spin-brush toothbrush she’d recently purchased because there was no way to extract the toothbrush from its package without causing major injury to her person.   Mom has arthritis in her hands, so opening jars and other lids can present a challenge.  Still, she has developed methods for dealing with this.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons she married my father–his strong grip.  One of many reasons, but at this point in her life, having a husband with a strong grip is definitely a plus.  Still, she has figured out all sorts of ways to overcome the limited flexibility in her fingers.  When encountering a difficult package, mom whips out her trusty scissors or rubber grip, and can usually negotiate the product out of its plastic overwrap–called shrink-wrap.  However, no matter what method she employed(short of diffusing fireworks), this toothbrush wouldn’t budge.  Using a finger bloodied in the heat of the extraction battle, mom wisely called the company.  The cheerful voice on the other end of the line asked, “How can I help you?”  “Well, I’m having trouble getting my new toothbrush out of its package without needing a blood transfusion.”  “I’m sorry for your trouble, we’ve had lots of problems with that particular brush.  Let me send you a coupon for another toothbrush that’s easier to open.”  Within a few days the company did indeed send mom the coupons.  Sure enough, the new toothbrush was much easier to retrieve.  And, thankfully, no blood was shed during the process.

I’ve had my own encounters with shrink-wrap and other plastic coverings, most notably DVD covers.  How do you take those things off without damaging the contents, or your fingers?  I’m still trying to work out the mechanics of this maneuver.  By the way, it should be noted that whenever something is shrink-wrapped, the label usually reads, “Sealed For Your Protection.”  Based on my and others’ experiences, this surely means you’d be better off never purchasing/opening the product in the first place–unless you’ve made a sizable contribution to your personal blood bank account, and have an experienced paramedic standing by.   Perhaps, “Enter At Your Own Risk”, is more accurate.

Trial by Fire

Awww, I hate these hot flashes!!!
Awww, I hate these hot flashes!!! (Photo credit: jinterwas)

At 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, clay turns into fine china, carbon dioxide turns into diamonds, and, give or take a few degrees,  middle-aged women, like me, turn into human microwaves, just shy of spontaneous combustion.  Welcome to the wonderfully warm world of hot flashes, ladies!

Even before menopause,  I was entrenched in an offensive known in our home as the “Great Thermostat Battle”.  Always chilly, I would sneak stealthily down the hall and,  with a magician’s slight-of-hand, turn the thermostat up to a more balmy level.   Meanwhile, my hottie husband, displaying less finesse but more bravado, followed closely behind, turning the dial down,  to a temperature only a popsicle could love.  Naturally, now that I’m in meltdown mode, my hubby’s cooling off, so, the battle continues.  Peace talks are, however, ongoing.  You don’t stay married for as  long as we have without them.

In order to win this “Cold War”, I’m determined to embrace my hotness, go with the flow, even if it is a lava flow, and, like carbon dioxide, become the precious and sparkling gem God created me to be.  Approaching life with grace, humor, and a great air conditioner, I can beat this heat.  Besides, there’s nothing hotter than a woman who’s comfortable in her own skin, whatever the temperature.  And, that’s pretty cool.

Aging Gracefully?

Three-toed-sloth (Bradypus variegatus), Lake G...
Three-toed-sloth (Bradypus variegatus), Lake Gatun, Republic of Panama. Français : Paresseux à gorge brune (Bradypus variegatus), Lac Gatun, République de Panama. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While waiting for a doctor’s appointment, just prior to my fiftieth birthday, I read an article in a health magazine titled, “Over Fifty, Proceed with Caution.”  Choosing to ignore the ominous warning on the cover, I dived right into the article, unaware of the “terrors” ahead.  One of the first items I read was how women 50+ can expect to gain one inch around their waist every three years, without so much as an extra potato chip in their diet.  Oh, say it isn’t so.  Already thick-waisted, ( I believe apple-shaped is the correct term),  I found this tidbit of information quite alarming.   According to the article, I’ll have to call out a search party in order to locate my waist in a couple of years.  In fact, that’s something I have in common with Scarlett O’Hara–no, I don’t have a seventeen-inch waist, but I do have a waist that has “Gone With The Wind”. According to the research, and given that my grandmother lived to be almost 102,  I can expect my waist to grow to roughly the size of a tire–an airplane tire. Being a wise shopper,  I have already begun preparing for the coming girth by stocking up on elastic whenever it’s on sale at the fabric store.   Just because I have a big waist, doesn’t mean I have to be wasteful.

In addition to cornering the market on elastic, another delightful effect of turning fifty is the loss of most of my eyelashes.  Apparently, we are born with three rows of eyelashes.  By the time we’re fifty(that seems to be the magic number) we lose two of those rows. They just fall out. That certainly explains why more mascara ends up on my eyelids than eyelashes these days.  To resolve this, I’ve contemplated wearing false eyelashes.   With my fifty-year old eyesight, however,  the eyelashes would probably end up on my cheeks, instead of my eyelids.  Not exactly the effect I’m looking for.

Not only eyelash- deprived,  hitting the half-century point often results in a slower metabolism.   After fifty, our metabolism hovers somewhere in the neighborhood of your average tree sloth‘s.  Basically, the only way that I can maintain my current weight is to cut my caloric intake from 200 to 500 calories per day(I guess that means the leftover Halloween and Christmas candy are out), while simultaneously training for a triathlon.   And, speaking of the tree sloth, they have one major advantage over us human sloths.  Their elimination schedules are in sync with their slow metabolisms.  Meaning, tree sloths climb down trees but once a week to “do their business”.  Ironically, we human sloths  “go more” the slower we get– and, at the most inopportune times.  Nature inevitably calls at 3 A.M.

So, aside from purchasing my underwear from an airplane factory,  my eyelashes from a costume shop,( or, in the alternative,  settling for scary naked eyes), and being jealous of tree sloths, I am negotiating the aging process as gracefully as possible.  Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of becoming a woman of a certain age is the ability to laugh at myself, which is supposedly good for my health.  In fact, I’m down right hilarious. Considering the amount of laughing I’m sure to do at my own expense in the coming years, I should be very healthy, indeed.  Besides, it could be worse.  If I were a dog, I’d be over three hundred and fifty years old in human years.  On the other hand, in doggy years,  I’m a young pup!

Are you aging gracefully?  If so, how?  Let me know…I need all the help I can get!