Thursday, October 25, 2007

When Sheep Attack

I generally don't like to go to the "it's my blog and I'll write what I want" place. I decided a long time ago that I'd rather have readers and maybe make some new friends more than I wanted to be known for my biting commentary. Sure, I have opinions. I even think Deep Thoughts every now and again. I have my darker moods. I can be a regular Bringer Of The Angst if I really put my mind to it.

But, given the choice, I choose to make light. I think that finding a giggle or two in the regular, day to day stuff that drives me crazy is pretty therapeutic. Life is conflict. The blog is my Happy Place. I like it to be comfortable. I hate the thought of making the guests wince.

But, there is really no way of explaining why my Cheerful Teaching Assistant felt the need to utter the words, "Seriously...if I don't get my computer delivered this week because of you I am going to kill you," without going into a little detail. I have no choice. I must venture into that dark and dangerous place known as The Magic and Mystery Of Woman. It will teeter on the edge of Too Much Information. You will wince. I'll do my very best to keep the veil of mystery in place. I'll really, really try. And I apologize in advance to those of you who choose to keep reading in spite of this warning but who would really rather have lived in happy ignorance with regard to the inner workings of The Sheep.

There are two things that you need to know. The first isn't so bad, really. It is this:

I have a quirky sense of humor.

Not a big deal and something you probably already figured out. To those who appreciate this sense of humor, I am nothing short of a sheer delight. I'll admit that it comes off better in print most of the time. I can usually edit that enough to suit most audiences. In person, though, you don't get a delete button on my verbal chuckle-makers. Mostly they work. Sometimes they don't.

The second thing is a bit more horrific. Stop now, if you haven't the inner fortitude or if you have to face me any time in the near future and think this might be a problem. Seriously. I say this because I care about our relationship. You are so very special to me and I don't want to sully our interactions with more understanding of the Glory That Is Me than you are ready for. Here is comes...are you ready? Last chance...you were warned.

I never really gave much thought to the changes that middle age might bring. When I did let my mind wander in that direction, I always sort of figured that I'd be at a stage of life where I'd be so full of the wisdom and inner peace that I'd make the transition from Maiden to Crone with grace. Sure, I knew there might be some tricky bits. But, I was really so enmeshed in my belief that I would one day grow up that I probably engaged in a bit of denial. Plus, it was always so far away that I knew I wouldn't have to worry about it any time soon. Yup. There was going to be grace. A long, long time from now, there was going to be a graceful transition.

It didn't quite work out that way.

Menopause has not been shaping up to be the grace-filled picnic I'd been planning. In fact, I've yet to see grace entering into the picture at any point. I've looked for it. I've even tried to fake it. But I'm graceless. Totally without grace.

To be fair about this, I didn't really get the time to prepare for the whole process. I was thrust into this mess at the tender age of 40 after being pretty sickly and sporting some disturbingly high fevers. Time to study up for this event is, as I see it, sort of key to surviving. I went from a normal lady who was maybe having a few peri-menopausal symptoms to The Change in a matter of a few months.

I've weathered most of it pretty well, actually. The supposed "losses" are really gains as far as I'm concerned. There were some struggles early on, but those were born more out of my not understanding what was happening than real discomfort. Mostly, I just hum along.

But, every once in a while, my body decides to try and work the way it is supposed to. You can't blame it for trying, really. It is always rather surprised when things don't go as planned. Instead of just giving up and getting a nice black and white cookie like any other sensible being might do, my body decides to "tweak the system" a bit and see if it can't make things function. It fiddles with the temperature controls just to see if that will help. It pushes buttons inside the brain and tries flooding it with a variety of chemicals thinking that something somewhere must be a quart low. This, of course, does little save cause a complete crash of the hard drive. It then resorts to pounding on things with a hammer which leads to various pains including the one that will ultimately live just behind my right eye and cause me to see lots of sparkly things.

None of this is particularly effective. But, you gotta give the body credit for giving it the old college try. All this really accomplishes, though, is emotional upheaval. Mostly this takes the form of rage. This doesn't happen often. But every few months, the beast within is released. And woe be to those who must cross my path. Or talk to me. Or avoid talking to me when I wish to express my rage. There is no winning with me at this stage of the process. It is best to just duck and cover.

There is no grace involved and any images I may have once had of myself as the wise older woman transitioning peacefully to the next stage of life, perhaps even bestowing the gift of her life's learning upon younger women, is pretty much lost in all the shrieking. That could also account for the headaches now that I think of it. It is also the reason why a great many people came much closer to death than they might have liked over the past week or so.

My rage knows no boundaries. It spans from the children in my class, to colleagues...even to complete strangers. There was, for example, The Philosopher. He, in his infinite wisdom, thought that it might be a good idea to ponder the meaning of life this afternoon in the cool comfort of the frozen food aisle. Lost in his exploration of the intricacies of the workings of the world, he did not stop to consider the implications of standing between me and the Weight Watchers Chocolate Ice Cream Bars. The planet came very close today to losing a great thinker. All because I once had a bad fever and needed low calorie ice cream in a way that transcended my belief in loving my fellow man.

Grace? None here. I've got my grump on and it comes with a side of hot flashes. That is going to be my testimony when I'm called upon to speak in my own defense at my trial. And I like to think that there will be one or two women on that jury who will nod sagely as I speak those words. Maybe even offer me an ice cream or a Valium. Or both.

Thus, it was probably not all that surprising to learn that my attempts at being witty the other day while discussing the problems the Director Of Technology has had getting the staff computer orders delivered did not go quite as I'd planned. I was, perhaps, not as charming as I'd thought. It is entirely possible that I might have given off a "vibe." I honestly don't remember doing or saying anything that might indicate displeasure on my part. I seem to recall thinking that I should be delicate with this discussion as I'd like my new laptop delivered sometime in the next year or so and that this guy could make it happen. I was going for witty...honest.

But, it seems that I scared him a little bit. At least that is what the computer teacher told me this morning. She thought it was rather funny as it is sometimes difficult to get his attention when she needs certain matters attended to. There was discussion of putting me on her personal payroll as I was so clearly skilled at commanding his undivided attention. Granted that attention comes with a "deer in the headlights" expression...but she feels that this is a good look for her supervisor.

I, on the other hand, can see any number of flaws in this plan. Not the least of which being that terrified people tend to drop things or avoid the source of their terror. My new computer did not come today. Or maybe it did and he is afraid to deliver it. I'll never know. My Cheerful Teaching Assistant, who does not fear me or my Change of Life Rage as any sane person would, is deeply concerned that she will be considered Persona Non Grata by association. She has also ordered a new laptop through the school's payroll dedication program and is planning on using her old computer to beat me vigorously about the head and shoulders should she become infected with my Menopause Cooties in the eyes of the poor, scared tech guy.

Thankfully, tomorrow is Friday. I will grit my teeth, take many, many ibuprofen and somehow make it though the day. It will take a great deal of chocolate, but I will somehow find the grace within those silvery wrappers. Then I will have the weekend and I can use the time to recover. Maybe knit a little bit on something simple and non-rage producing.

I will also probably need to write one or two notes of apology. And maybe bake some nice cookies for the tech guy...

SA

28 comments:

Lorraine said...

Wow! What a week - first the demise of the Apocalypse theory and then the advent of the Helper Elves and a computer no-show showdown.

Here's to chocolate, fiber and cocooning for the weekend. I definitely wish today was Friday. Blech!

Cathy said...

You may as well enjoy the Big T (transition) coz once you are years removed it will be very amusing. I promise. As yours is for me right this very moment.

OTOH, I may be standing between you and something. Let me think about that for a moment or 10.

mehitabel said...

Please don't even get me started on The Change. Of all the horrors heaped on womankind, it's one of the worst! Even all the cutesy sayings like, "Real Women Don't Have Hot Flashes, They Have Power Surges," can't make it bearable. (I capitalized those words to emphasize the Stupidity of the Sentiment.)
Tech Guys are used to abuse. Don't back down and don't let him have cookies till he's delivered the goods!!

Beth said...

Ugh! I'm really not looking forward to that time of my life.

Your teaching assistant is quite the trooper! :)

AnnaMarie said...

Okay, this post is really resonating. Want to explain why I'm 43, have hot flashes AND acne!!! Mood swings, meh, chocolate and Corgis help me plus I can always take my outrage at the wierd moments out on ripping fabric up for rag rugs. Works for me and cheaper than breaking dishes.

Mel said...

Just imagine if that guy at the supermarket had been between you and the black and white cookies. You'd have been on the news by now.

debi said...

No need to explain yourself. I am 52 and just had a full hysterectomy 2 weeks ago. It needed to be done before I turned homicidal. I have told many people that if America really wants to end the war in the middle east, round up all of us peri-menopausal and menopausal women, arm us and send us over there. The first person that told me I looked fat in the burka would be toast. Hang in there. You are not alone....Debi

Anonymous said...

Have you actually bitten a head off anyone yet? No, then you're doing fine. I think you just need more chocolate. Maybe something hot and fudgy to pour over your ice cream. That couldn't hurt.
Karen
http://nothingbutknit.blog-city.com/

Lynne said...

As I too have traveled this path, here is my advice. Fuck grace and go for the rebel in you. I decided to 'channel' all that energy and started writing my congressman and senators and letters to the editor... It seemed only fitting to deflect that energy from friends and family and direct where it's needed the most... our government. Hang in there this too will pass.

tenacious knitter said...

Count me among those who think your humor is delightful :) But as much as I'd like to be in your jury nodding sagely and offering ice cream, I'm sure I'll be busy defending myself at my own trial.

Unless I stop driving entirely, which is highly unlikely.

errs said...

Tech people are easily scared and will respond well to food. I think cookies -- even store bought ones -- may improve the chances of getting your computer sooner.

And I love your National Sarcasm Society button!!!

trek said...

I am wondering if I need to post a special box of brownies north and whether or not the current soggy weather will have an effect on their delivery. I mean, if I were to send such a care package, it would really suck for someone at the other end to have a major meltdown because the goodies were somehoe damaged. It might cause far mroe harm than good, if you know what I mean.

And I think that you do.

kim said...

First of all, I found yesterday's post amusing and not at all objectionable. Still don't see any reason why the tech guy is scared, even after re-reading it again today. No cajones there, I think.

Second, let me just say that my recent mood swings have given me a new appreciation and understanding of my 13 yo son who happens to be bi-polar. (Don't get me wrong, I completely understand the difference in origin, treatment and, quite frankly, the overall impact on our lives. But that sudden, somebody threw a switch and I'm gone RAGE - and there's no getting me back until it's done with me. I really didn't get it before.) I am going to try my doc's recommendation of more calcium and omega-3's taken twice a day. I'm also going to try to "take more prisoners"; post-nuclear explosion negotiations seem to go better if I haven't obliterated all who happen to cross my path.

Yarnhog said...

At my last OB exam, I asked my doctor if I could possibly be experiencing menopause symptoms, because of night sweats, irregular periods, and bouts of unreasonable irritability. He laughed and told me I was too young (I was 35). "So, what?" I asked him, "I'm just a raging bitch?" He laughed again. "Could be," he replied. I suppose if it were really menopause, his head would have parted company with his body at that point.

kmkat said...

I'm trying to envision The Sheep as one of Them in 28 Days Later and I'm having a hard time. Blood spurting from your eyes and dripping from your mouth as you rip the throat out of some stupid creature who got between you and the WW ice cream bars? Sorry, does not compute well. Although upon reflection, I do dimly remember my own Days of Rage, when a leaf that fluttered to the ground in an ill-advised fashion could cause me to go ballistic.

Hang in there, babe, you know we'd acquit you in a heartbeat.

debsnm said...

Ah, yes - the Change. I just freaking LOVE IT!!!!! Come play with us in Ravelry - there's a group that you should fit into very nicely - Peri-menopausal & Semi-homicidal. I'll send you an invite. :)

Cursing Mama said...

I think a black & white cookie (or 7) would be in order if that new computer isn't with you by the weekend.

Kath said...

From my mother I learned the phrase, "Just Peachy!" (said through gritted teeth) was a good response to those who ask how you are doing and don't really want the whole truth! And for those in the know, it serves as a warning flag, allowing your nearest and dearest to either run for the hills or at least put heads down and butts to the wall.

Hang in there - and for what it's worth - I once made a male trainee/coworker cry. (And I truly didn't think I said anything all that bad!)

Donna Lee said...

As I near 50 I am awaiting for the "change". As I face another month with a crampy abdomen, throbbing head and bitchy attitude, I wonder how much worse can I feel? I know hot flashes are a bitch but I have a lovely chinese fan that I carry and it helps enormously. I hoped my periods would just ease away and I would just wake up and realize that I hadn't had one for a while. Unfortunately, that is not happening. I wonder what the record is for olderst woman still getting a period.

Ronni said...

I don't see any reason for Tech Guy not to have gotten the humor. Possibly he's angling for the home baked goodies. Possibly he just didn't realize you were that funny until then. Or, possibly, he's just not bright enough for the humor to have been recognized and he's got the deer in the headlights look because he knows that he missed something - he just doesn't know what. If the latter is the case, then yes, you may experience a delay. Probably resulting from his never having done the form right in the first place. Miss Cheerful can't blame you for that.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mia said...

i love that "gettin' your grump on part" ::laughing:: you kill me sheepie (only in the best of ways, of course).

So now you have revealed to me a EUREKA moment! My life isn't turning to crap.. apparently it's all just signs of getting old :)

Leigh said...

Oh my. You have my absolute empathies! I don't know which is worse, the mood swings or the hot flashes.

cedar said...

That was hysterical, said the post menopausal woman.....lol

Debbie said...

Since the world hasn't seemed inclined to accommodate itself to my mood swings (strange -- it would really be better for all of us), I've found valerian to be a pretty good alternative. For all of us.

catsmum said...

pre, post, or peri menopausal - none of it's fun but still our Sheepie finds the funny :]

catsmum said...

pre, post, or peri menopausal - none of it's fun but still our Sheepie finds the funny :]

Marianne said...

Mercy....
I've been reading your comments on other blogs and decided to come a callin'... seriously, Mercy!
I had my first hot flash at age 36, in my mid 40s the doc put me on small doses of hormones.. what a mistake, I really got crazy then, and yes, the Rage... I'm usually a very mellow, laid back woman but one day at work told my husband he could go fuck himself (wtf? was it his crossed eyes?), talk about clearing a room... yes, there were many bystanders with charred psyches that day... immediately started weaning myself off (it had only been a year on hrt) and although I still had the crazies... it was doable.
I'm also an official COB.. Crusty Old Bitch... and proud of it.
Anyway, Love this post and I think I may have even fallen in love with you... just a bit... :^) as apparently plenty of others have before me.
Hang in there, like cathy said, it will be great fodder for future hilarity.