Jane Turns 26.5 Twice!

Back story:

There came a day when I actually saw the owners of one of the quiet houses down the street.  It’s a clean and tidy house, maintained nicely.  We exchanged uncomfortable pleasantries, with a few non sequiturs thrown in.

That night, I took the kids aside.  I said, “You know the green house on X street?”  They both nod.  “I want you to stay away from there, okay?”

“Why?”, asked Lee Lee.

“You mean the drug house?”, said Micah.

He’s un-nervingly unfazed. How did he know it was the drug house?

Oh. The Neighborhood Kid Network. Information is disseminated in seconds, now that nearly all the kids are old enough to have a cell phone.  I have to put his “unfazed”  away in my brain for later.  Lee Lee is going to blow.

I nod at Micah.

“It’s a DRUG house?!” said Lee Lee, “like they do drugs?”  Her voice gets higher-pitched.  “Do you think there are like, drugs IN the house?”

We sort of did an excellent job of teaching the kids how to say no to drugs, and why.  We practiced scripts.  Who knew there would be a flip side?

“I’m afraid so, sweetie”, I say, “but all you need to do is come home on Y street.  They aren’t going to come over here.”

“But what if they do?” she says, “What if like, Y street is closed, and we have to come home on X street?  What DO WE DO?”

Lee Lee gets this from me: we both need to figure out every possible angle of any situation, to be prepared.  I’ve already done this.  This is all new territory for her.  Micah says genially, “It’s okay, the doors are locked and we don’t answer.”

“That’s right”, I say, grateful Micah has the ability to talk us both down, if necessary. “And if you see them somewhere outside, it’s okay to nod, or pretend you didn’t hear them, but I want you to keep moving, okay?”

We spend another 20 minutes addressing progressively wilder scenarios, including the crack heads breaking into our house at midnight with a hatchet so they can stuff us with crystal meth. I’ll bean them with the fire extinguisher.  Hand off: Lee Lee will spray them with the fire extinguisher.  We’re good.

I take Micah aside later, and thank him for his kindness to Lee Lee (and me), and tell him what a good brother/kid he is. “Does this mean you’re not mad I know it’s the drug house?” says Micah.

End back story.

Yesterday, I was out walking Christmas on The Crack House street.  A man yelled at me from across the street.

“You got a dog?!  Really?”  His face is lit up with happiness.  “Can I have it?  Please?”

I have no idea who he is.

Then I remember he lives in The Crack House.

He crosses the street towards us.  Christmas growls at him, the hair on his back standing straight up.  The man’s face falls from joy into deep disappointment.  “Oh.  I thought you were Sherry.  You look just like her.”

“Nope. No new dog”, I say pleasantly, and keep going.

I text Daisy.  My birthday is this weekend.

Jane: I don’t feel good about bday now?  53 is when our looks go downhill.

Daisy: What?

Jane: my neighbor just mistook me for a crack head.

Daisy: and…? why do we care?

Jane: he thought I was his wife. ‘you look just like her’

Daisy:  you mean the skeletal zombie couple? smelly? dirty clothes?

Jane: yup. he thought I got a new dog.

Jane: what happened to the old dogs?

Daisy: we don’t need to go there.  wait. he thought you were his emaciated drugged out wife?

Jane: with no teeth. I’m thinking 53 is the year I lose my looks.  what I got left.

Daisy: No!  hellooo.  he’s high.

Jane: true.  but he was maintenance high.  I think he was like in the same basic world.

Daisy:  you don’t look like shit.

Jane:  really?

Daisy: Christ.  NO.  I’m not talking to you anymore.  Go turn 53.

Jane: thanks.  you’re a good friend, you know that?

Daisy:  Not. Talking.

Actually, I did look…not so great.  No makeup, severe helmet hair, I’d thrown a pair of Shaun’s baggy sweats over my breeches.

I still think I’m in my 30’s.  That short period of time when you can not wear makeup, toss your hair in a messy up-do, wear your beloved’s elderly sweat pants, go out with dirt smeared across your shirt, and look cute and busy.

Apparently doing the same thing in your 50’s makes you look like a drug addict.

Daisy texted me later:

Daisy: btw, what do you want for your birthday?

Jane: take your pick. botox. facelift. dye job. personal trainer.

Daisy: Oh for Christ’s sake, get a grip.

I’m rummaging in my grip drawer.   It’s annoyingly full of makeup, clean clothes that don’t stretch, and Post-It’s that say “Shower First”.

 

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16 thoughts on “Jane Turns 26.5 Twice!

  1. Winter

    Hey, happy mutual birthday-ish – mine was 2 days later.

    I haven’t been mistaken for a crack head, but I have been mistaken for my daughter’s grandmother.

    This is what happens when you wait to have kids.

    I am also not going gracefully as planned and have braced myself in the doorway screaming “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME HAVE A TURKEY NECK!”

    Yeah. Not pretty. At least the helmet hides the gray roots.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Does it work?? I’m ready to brace myself in the doorway! I thought I smudged the eyebrow pencil, only to discover it didn’t wash off. Age spot. I’m thinking “really? do we really have to go there? where’s the clorox?”

      And Happy Birthday!

      Reply
  2. lizgoldsmith

    When you are 80 you will remember 53 with pride and think, I look damned good! Hell, I think that about photos of when I was 40 and that was only 10 years ago!

    Didn’t you know the first thing to go when you are addicted to crack is your eye sight? Now wonder he thought he knew you!

    Or, you’re like me and everyone thinks they know you. I must look pretty generic because it happens to me all the time.

    Happy birthday!

    Reply
  3. shadowlake2005

    Libra rules! You go girl. Fairly new to your blog & didn’t know you have 2-legged kids (at first, I thought your dogs were talking to you!) I loved how you handled that.

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      Welcome! Glad you’re here. Marissa, pass the donuts. Aarene, start the slide show of your last endurance ride, we want to go vicariously!

      (We’re blessed with absolutely terrific kids. It’s so easy to talk to them about just about anything.)

      Reply
  4. AareneX

    Hell, crack ho’s are scrawny. I’d love to be mistaken for scrawny (instead of, say, a really sturdy stump from an old-growth Douglass Fir tree).

    I think “aging gracefully” means being able to laugh when the Old Age Fairy clonks you with another new infirmity (“whaddaya mean, I got to turn the font size on my computer up AGAIN? It’s already set at 18 points!”)

    Reply
  5. theliteraryhorse Post author

    Thanks guys. Definitely not going quietly into the “old” box. When I was 13, I decided women were ridiculous about aging, and I was going to age gracefully.

    I now have 40 years of aging under my belt. What the heck does aging “gracefully” mean? Not complaining about age spots? Loving the inner self that suddenly sprouted facial hair? Tolerating that every cell not actively engaged in muscle use has embarked on a mass migration to my mid-section? Uh. Not going down without a fight. This year, I will only eat 3 slices of cake. (Instead of A Cake.)

    I can go with “not needing a retaining wall as a mounting block” as aging gracefully.

    When I’m 80, am I going to laugh at my naive 53 year old self? 😉

    Reply
    1. Marissa

      If I know you at all, which I’d like to think that I do, then I’d venture a guess that when you are 80, you are going to laugh at a lot of things. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Ann

    I just turned 26.5 x 2 as well! And yes, I am still 31 in my head! Was at the mall the other day and saw a reflection in the glass…then realized that the dumpy middle aged women I was looking at was ME! Yikes! Got the bike out of the basement and dusted off the Weight Watcher’s book. I shall not go quietly into the “old” box, and that’s for damn sure!

    Reply
  7. Sue

    Eat the third piece. At least you can subdivide your age to a reasonable point — I’m stuck with 31 unless I go for dividing by 3 … 🙂

    BTW, Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  8. Marissa

    I love that this post is tagged “Crack House.”

    I may or may not have had to mute my phone during a particularly dull conference call to read this, because I knew that I’d snort at some point and alarm the other participants. I promise I’m not laughing AT you, really I’m not. I swear.

    On the bright side, crack addicts are usually thin, so…? I think that means you can have a second (third?) piece of birthday cake?

    Reply

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