Friday, August 26, 2011

Fractured Foot, Fabulous Friends

Deja Vu All Over Again. At least I had a pedicure the day I did this.

This is a post from 2009. When I redesigned the blog, I pulled down all of the old content and wondered what I might do with it. This post tells the sad tale of my broken foot. Even sadder, I repeated the injury last week, and then some. In addition to fracturing the same bone in my foot, I snapped another one, and bruised my ribs. It was a similarly Graceless move; I was walking down the stairs in the dark, missed a step and tumbled. Kind of like this:

Having emerged from a hazy, Percocet infused week, I realized that I had written a related tale on this very topic. If you've seen it before, my apologies. But as the Graces you doubtless are, you will give me a pass when I tell you that sitting and typing with bruised ribs is, well, not quite the medieval torture describe in lesson #1 below, but no fun. I'll be back in form soon. Meanwhile, I'll post when I can. Cheers.

Well, Graces, the picture tells the story. I am indeed laid up, on crutches nursing a fractured foot. The true tale of the spill is embarrassing beyond belief--I stepped off the curb, fell, and broke my foot. Here are some of the alternative versions I am working on:

--I was picking my daughter up at gymnastics (which is true; I was en route to the gym when I tumbled). Upon arriving, I was inspired to attempt a backflip off the balance beam and didn't quite stick the landing.

--While ice skating at the local rink, I found myself in a race with Apolo Anton Ohno. As I began to pull ahead, he stuck his skate in my path and caused me to fall. Given the swiftness of my pace, I feel quite fortunate that I escaped with a mere fractured Calcanius bone.

--While crossing the street, I saw a family of 4 enter the intersection, putting themselves in the path of a speeding city bus. With no thoughts of self, I jumped into the oncoming traffic, and shoved the family to safety. The speeding bus nicked my fleeting foot as it whizzed by, and fractured it.

I welcome further suggestions from you, Graces.

There are several things I have learned about life on crutches. I am happy to share them in the event that you find yourself in this unfortunate position:

1. Underwire bras and crutches do not mix. The underwire hits exactly below where the crutch does, pinching that oh-so-tender skin with every movement. But if you are anything larger than a B-cup, commando is not an option (all that hopping and bobbing associated with being a uniped becomes downright painful on the girls). I have opted for sports bras, at least until the crutches are done. While less figure flattering, at least I am spared the agony of constant pinches to the side-boob flesh. But I do miss my Fantasie bras.

2. I am in constant terror that my currently over-used posterior (all I can do is sit!) is going to spread to the width of my couch. Furthering this terror is the fact that it is impossible to wear normal pants with the cast. First off, anything but the widest flares won't fit over it, and secondly, I spend so much of my day with my leg raised on a pillow that I require the freedom of movement required by knits, not jeans. So I live in sweats (ok, they're pretty nice sweats but still) and the accompanying fear that I will outgrow all of my normal pants without even knowing it.

3. It is possible to exercise, sort of, with a broken foot. I spent about 45 minutes doing yoga stretches, crunches, bicep and tricep curls and other (hopefully) physique preserving moves this morning. As a person accustomed to regular exercise and the urban-dweller's recommended daily allowance of walking, my improvised gym session made me feel lots better.

4. Crutches have improved since the old wooden things associated with Tiny Tim. Mine are a rather attractive matte pewter shade, fairly light weight, made of tubular metal. If I didn't hate them so much, I'd like them.

5. Baths are preferable to showers. Balancing on a wet, potentially slippery surface on one foot, and then having to navigate your way out is liable to result in another broken bone. Much easier to sit on the side of the tub and slowly immerse yourself. Just be sure to drape a towel over the edge before you sit down. Cold porcelain and bare flesh are a bad combo, especially when sudden movement is considered high risk.

6. My friends are the greatest. One brought tulips and chocolates (feeding my fear of fatness, but also much enjoyed), another brought a delicious, healthy, not-too-fattening lunch and stayed to eat it with me. Company is what I crave most--if you have read more than 3 words of this blog you will know that I am a social creature and I wilt a bit after too much solitude. When I start obsessing about the position of the lamp cords in the living room, it really is time to move--even if it's just to another room. Other friends have taken my kids for meals, sleepovers, outings and assorted drop-offs and pick-ups. Another brought dinner. Roses. Groceries. Graces one and all. Would I sound biased if I pointed out that all of these friends were women? Perhaps these skills are governed by XX chromosomes only.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shower Trouble?

Dear Grace,
I have a social dilemma, please advise....

My stepsister is getting married this fall. I am not close to her, we rarely see each other, and without digging too deeply into the family history, the dynamics are complicated and we have a difficult history.

I have been invited to her shower. I do not want to go, and I know I was invited out of obligation. My mom will be bugged if I don't go and I don't want to upset her, but going will upset me--or at least force me to give up a September Sunday to honor someone who I don't hold in high esteem.

I know I have to go to the wedding--I can't avoid that one, and there will be enough people there and sufficient distraction that the usual awkwardness should be minimized. I am, however, concerned that I might be invited without a guest. (I am in my 30's, currently unattached).

So, my question is twofold: (1) Can I bag the shower? and (2) How can I ensure that I am invited to the wedding with a guest?

Not-Very-Wicked Stepsister

Dear Sis,

In responding to your letter, I couldn't resist posting a Cinderella/stepsister clip:

But, on to your dilemma....
As far as the shower, you have two options:

1. Skip it. Make sure the gift arrives in a timely fashion and give something noncontroversial off her registry. If Mom objects to your sending regrets, you can be honest: "Mom, I have a hard time at these types of events due to the family dynamic. I am sorry that it bothers you and I respect your wish that I attend, just as I hope that you respect the fact that I simply can't do it. I promise to attend the wedding." Or you can tell a white lie: "September is a busy time of year at work/I am going to be away that weekend/I made other plans". The former is more like the 'rip the band-aid off quickly' approach--short term pain for long term gain--it may result in an argument now, but has the potential to reduce future demands. The latter will avoid an immediate confrontation, but ultimately propagates the problem.

2. Go. And there are sub-options in this category. A) Set your jaw and muscle through it like you have probably done before--which is admittedly not tempting. B) Give yourself a job at the shower. This has the potential to take you out of the crossfire and central action, but also reeks a bit horrifically of the Cinderella step sister phenom. By a job, I mean something like keeping track of the gifts, or taking care of Grandma, or assisting with the food/drink. If you are busy, you are less likely to be upset by the usual drama and residual historical hurt, but you also may resent being 'the help.' You'll have to decide which is better for you.

As far as the wedding, no Gracious host invites a 30 something to a wedding without a guest. If you think this is the plan, you need to sidle up to Dear Old Mom and take preventive measures STAT. Let her know that you are happy to join the family in celebration of the happy event, and that you are planning to bring a date/friend/guest so please make sure they factor that in to headcounts and seating charts. If you do opt for the direct approach in item 1 [above] that would be an opportune time to request the 'plus one' invite.

You seem to have done a good job managing this situation in an adult way--so it's important to remember that you are not responsible for your mother's happiness. While Graces don't deliberately spread misery or make scenes where there is any possibly way to avoid them, neither do they bear burdens that belong to others. Continue to liberate yourself from this and you will undoubtedly feel better.

Monday, August 08, 2011

UnGracious Typo Gaffes

I have recently begun doing some freelance writing--while not nearly as much fun as thesocialgrace or phillyfoodlovers, these gigs pay real money. These little job-ettes have taken the form of corporate newsletters, press releases, community bulletins, and some industry and sales blogs. Not surprisingly, the fun and interest level of each topic is in inverse proportion to the remuneration....but it keeps me out of the bars.

As a result of my taking on this type of work, my great uncle sent me some ab fab newsletter bloopers that he came across, all of which appeared in actual community/church/synagogue/ school/ organization/neighborhood bulletins, all of which should make their writers and editors turn an unflattering shade of red.

So, while grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors don't fall strictly within the bounds of etiquette, they overlap. You'll see what I mean; if you don't proofread carefully, you may wind up saying something offensive......or at least questionable.

Here, in all of their glory, are a selection of the funniest newsletter bloopers sent to me by my dear (and very funny) Uncle Herb:

Weight Watchers will meet in the Community Room at 7pm. Please enter through the wide double doors.

The school basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8. Come watch us kill Christ the King.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, there is a nursery in the basement.

Scouts are collecting aluminum cans for recycling. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

The Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.

Don't forget the town rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

Tonight's evening service topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to choir practice.

The block party will feature an evening of great food, super entertainment, and gracious hostility.

Don't let worry kill you off--let the Church help.

The Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday in the community room. Please use the back door.

The 8th Grade will present Shakespeare's Hamlet Friday night. Don't miss this tragedy.

The Board Chair unveiled the new fundraising campaign slogan: "I Upped My Pledge--Up Yours."

The pancake breakfast will be held at the firehouse next Sunday. Please alert the committee if you are willing to loan them your electric girdle.

The Independence Day concert and sing along will be held Friday evening at 8pm on the village green. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Eric Stein and Rachel Miller were married on October 24 in the sanctuary. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Sunday's sermon topics are as follows. Morning service: "Jesus Walks on the Water." Evening service: "Searching for Jesus."

So, tell me Graces: Did you ever make a whopper of a typo, only to learn it too late?

Monday, August 01, 2011

Not Gym Dandy

So there I was at the gym last week, having dragged myself to Total Body Fitness class. This class is not for the faint of heart; I generally am weeping about 15 minutes in, but I force myself to muscle through for the sake of more fitness and less fatness.

A new student arrived a few minutes early and asked the regulars what the class involved. I refrained from saying "physical torture" and gave her a brief overview of the weights, body bars, core work and cardio that we generally endure. She asked me if jumping was required; I replied that sometimes there is, but you can opt for a low impact version if necessary. She seemed interested in the class and decided to stay. Little did I know, thus ended the potential for a pleasant and rigorous workout.

The instructor started us with a warm up jog around the room, the first of 11 five-minute intervals involving different exercises. NewGirl kvetched. Instructor offered her the option to power walk but asked her to stay in the inside lane so the runners could pass her. She adopted the first part of his directive only, much to the inconvenience of the rest of us. The next phase of the class began (a weightlifting segment) and she spent it giving us and the instructor a list of her injuries (back, neck, knees; I stopped listening at that point, but she went on for several more body parts.) Phase three of the class involved hurdle jumping and mini sprints. At that point, she started to storm off saying, "I can't take this class! I can't do anything you are making us do! This is no fun at all!" (Well, what did you expect, sister, a peppermint foot massage and a gin and tonic?) Her apparent departure should have suited everyone. Except for one Goody-Two-Sneakers who went after her and said, "Oh, no, please stay, we can ask the instructor to alter the class so you can do it."

Why, oh, why must people take steps like these to coddle the miserable, the Graceless, and the inconsiderate? We all would have been better off if Ms. Malcontent had just limped off into the sunset. Instead, the fitness-minded among us were forced to take a dumbed-down class, the instructor was forced to alter his program, and Ms. Malcontent was brought back into the fold by a well meaning but ultimately misguided (im)perfect stranger.

In situations like these, What's a Grace to do?

If I could have caught my breath enough to speak, I would have said:

"Gosh, I'm so sorry I steered you wrong about the class. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself again, what with your complicated medical history. We completely understand that you need to bail. Have a nice day!"