Grumpy Old Men

Anyone feeling grumpy today after the election? I’m not going to say anything political; my only two words are: holy cow. My Facebook feed tells me there are plenty of people feeling upset today, perhaps grumpier than normal. I’ve been pondering my grumpiness lately, so today seems like a perfectly good day to address it.

There’s a reason why they made a movie called Grumpy Old Men. But I’m not a man and I’m not that old. However, at the ripe old age of 39, I can feel the grumpiness settling in. My friend Kat and I joke about how our dads are becoming these grumpy old men—getting cheap and opting for Red Baron’s pizza instead of a decent take-out pie, making grumpy comments more often and more loudly, especially in public. I guess that is a rite of passage once you pass age sixty-five. But I’m thirty-nine and I’m slowly noticing my lack of tolerance for more and more “nonsense!”

This may sound really finicky, but the sound of my husband crunching popcorn at 8:41 at night while I’m sitting next to him on the sofa sends me fleeing to the guest room. I love the man, but I cannot stand to hear him chew popcorn next to me; it is the absolute worst!

Don’t even get me started on mornings. Once upon a time I was a morning person. Maybe somewhere deep down, I still am cheerful in the morning, but it is sabotaged by circumstances. Circumstances like the gall of my husband asking me a question first thing in the morning. I mean, at age thirty-nine, I wake up with a parched mouth. I have no saliva to even assist me in uttering words of response. All I want to do when I wake up is pee and grab a sip of water from my faucet.

A sip of water doesn’t exactly send me to the bright side though. When I was in Puerto Rico for a vacation, my friend Bonnie asked, “Do you always limp when you wake up?” With a confounded look on my face I said, “I don’t know.” I have been so used to limping in the morning ever since having my first baby (since the first pregnancy?) that I had to challenge myself to try to get out of bed “normally” the next day and see if I could do it. I believe there were some days between then and now that I succeeded. But last night I went to Zumba, so as I climbed the stairs to start turning on lights for the kids this morning, I noticed a tightness in my hip as I leaned extra weight on the banister for support. “Come on, banister, get me to the top of these sixteen stairs,” I urged it. Sometimes I really hate those stairs. Like when putting away laundry, or most especially, when putting away stray items strewn about my living room all the way to my kitchen like some toy/clothes/artwork life-size dot-to-dot worksheet.

Being a human alarm clock solidifies my grumpiness for the morning. My husband is the Other Sort. I don’t usually use the word “cheerful” or “smiley” to describe him. If I’m excited, I clap my hands and shout “Yay!” If my husband is excited, a slow smile grows on his face. But I give him big credit when it comes to dealing with the little people in the morning. This morning when I told Sammy for the third time to get up and start getting dressed, she said, “I need Robot!” I stole a trick from my husband’s playbook and said, “Here comes the excavator! You’re about to be excavated out of bed!” (Don’t get me wrong- I really did not feel in the mood for this.) I set her legs on the carpet and pulled her arms up … and she fell to the floor in a heap. Exasperated, I turn to check on Ellie, and looking behind me, see Sammy tucked away in her purple sheets again.

Somehow my husband’s magical work landed Ellie in her room. (Those damn stairs again – Ellie comes to our bed most nights, so not only does she need to get up and get dressed, but we have to get her upstairs to her room first!) I sat on her bed while I contemplated my grumpiness and wondered how long she would take to get dressed. I wondered, “Why do I hear her zipping up her pajamas after she just went pee?” “Ellie! You don’t need to zip up your pajamas! You need to take them off!” I reminded her. Annoyed at the slowness of the Morning Process my thoughts drifted back to my grumpiness. That is when Ellie bunny hopped over to her underwear drawer to pick out fresh undies. And bunny hopped back to me. I chuckled out loud, thinking there is no way in hell, in my grumpy state, that I would be doing a bunny hop in the morning! Not with this bum hip and grumpiness of mine! I wonder if she will feel bunny-hoppish when she is thirty-nine? I hope so!

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