Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

March 21, 2009

Powering Down

It feels like I spent this past week "powering down" my life. Canceling my parking permit. Paying all my bills before the deadlines. Writing out instructions for my co-workers. Basically it feels like I'm moving away, or preparing to die. Thank goodness I'm just having surgery that I will heal from. But I will be out of the loop of life for a few months and it's a strange sensation to pare everything down, knowing you will be doped up, immobile and miles away from your real life.

But before I began this surreal process, I gathered my closest friends together for the now infamous "hip shower” last Saturday. I am so, so happy I decided to go ahead with it. At first it felt kind of lame - throwing yourself a party is a weird enough, but celebrating having your hip bone cut out, moved and pinned back together (click here for info about the procedure I am having done)? Yeah, not your normal sort of celebratory event.

Preparing for the shower with my mom was stressful and a hell of a lot of work. We treated it like a real shower - gifts, party favors, games, little speeches and a specialty cake.

I even wore Vera Wang. True, they were Vera Wang pajamas...but that still counts! (I topped the outfit off with matching pale pink earrings and heels that for some bizarre reason I already owned.). Oh so glamorous. And yes, most everyone else wore some form of PJs too. Mendoza Line won the best costume prize for busting out her Grandma Bertha’s long velour robe.

Thanks to my brother Pat-hole's amazing bead collection, I spent an entire day making earrings for everyone to choose as a party favor.

My mom went to a specialty baker in town and had a hip-shaped cake made. It came out looking more like a bizarre tooth, but it still made an impact and put a smile on everyone's face.
And the topper….anatomically correct hipbone key chains for everyone to take home with the following inscription: Be “Hip” 3-23-09 (date of my surgery). I even gave one to my surgeon and told him to keep it with him on the big day.

As for games, I wanted to keep it simple and fun (and of course the winners got a prize). I know people’s tolerance to act silly in front of a bunch of people they may not know that well is limited, so I opted not to do the crutch race (though I liked the idea!). Instead we played "Pin the Hip on DT" - a big success in my opinion. We used the poster I created from the invitation's x-ray image, and used the bright pink glow located at the hip joint as the target. Everyone could choose which kind of "healing band aid" they wanted, depending on their belief system - Jesus or Enchanted Unicorns. Not that I’m reading too much into this, but I only had Jesus band aids left over in the end. I blindfolded everyone and for the most part, they missed by a mile.

For the second game, my mom made a "prescription bottle" filled with "pain pills" (Good & Plenty’s) and everyone had to guess how many pills in the bottle.She made the cutest label that read "Take as many as needed for sweet relief. Dr It's Good-Plenty."

My absolute favorite part of the day was when everyone introduced themselves, saying how they knew me. I usually keep one or two important people with me from each phase of my life. So, at the age of 36, this leaves quite a range. Friends were there from college all the way through to some spectacular women I met just months ago (high school friends -- and even a few of my fellow bloggers -- were there in spirit but live too far away). Not to mention my mom's friends who have known me since before I was born.

It's no secret that I've been feeling extremely down and sorry for myself the past few months about this surgery. But having all those people around me - people I feel so comfortable with - helped to remind me who I am. And I'm actually someone I like. Lately I've felt like nothing more than a medical problem accompanied by constant pain, negative emotions, and endless favors asked of my family and friends during my recovery. But being there, cracking jokes with everyone, feeling the love..well, the shower accomplished exactly what I had hoped. And I am proud of myself for making it happen (and eternally grateful to my mom for all her help).

Where was Wine Guy in all of this? Well, leading up to the event, he was really pissing me off. Of course, these days he just has to breath and I'm pissed off (yeah, I have been a nightmare to live with). But the night before the shower, when I really needed him (I put him in charge of bartending) he jumped into action. While I went to my mom's to party prep the night before, he stayed home mixing the perfect, spicy Bloody Mary mix. Then he showed up right on time and ran that bar like a professional, custom mixing drinks, being friendly but out of the way, and keeping everything neat and tidy. Every woman there was bowled over by his "level of service."

All this time I'd been upset because he seemed so disinterested in it all. He didn't seem to care about the games we were planning, the decorations, the outfits. I wasn't even sure he was really going to come. But clearly I was just drowning in my negative assumptions because he was a dream boyfriend and I couldn’t thank him enough. He didn't even want my gratitude...I think he actually enjoyed it.

But it was an important lesson for me. Well, more of a reminder actually. Wine Guy is a man - no matter how much of a “friend” he might seem like sometimes. And men simply don't want to talk about party planning and outfits (I know, obvious, but I can be pretty stupid about men sometimes). It's nothing personal.

The important thing is that he actually does what he says he'll do and that he shows me that he loves me in his own way. Not the way I am used to with my female friends, which is usually listening and talking about things ad nauseum.

Wine Guy showed me that he he does love me and is there for me when I need him. And I know he will continue to be there during my recovery. And that says a lot. Probably everything I need to know.

Yet a few hours after the shower, he surprised me with his total male cluelessness with a sincere question, "Why did everyone keep talking about weddings? What was that all about?" He simply did not get that this party was a spoof of a bridal shower. No clue. Oh, to be a man who doesn’t have to know what happens at a bridal shower. Sigh.

Tonight we are going to dinner at a new restaurant I’ve been eager to try and then WG is taking me to the musical "Working" (based on the Studs Terkel book that I am currently reading - and loving). This is my last night out before I am reduced to a drugged up, bed-ridden, walker-using invalid, who will hopefully heal quickly and get a heck of a lot of knitting and reading done during my 3 months off of work.

I appreciate everyone's good wishes, thoughts, prayers, whatevers. And I'll catch you on the other side.



Loverville said...

Aww.... thank you for a lovely, warm recap of your shower! Without a doubt, there are many people who care about you a great deal.

And yes, amongst those is WG! I have no doubt he'll be there for you every step of the way. He's a good egg. Actually, it's really cute that he didn't realize it was meant to be like a bridal or baby shower! Precious.

Speedy recovery! Hey, as a present to yourself, how about a trip to NYC this summer? ;-)

Life On Edge. said...

Good luck to you!!!! all my wishes of prompt healing!!

Shelly said...

Sounds like a great shower! Best wishes on your surgery today and I hope that you recover quickly!

Michele said...

I go cold turkey on blogging for months and then I return today and find you having surgery again ... weren't you having surgery the last time I was reading blogs? : ) I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing about your recovery.

Deidre said...

Good luck!

The Hip Shower sounds awesome. I hope someone quoted Jack Black and Will Farrell from the oscars a few years ago when they sang that song about the nominees? "Ryan Gosling you're all hip and now...I am going to break your hip, right now!" very funny.

hah - my word verification is menwher...ahh, well played blogger, well played.

Anonymous said...

Man, when are you going to DUMP this guy? I mean seriously. This guy has to have had some clue about the relation of this party to a wedding shower. In the time that I started reading this blog about a year ago, I started dating a man, and am now engaged to him. There ARE men who want to get married. I dated a guy for about 4 years prior to this relationship, and he was wonderful and loving and did anything I wanted him to... but he did not want to get married. Don't give too many years to a guy who's afraid to LIVE LIFE. My two cents. Glad you have someone to take care of you. But seriously. If you want kids, your ovaries are drying up. If you don't, well, you're getting wrinkly.

Marni said...

I posted on the more recent post but I wanted to add something to this one.

For one thing, although WG does sound very sweet and caring, in regards to what Anonymous posted I have to also ask, how the heck can he sit here and watch you basically have a mock wedding/baby shower and then continue on as if everything is normal, knowing that you want to settle down. It is almost cruel! He must be either incredibly dense to not sense that every woman there is wondering if and when he is going to pop the question, or kind of an ass to just ignore it.

The thing is, you shouldn't really judge someone's character upon the fact that he took care of you after surgery. Someone would have to be a complete asshole not to take care of their girlfriend whom he presumably both loves and happens to share an apartment with. What is going to do, ignore you? Make you crawl to the refrigerator? I don't give him bonus points for that, the same way I don't give bonus points to guys who make an effort to meet your family, or who go out of their way for you. If a guy cares for you he is SUPPOSED to do that stuff. We shouldn't reward them for it, we should expect it.

The true test of how good a guy WG is, is whether or not he realizes you want to settle and either 1) proposes to you ASAP or 2) breaks up with you because he cares about you enough to hope you find someone who DOES want to settle. If he does not commit to any of the above options and instead strings you along, then I don't care how well he takes care of you while you are recovering from surgery, or how well you feel he puts up with your "moods." He is not a good person and he is wasting your time.

I have seen friends date guys like this in their 20s who held out for proposals for years. They finally worked up the courage to walk away and eventually married a guy who was able to commit to them. The hardest part is finding the strength to start over, but none of them regret that decision, they just regret not having made it sooner.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you could give yourself permission to recover a little before you think too much about what some of the commenters are writing. For example, take a month off from evaluating your relationship? You just had major surgery, give yourself a little breathing room. Contrary to what some of the commenters are saying, giving yourself a little time to regroup is not really going to affect your fertility or add to your wrinkles.