The Whole Fan-damly

It seems like only a few years ago I had to show ID to prove I was old enough to buy liquor. Now, suddenly, I have to show ID to prove I’m too young to qualify for a Senior’s Discount.

I miss being young. I miss the absolute conviction that I’m smarter than any old fuddy-duddy, that I can do anything, and the world is my oyster. The world might have been my oyster at one time; but the older oysters get, the more they stink. And now that I’m an old fuddy-duddy myself, the more I ‘know’, the less certain I am about any of it.

But most of all, I miss the certainty that my body will do what I expect. It used to be a well-tuned machine: All the parts worked smoothly together to get the job done. These days, I feel like a beleaguered single mom trying to parent a much-too-large family. Every day is an endless round of Me The Mom cheerfully saying, “Let’s do (some previously enjoyed activity).” But instead of enthusiastic cooperation, I get, “NO, NO, NO!!! I don’t wanna! You can’t make me!”

Giving in to the tantrum, I soothe, “It’s okay, we’ll do something else instead.”

That makes another body part act out: “NO! She ALWAYS gets her way! I want attention, too! Me, me, me!!!”

The cranky toddlers’ names are Lower Back and the Thumb twins. On any given day, they may throw a screaming tantrum for no apparent reason; or they might smoothly perform a task I never thought they’d manage.

The Knee twins are mostly well-behaved, but sometimes they can be whiners.

Upper Back is a moody tween given to dramatic declarations that (so far, fortunately) haven’t amounted to anything.

Neck is a surly teenager who greets every task with complaints and martyred sighs, but gets the job done in the end.

And the short-circuiting nerve system that makes my legs and feet feel as though I’m wearing electrified tights? Yep, Leg Nerves are the couch-surfing twenty-somethings who won’t follow the house rules, but refuse to get a job and move the hell out.

All that domestic dysfunction is exacerbated (or maybe that should be ‘exasperated’) by the dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks family pet: The Ghost of Youth Past. It’s constantly bouncing around in the background, slobbering eagerly and panting, “Yeah, yeah, let’s do it! It’ll be SO MUCH FUN, come on, LET’S DO IT!”

But, like most moms, my grumbling about the Body family is tongue-in-cheek. I’m (literally) quite attached to the whole fractious gang. At least everybody is still speaking to each other despite their squabbling; and the days when they all choose to work together are precious indeed.

Now, if only I could get Mouth to stop gobbling up all the leftover Halloween candyโ€ฆ

Book 18 update: Book 17 has been unleashed on the world, hooray! I’m finishing up its post-release tasks, and I’m hard at work plotting Book 18. I’ve already written part of the first chapter, so stay tuned for progress reports!

40 thoughts on “The Whole Fan-damly

  1. My dear girl, you are 20 years younger than I am. Enjoy your aches and pains now. It doesn’t get hetter. My youngest turned 40 yesterday. Things that should move don’t and anything that does move hurts. WD40 and duct tape doesn’t fix it either.


  2. Iโ€™m WAY into my senior-citizen-hood. And even though I still have decent stamina and physical abilities, Iโ€™m definitely not what I was. A few days ago, for instance, a sore area developed in a bone on the bottom of my foot It hurts to walk on it. I didnโ€™t bang my foot or anything like that โ€” for reasons unknown, the foot decided to become painful. The joys of aging!


  3. Loved this post….had me laughing all the way through it!! I so get it!! My sister just celebrated her 70th birthday earlier this month. I was giving her a hard time (she doesn’t look or act 70) when she gently reminded me that I’m only 2 years younger than her…..crap….I’m still dealing with the fact I hit the 60’s….what the heck… did all of this happen?


  4. I’m checking in here post-rally–we went up the Mississippi (the Great River Road) for this one. Saw a few friends I’ve made at other rallies, saw a couple of interesting entries. Yes, we had a chicken car. ๐Ÿคฃ

    My old body parts seemed to function OK and mostly in sync, although the real problem for me is that my memory isn’t what it used to be.

    Such as, the night prior to the rally, I rolled in from some scenic driving in Louisiana, washed off the car, applied the vinyl graphics, then headed to an old pub in the French Quarter for a pre-rally meetup. Except that once the meetup was over, I remembered that I had forgotten to eat dinner. And good luck finding anything edible that was even open that late! (The pub did not serve food.)

    Or the checkpoint for the Battle of Belmont. Since there was no waypoint for it listed on Google Maps, I picked a waypoint about a mile prior to it–34 Corner Blue Hole. So I got to my waypoint, which was a glorified name for a fishing area, took some photos, got a photo of the sign…then drove back out the same series of roads to continue to the next checkpoint. If you see something missing there, you’re right–I forgot to go to the Belmont checkpoint. (At least I scored a few points for an “act of stupidity.” ๐Ÿ˜)

    I was fairly mentally sharp, but there were moments when it seemed like the brain short-circuited. My morning routine at the hotels sometimes lacked focus since my brain was still apparently asleep.

    Yet I somehow made it back home. In an 18 year old car. Which turned over 250,000 miles just as I left home a week ago. And I encountered everything from 86ยฐF and sunny in NOLA to snowing and 29ยฐ by the time we got to Minnesota.

    So that’s three times I didn’t die on a rally. I guess that counts for something!


    • Woohoo! Surviving another rally is definitely cause for celebration. Especially in your *ahem* “vintage” vehicle. And of course there was a chicken car. What kind of a rally would it have been otherwise? I hope you’ll post photos on your blog.

      I dunno about that whole “forgetting to eat” thing, though. You must be one of those lucky people who can take or leave food. I can say with absolute certainty that I have NEVER forgotten to eat. Ever. I eat like a hobbit: First breakfast, second breakfast, noon lunch, mid-afternoon snack, 4:00 lunch, dinner, and evening snack. Sometimes I even snack between snacks. I occasionally wish I had a more laissez-faire attitude toward food — it’s a lot of work cramming that many meals into a day. But I love food sooooo much!

      I’m still laughing about your Belmont almost-checkpoint. That sounds exactly like something I’d do! ๐Ÿ™‚


      • I do like my food (a little too much, my doctor would say), but I have a few oddities. First thing after I get up, I really have no desire to be near food. But by 10:30-11am, I like to have an early lunch (usually salad, or leftovers). If energy drops off in the afternoon, I try to find a snack. Dinner is usually it for the day, and in the rare instances we have a dessert in the house, that’s usually 3-4 hours past dinner.

        I was just so keyed up from being busy that by the time I got to the meetup, I wasn’t quite hungry yet (I had a large, late lunch around 1:30pm–fried shrimp and fries, from a small place about as far south in Louisiana as a person can go by car). And on my way back to the hotel around 8:40pm, I realized I hadn’t had dinner, and everything around me was closing at 9.

        It’s rare I have breakfast, but on a road trip I will sometimes have waffles if they have the sugar-free syrup. But not on long days of driving, since carbs make me too sleepy.

        It’s all a balancing act with me, and as I get older, I find that I not only have to avoid certain foods based on upcoming activities, days are sometimes planned around availability of restrooms. ๐Ÿคฃ

        BTW, I think your new book auto-delivered to the Kindle but with everything going on, I haven’t had a few spare minutes to start reading it yet. No spoilers!


        • No spoilers, I promise. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Your comment about restrooms made me laugh out loud! And wince with agreement, especially when it comes to travelling. Back in the days when I used to drive 800 miles across the prairies in a single 12-hour stint, I planned my menus, um… carefully the day before. (And speaking of menus, my mouth is watering at the thought of eating fried shrimp in southern Louisiana. Yum!)


  5. Wait till you reach the glorious age of 88. What with strokes, falling and just general body stuff it could take a while to name them all. But I still say “I ain’t goin. I like your blogs as much as your books.


  6. I can count on you for making me smile, Diane! Thank you for that, as itโ€™s been a rollercoaster ride in my neck of the woods. Luckily, that neck is not as sore as the back and the muscles. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Congrats on the new release and steady progress with the next book!!


  7. Hilariously put and OMG I can sympathize!! I try to ignore my dysfunctional family but then I force it to kneel on the concrete floor and it responds by saying โ€œok but weโ€™re staying down here nowโ€. Embarrassing. And five gallon buckets of paint are definitely heavier at the end of the week than they are at the beginning of it. Iโ€™m arguing with my linebackers(shoulders) trying to get them to lose the โ€œmobile phone hunchโ€. Iโ€™m thinking about using the metal contraption that actual linebackers use when training to hit harder. Should put them back in their place. Oh well, I hope your dysfunctional family has a reunion soon and that they remember how much they like being you, then maybe theyโ€™ll stop barking at you for a bit. Lol!
    Have a great week! OH!! I loved โ€œLive And Let Spyโ€ SO MUCH!!! Thank you!


    • I’m so glad you loved it — that makes my day! Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

      And five-gallon paint buckets are always heavy. No wonder your “linebackers” are complaining. Hmmm, maybe you could find some real linebackers to carry them for you. What are the chances you could convince your local football team that carrying paint buckets for you is a great fitness drill? ๐Ÿ˜‰


  8. Being permanently younger doesn’t bring up such issues with me, Diane. As soon as an ache occurs, I sternly whisper ‘Act your age!’ and the ache goes away. Eventually. I think that’s more to do with the fact I occasionally fib about my age, so the body part in question doesn’t know what age to act, than any official medical or scientific reason. Mind you, being permanently 24 has other issues of its own…


  9. Just yesterday I was at the doctor trying to explain how I hurt my back. Most explanations seemed weird until I said, “I was pretending I was still 20 when I was working in the yard.” The doctor isn’t much younger than me and instantly understood saying, “Got it. I’ve done that.” and then proceeded to prescribe an interesting mix of drugs and suggested I consider getting a gardening service for the heavy stuff. He also told me the name of the service he uses … That’s going to be an interesting phone call, “Hi, Dr. Jones prescribed your service …”


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