Well salt my candy bar and call me Flo.
I hate this time of the month. I truly do. I somehow morph from a mild-mannered, relatively easy to deal with soccer mom into a drooling, bleach-blonde, sinister monster than can't stop herself from eating the townspeople.
It's awful. I'm awful. But in my defense, I feel miserable. My cramps are so excrutiatingly severe, I'm positive I must be in labor. Never mind that I had my tubes tied years ago. The pain has convinced me that I'm doomed to become one of those stories you read about in the Globe.
You know the ones. "Forty-year-old woman gives birth to thirteen babies in Ford Focus on the way to Wal-Mart. Swears she wasn't pregnant." They'd naturally have a picture of me with rollers in my hair, a Marlboro hanging from my lip and a gaggle of babies playing on the floor of the van we all live in down by the river.
I'm sure it doesn't help my attitude either that sleep is very difficult for me during this special time. I frequently wake the sleeping 6'2" sack of insensitivity lying next to me to tell him in no uncertain terms that I'm positive a Christian man would not be so inconsiderate as to breathe like an over-heated wildebeest while the woman he supposedly loves lies awake trying to get five minutes sleep before the clock goes off. I make sure he understands that I've been passing the time watching the numbers change on the clock and thinking of ways to torture him using only starch, rock salt and his boxer shorts.
I also lovingly inform him that there is a special hell just for selfish heavy breathing men and that I am going to calm myself down enough to pray an earnest prayer to Jesus that He will reserve a space there just for him and his giant, stuffy nose.
Yeah. I'm a real peach right now.
When my "time" draws near, Mr. Man and my son can sense it. Our family becomes like a pack of wolves. I am the dominant alpha-mom and they are my subordinates that serve no purpose other than to try and make me happy so they can live to see another day. They groom me, clean for me and try never to look me directly in the eyes as they fear that may show a sign of domination which will cause me to bare my teeth and go for their throats.
Mr. Man checks the medicine chest to be sure he has enough Midol in there to relax and de-bloat a great white whale... just in case their should be some sort of severe weather or other natural disaster that would prevent him from going to the store to purchase it when I need it. Our disaster kit includes a flashlight, bottled water, batteries and an industrial sized bottle of Midol.
Much as I hate my Dr. Jekyl transformation, I am powerless to stop it. I am a slave to the hormones.
In all fairness, some so-called experts do tell women in my situation to stay away from problem foods such as chocolate, salt and caffeine which supposedly exacerbate the PMS symptoms. I would sooner stay away from oxygen.
The truth is, I'd sell my rings just for a Hershey's bar rolled in salt with a Big Gulp diet Dr. Pepper to wash it down. Try to tell me that eating these things will only make me worse, and it's highly likely I will cover you in chocolate frosting, roll you in salt and wash you down with black coffee.
I think the very worst of all has to be the dramatic mood swings. I mean, I'm sure I'd be easier to deal with if I just remained steadily evil for these few days. At least Mr. Man would have a shot at doing one thing right once in awhile. It would give him hope. It would mean that he had some degree of control over the situation.
But, that's not the way it goes.
Truth is, I can go from a woman who finds herself totally sympathizing with the preying mantis for eating her mate to crying like a soap opera star because I'm convinced I hurt my cat's feelings when I took the dog for a walk and left him inside.
There I'll be, down on my knees weeping uncontrollably while at the same time frantically flipping the TV channel to Animal Planet in hopes they will announce the emergency phone number for the pet psychic, when Mr. Man walks in the room and asks if I'm ok. I stop crying and swear to him by all that's holy if he ever sneaks up on me again, I will slice him from stem to stern and prance around the neighborhood with his head on a stick as a warning to all the other sneaky men in the world.
That's not very nice. I admit it.
The truth is, I shouldn't even be writing this right now. That's because it's pretty much a sure bet that each and every decision I make when I'm in this condition is probably not quite up to par. While it makes perfect sense to me to sponge paint the car right now, I have to remind myself that I may think otherwise in about two days.
Although I am allowed to make note of my poor decision making skills, it would mean a tragic fate for the one that decides to remind me of this when I announce to my family over dinner that I've decided to enroll in over-the-road-trucker school and legally change my name to Fat Patsy. The smartest thing they can do is to tell me they've always thought I would look good behind the wheel of a big rig and buy me one of those beaded cab-driver seat thingies as a "Go-Mom" gift.
I'd better stop writing now. I've got to get to Wal-Mart to see if they still make CB radios and to buy some of those plastic clips swimmers wear on their noses as a little something pretty for the man.
Copyright © 2004, Sherri Bailey
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