Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

A Convenient Update

I must admit Robert and I had a wonderful time at the Little Big Town concert. From the minute we hit the gates at the opening of the facility, the people  working the venue were incredibly nice. It started with our first line, where everyone was being wanded with a metal detector. All of the workers were well into middle-aged, with some teetering on the edge of old. An elderly gent was standing at the end of the line of gates, and with nobody bothering to venture all the way down, he was obviously feeling useless. He jumped up and down, waving his arms and wand, and shouted “pick me, pick me!” Of course we went through his line.

We passed the wanding and advanced ten feet to the next person, who cheerfully asked how we were doing.

Good. We’ve never done this before, so I hope it works,” Robert stated, as he handed over his phone.

That’s why I’m here.” The woman said nicely. “I’ll make sure it all goes smoothly.” She tapped his phone to her machine, and it spit out two tickets, which she handed to us with a smile.

There, that was pretty painless, wasn’t it?” Her sidekick said to me. I had to admit it was, and some of my previous anger started to seem a bit silly.

We advanced to the next person, about ten feet ahead again, and they took our tickets and granted us access to the venue. It was a typical country concert, with lots of boots, denim, plaid and beer. The evening was really cold, with a wind that made it worse, and I watched as many of the young women pranced around in short-shorts, skimpy tank-tops, cowboy boots and goosebumps. It is times like these that I am glad to be middle-aged, as we were all covered in boots, jeans and bulky sweaters.

We circled the stadium, got dinner and a beer, found our seats and enjoyed the first act. We headed to the restroom along with everyone else as stagehands went to work to prepare the stage for Little Big Town. We had eaten in a bar earlier, and I smartly directed Robert back to the bar, as I had noticed bathrooms near the rear, and was pretty sure they wouldn’t be as crowded as the general restrooms. I was mostly right, but there was still a line when we arrived.

There was one closed door with a sign for both a male and a female bathroom on it. Having been in the bathroom already, I inquired from those at the front of the line if they knew there were two bathrooms in there, and if they were both in use. Being women, being country and being a little bit tipsy, the ladies at the front of the line threw open the door and marched into the small hallway to investigate. The remaining ladies spilled into the newly opened hallway, forming a line that went down the hall to the men’s room and back along the other wall to the ladies room. Word from the front was that there was both a urinal and a stall in the men’s room. A cry went up as the first woman in line headed for the men’s room. A man came out of the bathroom with a shocked look on his face, head down and hustling through the line of ladies.

Robert was the next male in line. The ladies were getting restless and a little bit crazy, and as Robert headed through the gauntlet, the ladies demanded payment for entrance.

Dance. Dance. Dance.” They chanted as Robert advanced.

And I am very proud to say, that not only did Robert dance his way through the line, he shook his money-maker so hard there was whooping and hollering heard all through the stadium. That’s my man!

While the $11.20 convenience fee still annoys me, watching Robert dance his way to king of the restroom was priceless.

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September 14, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bus Family

One of the great benefits of riding the bus is the chance to read a book, daydream, listen to music or just generally get inside your head. The regional buses are pretty good for napping as well, which I usually do as I listen to music on the way to Longmont every Monday to see Jessica and Petra. The humming of the tires and the swaying of the bus can have a hypnotic effect, and it’s not uncommon to be so engrossed in relaxing that you miss your stop. It’s not a matter of if this will happen, but a matter of when.

There’s a physical reaction that occurs when a stop is missed, and it’s pretty easy to spot the symptoms before the rider actually speaks out, which they always do, usually in the form of some kind of curse words. It must be some kind of muscle memory, because our bodies sense that we have traveled too far, and sends a message to our brain. The first sign a rider has missed their stop is the look of confusion as they lift their head from their book or take their earphones out. They look around the bus, then they lean over to look through the windows at the surroundings passing by. They they look to the front of the bus at the bus number and the next stop that is displayed on a lighted screen. It ultimately ends with a desperate look to fellow passengers, and the question of “where are we?”

At that point, the bus comes alive with suggestions of back-up plans. Which bus to take at the next stop, whether to ride on and wait for a turnaround, or sometimes the bus driver just stops at an unauthorized spot to let the traveler off. I once had a driver on the 27 bus who knew we would be going through a detour, but none of us did. When she left the station and turned the wrong direction, all of us reacted the same way, and as she looked in her mirror at her bus full of panicked faces, she laughed and laughed.

Last week as we were nearing my stop on the L bus in Longmont, I noticed the driver was not in the left-hand turning lane, which took us the two blocks over to my stop. I figured he was taking a detour, as he had done earlier to get us through some construction. As we traveled through the light, all the passengers looked up and took notice. We looked at each other questioningly as the driver drove farther from our stop.  “Aren’t we supposed to turn here?” One asked. “I thought so, maybe we’re on a detour.” Offered another. We went another several blocks before the lady in front of me finally spoke out.

“Driver, weren’t we supposed to turn there?” Halfway through her sentence the driver let fly a cuss word. The look on his face was the same, well known look of passengers who had gotten so absorbed in their thoughts they forgot to get off the bus. He quickly pulled into the left turn lane and headed back toward our stop, apologizing all the way.

“On Hell. I’m so sorry. I totally spaced that turn.”

“No worries.” We told him. “It happens all the time. Thinking about something good?”

“Music.” He named a specific song that I was not familiar with. “I played it for my teenager the other night and he wasn’t impressed. I was trying to figure out if I played it wrong, or if I could do it better.” He apologized again as we neared our stop.

We all reassured the driver as we exited the bus that it was no big deal, it had happened to all of us, and jokingly told the remaining passengers to keep an eye on him to keep him on the right track.

Bus family, they always have your back.

 

 

 

 

 

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Don’t Touch Anything

The great thing about being a grandparent is that I can take the time to appreciate and marvel at everything little Petra says, as opposed to when Jessica was little, when I was always in a hurry to get somewhere. Petra is a mini version of Jessica, so in a small way I feel like I’m getting a second look at what I missed as a busy parent.

Recently Petra and I loaded into Jessica’s car for our Grammy day errands, she climbed into her car seat and started shaking me down for a treat. She had a direct line of sight to my purse, and knows that’s where the treats would be. I quickly tried to stuff the chocolate bark into my bag and zip it up.

“What are you hiding in your purse grammy?”

“What?” I played dumb.

“In your purse, what are you hiding in your purse?”

I told her it was a treat for later, and she let it slide until we had finished our errands. We got back in the car and she remembered.

“What about the treats in your purse grammy?” I couldn’t put it off any longer, so I handed her a piece of chocolate coconut bark. She took it eagerly and kicked her feet in joy, then silence set in as she enjoyed her chocolate and I drove down Main Street. Soon I heard her confused voice from the back seat.

“What happened to my hands Grammy?” I looked in the mirror to see the chocolate had melted in her hands, and she was wringing them in confusion, fun and general curiosity, watching the chocolate smear even more. Her face was covered as well.

“Oh sweetie, the chocolate melted,” I explained. “We’re almost home, just don’t touch anything.” There was silence for a few seconds, and we were literally blocks from home. Then I heard her mischievous little voice from the back seat.

“Grammy…I’m…touching…everything!”

I looked back in time to see her grab her car seat, leaving chocolate hand prints. Then her legs, then her chest, then her face and lastly, her hair. She giggled and bounced her legs in delight at her new-found power of leaving prints wherever she touched, and I couldn’t help but laugh at her antics myself.

We got home and I climbed into the back seat with tissues and a bottle of water, insufficient weapons to battle the mess that was now Petra, but I started wiping the chocolate off her face. She wasn’t done yet.

“No Grammy. I want to go touch my Mommy!”

Hehehehehe. It is great to be a grandma.

April 6, 2016 Posted by | The Corset Chronicles | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I TRIED A FAD DIET…AND I LIKED IT

I remember a time, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when I would scoff at emails promoting fad diets. Younger and smug about my weight, I confidently deleted every one that came through my inbox promising fast weight loss, belly fat secrets and the latest fat burning gimmick.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Now I find myself searching the internet looking for anything that will help me lose weight. Twenty years ago I was pretty fat, nearly 200 pounds. Then, by the ironic grace of diabetes, lost weight and enjoyed a pretty easy maintenance weight of about 120. Let’s just say I’m not as big as I once was, but the memory of being fat is still clear in my mind, and fuels my fear of getting there again.

Now there are several factors at play. Age, a slower metabolism, a medication change and, by my own doing, several months of overindulgence and under-exercising. Having cleared all medical reasons for an unbudging weight, and sticking to an exercise routine for nearly 30 days, I was absolutely desperate to see a change in the scale. I could feel the effects of weight-lifting sessions, and I was almost certainly getting toner, but as women, and I guess as humans, we rely heavily on the opinion of inanimate objects—aka the almighty scale. How a small, metal object came to have such control over our lives I will never know, and I had even tried to banish it into a secret place where I would never look at it again. But alas, I found myself drawn to it, like a moth to a flame, yearning for its daily praise, only to be shattered when I stood upon it and faced its judgment of my failure to succeed.

Eager to please the judgmental little demon, I searched the internet for diets that promised quick results, and after reading dozens of reviews decided to try the Military Diet. Like all fad diets, the concept of burning more calories than you take in made sense, as well as the thought that certain foods, when eaten together can speed up your metabolism and hasten fat burning. There were the usual extreme reviews ranging from it’s not about calories its about carbs, or vegan only, or juices only, or organic only. Each I believe held a little truth, and certainly some were perfect for some people, but I wanted to see result fast.

The only way to know was to try it, so I printed out the routine and brought it home to Robert. He indulges me often, and since we’ve been on a weight loss journey together, he agreed to try it with me. Details aren’t necessary, but the next three days involved grapefruit, lots of tuna, eggs and a bit of ice cream. Amazingly I wasn’t often hungry, had plenty of energy and kept exercising, and actually lost five pounds. I found myself motivated once again, and no longer obssessed about the most satisfying way to destroy the demonic scale. Why, or how the diet worked I’m sure could be ripped apart and ridiculed by some experts, but I don’t really care. I feel better, and I learned a couple of things that will help me in my journey.

First, I learned what it felt like to feel hungry again. Not starving hungry, but to not have a full belly. I don’t remember the last time my stomach wasn’t full, believing that a snack was necessary, or eating because I was bored. I had had a full belly for years, and it turns out maybe the occasional hunger pain is good for me. It made me feel a little more alive, and a little more aware of what I was actually putting in my body.

Secondly, I learned that 300 calories of food, in the form of apples, tuna, salmon or vegetables is actually a crap-load of food. Several times we struggled to complete the entire meal, and were uncomfortably full after finishing.

And lastly, it was good to love food again. I don’t usually care for salmon, but by the end of the second day, as I walked on the treadmill and thought of my upcoming dinner, I found myself actually craving the salmon. Granted, had I not been on the diet I probably would have felt the same way about a big plate of fettuccine alfredo, but at that moment, and later as I sat down at the dinner table, I loved that 4 ounces of salmon as much as my favorite pasta.

 

January 21, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Death By Packaging

I had always believed my death would be noble, exciting, tragically romantic. But, no. I’m pretty sure the culprit of my death will be simple packaging. Either I will get a flesh eating infection from cutting myself trying to liberate my daily vitamins, or I will simply starve to death because I can’t get any of the packages that contain life-saving nutrients open.

In an effort to prevent my death as long as possible, I, like many middle-aged women, decided it was time to start taking a vitamin supplement. It’s literally a hard pill to swallow, because it means the time has come that your body is holding out on all the wonderful things it used to give you in your youth. Such as, oh, hormones, vitamins and the stuff that keeps your bones strong. (At least that’s what the bottle claims.) So, anyhoo, I woke up convinced that I was doing the right thing, and this was one step into prolonging my life.

Until I tried to open the bottle. There was a clear wrap sealed around the cap—no tab to pull, no perforated lines I could see, (even with my reader glasses). Just a slippery, tight seal. No worries, I grabbed my trusty kitchen knife, pried up the seal, which, by the way stretched and refused to break until I was literally holding it down on the counter and using all my might. Finally I poked enough of a hole in it to slice it off. I pulled the cap off and damn! There was another tight paper seal covering the top of the bottle. This one did have the tiniest tab that was meant to be used to pull the top off, but it was too tiny to grip with any strength, and as I tugged at it I wondered what people who have arthritis do. What would I do ten years from now? But again, my trusty knife saved me, as I speared the paper and pulled it off. Then, there was a huge piece of cotton stuffed into the top. At this point I just went directly at it with the knife. My fingers wouldn’t fit far enough in to grasp it, so I just tipped the bottle, speared the offending cotton with my knife and drug it out. Excellent! I quickly doled out the vitamin and took it, hoping it would begin working immediately and offset the five minute of my life I just lost trying to get the bottle open.

In keeping with good health, and being diabetic, I vowed to check my blood sugar even more often than usual. Adding an exercise routine to a diabetic lifestyle is always a little tricky, as healthier bodies usually require a little less insulin, and thus results in more blood sugar lows than normal, requiring insulin adjustments as you go. Not a problem when you plan for it, like I always do, but again, I lost precious minutes from my life trying to get the new box of test strips open. I wonder this—if you put something in a thick box that can be closed with a tab, what is the reason for taping the tab closed with industrial tape? The result is, with the help of the kitchen knife of course, the tab stays completely closed and I end up tearing the box apart around it. It’s like tearing an envelope apart without ever opening the seal. It makes no sense!

At this point I must say that there is a slim chance getting older just makes navigating packages harder. I really don’t think that is the case here. Especially if you’ve ever had to use a pair of scissors, to, you know, cut a pair of scissors out of the package.

So, after a day of taking my vitamin, drinking my tea (which required the kitchen knife to open,) testing my blood sugar and eating right, I felt pretty great when I went to bed. I had stocked the fridge with high protein/high sugar drinks in case of low blood sugar, it had to be better than Oreos or Nutter Butter bars. I was pretty pleased with myself as I drifted off to sleep.

Several hours later I awoke to the familiar feeling of low blood sugar. It’s a very distinct feeling that I can only describe as my bones turning to liquid. It feels like my body is shriveling into itself, and is accompanied by a surge of adrenaline that causes tunnel vision, trembling and confusion. Being an old pro, however, I jumped out of bed and headed for the kitchen. I grabbed a bottle of the delicious chocolate protein drink and sat down at the table. The great thing about liquid sugar is that you can pound it like a frat boy pounds a beer and just sit back and wait for it to kick in. Taffy, peanut butter and anything else that is sticky in nature is a nightmare to eat when you’re on the verge of passing out, and to be avoided except in case of extreme emergencies.

I tried to twist the cap of my chocolate drink, and, again, due to confusion, didn’t immediately understand why it wasn’t coming off. I tried, I tried again, then I got up and retrieved the flat rubber gripper thing that helps with tight lids. Nothing happened. Panic-stricken I realized the reason. The damn lid was covered with a clear plastic seal, just like the vitamins! Dammit! After all the dieting and exercising the last thing I wanted to do was eat 1,000 calories in cookies. I tried desperately to find a tab to grab or pull, and seriously considered grabbing the kitchen knife. But, no. It is never a good idea to do battle with a bottle using a sharp knife when your hands are shaking, you can’t see straight and your knees feel like they’re going to abandon you at any time. I calmly set the bottle down and went for the Nutter Butters.

Diabetes is a disease of irony. Sugar, the very thing that can bring us to an early death and is strictly forbidden, is also the one thing that can save our lives at a time like this. To be eaten with reckless abandon until the episode passes, and this particular night it had been weeks since I’d had any kind of sugary treat. So honestly, aside from the scary feeling, shaking, sweating and all that, secretly I sometimes embrace the low blood sugar episodes.

Desperate and pissed about the turn of events, I grabbed a yogurt and a Nutter Butter Bar. The Nutter Butter opened easily, with a small tear of my teeth. The yogurt was slightly harder, but determined, I grabbed the foil seal with my canine teeth and pulled a small bit off. I remembered when you could just pull the plastic lid off yogurt, but now it comes with its super-protective, super tight seal. It was as I battled the yogurt that I saw my death. I would be found in the morning, unopened food packages strewn about the kitchen, some thrown against the wall like an animal in a primitive attempt to release the contents, my final words smeared in the splattered chocolate milk or yogurt…

Alas, I finally freed the yogurt, and in the grand manner that only a panicked diabetic can pull off, I used the Nutter Butter as a spoon to shovel the yogurt into my mouth as fast as I could, eating the delicious peanut buttery spoon with each bite. I obviously lived to see another day, but am considering taking up activism to fight for the equal rights of all people to have access to good food. And I mean access quite literally.

January 15, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

THE ADVENTURES OF BIG DAVE…

THE ADVENTURES OF BIG DAVE…

            I have successfully completed my move to the suburbs, and although I still rely on, and thoroughly enjoy taking public transportation, I have purchased what I deem the “Colorado State Car” to get me around in case of emergencies and on weekend when the buses don’t run to my area. I am the proud owner of a Volvo station wagon, which accounts for probably one-third of all cars on the road in Denver. The other one-third are Subarus, and the remaining one-third make up all other cars on the road.

            My particular Volvo is silver and came with a ridiculously cheap price tag, perhaps because the previous owner may have died in it. I’m not sure what the story is other than the man died, had a lot of health problems, many of which I suspect were self-inflicted, and his family wanted to get rid of the vehicle as quickly as possible. I drained my car fund and handed over the cash, fully aware that the car needed quite a bit of work and may be haunted. I call it Big Dave, after its owner, whom I assume was a big man because of all the crumbs, candy wrappers and chunks of hamburgers I found under the seats as I was cleaning the car.

            It’s been more than two years since I have driven regularly, and I am hyper-aware now of pedestrians and cyclists as Big Dave and I cruise the burbs. I find my old habits behind the wheel are insufficient here now, as I roll through crosswalks and occasionally disregard the yield signs hidden behind trees at intersections. I’d forgotten how driving gives me the opportunity to see things differently, and to spend time in my head as I wait at lights with other drivers. The faint smell of anti-freeze and a small exhaust leak take me back in time to when Jess was still little, and I had purchased an old Chevy Citation for $400. It smelled the same way the entire time I owned it, which included kids starting school, commuting to my first “real” job, and passing it down to Becky after I purchased a new car.

            My time spent in the Citation included a lot of time with my older sister Debbie, as we raised our kids together, lived next door to each other, went through divorces, jobs and boyfriends together. We were thick as thieves, and as long as Debbie told me things would be okay I knew they would be. As I cruise around in Big Dave I long for those days again. Tragically, Debbie has disappeared from my life, after having spent more than a year in a rehab facility, battling her addiction to drugs and alcohol. I had high hopes that she had conquered her demons, and for a while was sure that she would win. I looked forward to the day I would see her again, the old sister that I grew up with. But for reasons unknown to me, she left the program and last I heard was headed for the streets.

            I have dealt with my emotions about Debbie largely through denial and ignorance. If I just don’t think about her, or her circumstances, or the horrible truth about addiction, then I could pretend there was nothing wrong. I could pretend it would all work out. Now my thoughts are filled with anger and fear. Anger that she walked away from the one program that could help her, and fear of where she is now. Anger because I don’t have a bunch of money to pay to fix her, and fear that she is not fixable.

            Like Big Dave, I know she has a lot of things that are wrong with her. But, like Big Dave, I’ve always believed she was a solid person and with a little help could become great again…

October 9, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FLOODS OF CHANGE

 

FLOODS OF CHANGE

 

I knew the birth of my first grandchild would be a life-changing event, but the circumstances surrounding her pending arrival have become historical. Petrichor, or the “Scent of Rain,” is the name my lovely daughter and her mate have chosen to bestow upon her, and for months now we have all embraced it, with rainstorms bringing smiles to our faces.

Apparently little Petra is demanding the level of attention worthy of her, and the entire state of Colorado is experiencing the scent of rain, as half the state is flooding, including Longmont, the home she will be coming into. Historical levels of rain have fallen this week, as Petra gets into position to be born. Mountain towns have been flooded and cut off from the rest of the world, and roads have been washed away, stranding motorists and homeowners. Rain has fallen for nearly a week, with no end in sight.

 

September 13, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A HAUNTING EVENING…

A HAUNTING EVENING…

            It has been quite some time since I’ve been able to enjoy the luxury of sleeping with my windows open downtown. Temperatures have been high during the day, but lately the evenings have been wonderfully cool, so last night I blocked open all the windows and fell asleep to the rhythmic humming and clanking of the air conditioning unit on the roof of 7-11, across the alley from my apartment.

            I was yanked out of my peaceful slumber at 1 a.m., to the sound of screeching tires on pavement. I sat straight up in bed, adrenaline pulsing through my veins, and heard more screeching of tires braking, then the distinct sound of metal smashing into metal. That was followed by the horrific sound of a vehicle rolling over and over again, then the sound of light poles and metal being torn apart, followed by loud thunk which caused my building to shake. I looked out my window to see dozens of people running down the street toward the sound, and I knew immediately it was a horrible crash.

            Somewhere in the distance I heard the primal cry of a man, actually it was more of a wailing, and it grew closer as the man ran toward my building.

            “Kristiiiiiiii!” The scream sent shivers down my spine. I assume Kristi was in the accident. Or maybe she had been walking across the street and been hit, or maybe the cars wrecked trying to avoid her. I tried to put the scream out of my mind as I watched out the window as the street filled with concerned bystanders.

            Now I’ve seen a lot of traffic accidents when I was covering the news. But I always arrived after the fact. But last night, high above the crowd gathered in the alley way, the conversations and sounds wafting up through my window as they assessed the severity of the accident made my skin crawl.

            “Oh man, I hope nobody was in there.” “They’re dead. They’re dead for sure.” “Shit man, somebody’s dead.”

            I couldn’t get Kristi out of my mind. I felt a desperate need to find out if she was okay, so, irrationally, I threw on a sweater and my slippers and went outside. A car had indeed sheared off the corner of the building attached to mine, and I stood in the shadows of the flashing red and blue lights, waiting for someone to mention anything about Kristi. The police arrived and ambulances followed, but I kept my distance around the corner. I desperately wanted to know Kristi was okay, but at the same time had no desire to see that she was not. I watched for a few more minutes, and searched the crowd for the source of the wailing man, but never found him.

            I went back upstairs and tried hard to go back to sleep, but never really did. I couldn’t stop wondering about Kristi…

August 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment