There comes a time when mothers of teenage boys must deal with the inevitable: raging hormones, shifting moods, aching joints and weight gain. But facial hair?
“Ewwww, Mom, there’s a hair – on top of your lip,” Pinot cried out in horror, just like the time he found a job application with his name on it.
I grabbed a glass off the table, took a swig and smiled through what I hoped were lips outlined in white.
“Nope, only milk.”
“Well, don’t bother calling those ‘Got Milk’ people any time soon. You just slammed back a glass of wine.” No wonder I felt like sniffing and swirling.
Dealing with mid-life changes can be challenging but if you’ve got observant kids, and Tweeze, the amazing electronic system that doesn’t leave ugly stubble, most are manageable. At least you lose the urge to kick your dog for no good reason. Most of the time. Hot flashes, though, are a different story.
Hot flashes – or flushes, the sweats, vapors, internal sauna, hot zone, spontaneous combustion, Dante’s inferno, nuclear incinerator – turn a mild, calm woman into a sledgehammer-wielding maniac right out of Stephen King’s novel, “Misery.” Throw in a sweltering Houston summer and suddenly the expression “misery loves company” takes on new meaning. The Big Guy works later, the kids hunker down with iPods and the dog is one paw away from speed-dialing the SPCA. However, Contessa has learned a few cooling tricks:
1. Set the air-conditioning thermostat at 55 degrees. Yeah, there’s that issue with global warming but you know what they say: “Global warming begins at home.” Besides, after a few blasts from her internal furnace, even Tipper Gore will beg for a melting glacier chunk.
2. Use a fan at night. Not one of those sissy, over-the-bed contraptions that moves air around with the energy of Contessa pushing a mop. Go with the industrial strength wind-tunnel model that blows like an F5 tornado. Not only does it cool, it ripples skin and sends unsecured thongs into a neighbor’s tree. So I hear.
3. Get a refrigerator with an in-door ice-maker and water dispenser. When a flash erupts, there’s no time to waste running to the sink for water and fumbling in the freezer for cubes. For immediate relief, stick your head under the dispenser and let ‘er rip. If cubes aren’t enough, or someone has issues with slobber, open the freezer door and treat yourself to an arctic body blast. Beats the heck out of a sauna.
4. Try Omega 3 fish oil, nature’s wonder cure. Omega 3 is to middle-aged women what Viagra is to middle-aged men. Well, not exactly. It’s available in supplements, green veggies, fish – even cat food. How’s that for convenience? Walk by the cat’s bowl, scoop up a handful and pop it into your mouth. A bit dry, but it washes down well with chardonnay. So I hear. Watch out for side effects. Kroger banned Contessa after they caught her knocking over a tank with live lobsters, screaming, “Freedom rocks!”
5. Take a cool vacation. Heading north to visit family is probably the best option but not without drawbacks. When you’re lucky to find a relative who has air-conditioning, it’s usually the in-the-window box unit. Be warned: in-laws get kinda testy when they find you standing in front of the unit and hogging air-flow, especially if you’re stripped naked to the waist. So I hear.
There’s only one thing worse than hot flashes in the middle of summer in Houston. That’s someone asking you, while you’re having a hot flash in the middle of summer in Houston, “Is it hot enough for you?” The Contessa has no advice for handling that. At least, nothing that doesn’t come with a restraining order.