Sunday, July 11, 2010

Untroubled

Remember when you were young and you could come inside from a long summer walk and your feet would be all dirty and sticky and you could care less and you’d plop down on your bed and just not give a crap?

Yeah…..me neither.

Is it possible to be carefree and a grownup? Or is that an oxymoron?

I’m not necessarily talking about cleanliness taking a nose-dive in order to be carefree...although God knows, anyone who thinks it’s okay to wipe snot on their sleeve probably doesn’t have high standards with regards to hygiene. Honestly, I still think that’s a male-thing. I do believe that boys touch a lot more gross stuff than girls do. (You can let your imaginations zig-zag with that one….you have my permission to take it any way you wish. I know you're going to anyway...)

When did I start looking at big grassy areas as a breeding ground for deer ticks instead of a place to look for buttercups? And….hel-lo? You want me to what? Sit down in said grass? Like, without a chair…or a cushion…or anything?? Have you any idea how many ants and… other assorted crawling insects would find their way into my girlie parts before you could say, “Now, isn’t this nice?........Kathryn??..........WTF?!.........Is that some new kind of dance?.....Because honestly it does not make you look very attracti-…..What?!?.....You feel something crawling where??!?!......”

I worry a lot about poison ivy, too. This may stem from the reality that no matter how many times I Google it and try to memorize it’s appearance, I am evidently incapable of retaining a mental image long enough to avoid stepping in it any time I stroll somewhere other than on blacktop or cement. Maybe we should pin a photo of it to my shirt…like they do with kindergartner's names on the first day of school. (Like it would seriously make a difference) I mean, look at it! If I can’t tell a basic weed from a perennial/centennial/triennial flower, how the hell am I supposed to differentiate this from all the other crap that grows out there??


The last time I inadvertently got poison ivy, I was a walking, oozing reminder of why some people should never leave the house. Much less do gardening of any kind…and no-one wanted to stand too close to me, for fear of catching whatever-the-hell-it was I had. I was a pariah….an outsider…exiled to the ointment aisle at our local CVS until I began to resemble something vaguely human again.

When you’re a kid, you don’t worry about poison anything. Unless you’re thinking about how you could poison your stupid little brother…but that was just for fun. You didn’t care if you got caught in an unexpected summer shower…it felt great! You’d raise your face to the sky and let the warm rain trickle away some of the grimy dirt and sweat…arms outstretched as if to say, “Bring it ON!” Now, I worry that it’ll ruin my hair (which it undoubtedly will), the waterproof mascara is a given and I panic as I attempt to recall if what I’m wearing is dry clean only.

Part of me longs to be that carefree kid again. That kid who doesn’t give a damn if the floor was just cleaned…or the bedding was just washed…or if I let a gazillion bugs into the house because I forgot to close the front door.

But then, there’s that other part of me….the hopelessly sentimental, optimistic adult…who wishes I’d win the lottery so I could hire it out...to be someone else’s problem altogether.

JennyMac said...

You are right, as a kiddo I never worried about poison anything..and THANKFULLY I have never had poison ivy. Our friend just got it from a hiking trip. It was AWFUL!

Alan W. Davidson said...

Yeah, you're right. Boys are pretty gross. The snot thing made me laugh. Then again, I'd prefer it ended up on his sleeve instead of his mouth.

I could kind of see you doing the unflattering insect dance. Nice visual on that! LOL.

ValleyWriter said...

I had a brief carefree kid moment today when I added some soil to the potatoes and tomatoes I have growing out back - WITHOUT gardening gloves. This is unheardof for me. But, for whatever reason, I felt propelled to dig my hands right into the soil, getting dark brown crud under every single fingernail and all over the deck. And I left it there - hah!
(Shortly thereafter, however, I came to my senses when I realized I'd also gotten soil all over the kitchen floor when I brought the bag inside to throw it away. Unfortunately, no maid to clean, so out came the vacuum cleaner. Back to adult reality...)

Lauren said...

I know some carefree adults. They scare me a bit. Okay, some of them scare me a lot. I think there's a balance. I don't know that I've found it, but I feel pretty good skipping down the halls to class, then being able to sit quietly during an ass-numbingly dull lecture. PS: even as a kid I was reluctant to go in lakes and sit in grass. So age is not a factor.

Runnergirl said...

I heartily agree. When did we feel like we have to be sensible!?

Although I do still stand in a heavy Summer rainfall and stretch out my arms and enjoy it. Except when I'm on my way to work of course.

Poison Ivy is hard to spot! It looks like loads of stuff we get over here. At least you can point Nettles out easily!!

Gigi said...

I can tell who is (partially) responsible for turning us into grownups - those darn kids. Since they do all those things *someone* has to be the responsible one (and looking around and seeing no one else - I guess that's me!).

And you aren't alone in the poison ivy thing - I'm so freakin' allergic to it that I wouldn't be surprised if I break out after just looking at the picture - but yet I can't ever seem to spot it in the wild.

Tinkerschnitzel said...

I'll still sit on the grass, as long as I'm wearing pants. Fire ants are a big pest here, so you always have to be careful. I'm still amazed, though, at how my boys can run around outside barefoot. I didn't like it as a kid, so maybe it's just me. :)

Sir Thomas said...

got I hate fire ants they are everywhere and fast....

j.m. neeb said...

Wendy Ramer (www.onnonnon.blogspot.com) actually touches on the subject of carefree youth today. When I read her post today, I thought about yours.

I have to admit, I was actually a 'fraidy cat kind of kid. I always worried about poison ivy... even though I grew up in Milwaukee. (Or maybe it's "because I grew up in Milwaukee." City kids never know anything.)

Now that I'm old and bold (and evidently poetic), I'm not afraid to sit on the grass if the spirit moves me!

That being said, when a wayward soccer ball ends up in the wooded areas bordering the Soccer Stop where my co-ed team plays, I'm always nervous as I tromp around to retrieve the ball. One of these days, I'm sure I'll die an itchy death from poison ivy. Or spontaneous combustion. I could totally see that happening, too.

Wendy Ramer said...

J.M. Neeb referred me to this post since my post today also deals with lost youth and the desire to be carefree again. I've never been a victim of poison ivy, and at the rate my serious life runs these days, I don't see it happening. I would, however, be open to rolling around in the grass...if I'm covered in clothing from head to toe. ;-)

Draea Lael (Rose) said...

I think about this a lot. I am not sure if its all about being care-free in my actions for me. I love sitting in the grass with my kids or playing with the dog, rainstorms thrill me, I get dirty daily in my garden (I love the feeling of warm soil in my hands and the way my hands smell after weeding or pruning). My kids have definitely impacted the way I see life. I am a lot more tightly wound than I used to be. Mentally. I remember just doing stuff, I know that sounds vague...but when I was a kid/teen I just DID things. If I didn't have something that I needed to do, I would go FIND things to do and spend all day doing it. Now...I sit at my house being bored and consistantly answering my dh with "I don't KNOW what I want to do! I don't KNOW what would make me happy right now!" I want to be mentally craefree, so that I can truly enjoy my family and life. I love photography, I rarely leave my house unless I am working (I am a teacher so this has been a LOOOONG summer)or going to the store. When I do leave....I always forget my camera. >.< My dh tries so hard to make me happy, he FORCES me to leave the house with him at least 2x a week whether it be to the store or out to eat. My issue is that the last 15 years of my life have basically smothered the me I used to be, I don't want to be 16 again...I just want to be able to be relaxed and happy and to KNOW what I want to do with myself again.

Lynn said...

Well, never let your kids go on scouting trips with my hubby. He likes to find himself and the group in the middle of a vast field of poison ivy. Bushes of it. Up to their waist.

The end.

Kristy said...

You know what's funny, as a kid, I DID worry about stuff like that. I think I had problems. I was scared of fires, I hated ants, bees and wasps kept me inside. Now, through living life lessons, giving birth, having a fearless little BOY, years of therapy, and some lovely meds, I am now a bit more relaxed! Yay! :) In Mexico, my mom probably wanted to hit me in the head. We were sitting in the sand, and my mom says, "Ooo! Ants!" I calmly said, "Yes, Mom, they exist."

Oddyoddyo13 said...

I used to do that stuff too....still do sometimes. If its raining though, I don't care if I did my hair. We get rain so little, I make an allowance.

LoL Don't worry though, you're not the only one that can't recognize poisonous plants. I'll probably move to an area with NOTHING BUT PLANTS and have some sort of pharmacy on speed dial.

Alicia said...

The other day I was getting my tires rotated and I wasn't able to sit in their waiting room. I'm not going to go into details but something very disgusting was going on in there and I couldn't handle it.

So I stepped outside and there was some beautiful lush green grass under the shade of a tree and there was no way I was going to sit on it because the only thing I could picture in my head is how many men (and maybe a few women) had spit into the grass.

What is it with Men and spitting? I can't go anywhere without having to zig and zag to miss stepping in great piles of... ok, gonna stop here cause I am eating lunch and I'm getting disgusted. But yeah, it would be nice to sit in clean grass...the bugs would not be what bothered me.

Climb2Nowhere said...

When you drink more you worry less. So my advice is to have a drink and then sit on the grass! But dirty feet...gross!

TC said...

I've had lyme, don't get poison ivy, lyme almost got me. I still sit on the grass, I quit having to go out barefoot in the first snow, had everyone convinced that and running around the house barefoot,literally around the outside of the house, on new years eve (in MO, below zero sometimes) was the secret to a happy life, maybe I need to drink more? But then I might live MORE dangerously?

kathryn said...

JennyMac: Well, quite frankly my dear...that's what ya get for hiking. I'm sorry but if you're gonna go where it grows profusely, I do believe you're just asking for trouble. And yeah...it was AWFUL.

Alan W. Davidson: Ha! Nothing flattering about the bug-in-the-girlie-parts-dance or the snot-on-the-sleeve, for that matter. Have you even been halfway down your driveway...shoveling away some heavy snow...and had your nose start to run...with no tissue in sight? Brings back memories, huh?

ValleyWriter: Oh, that sounds like a typical carefree-moment-gone-adult, if you ask me. And that tells me that the carefree kid is still in there...she's just not allowed out to play if she's gonna make a mess.
Am I right?

kathryn said...

Lauren: Well, lakes are freakin' scary...so no surprise there. I say, "If you can't see the bottom, you're probably not gonna enjoy the feel of it, either. Slimy...ew.

Runnergirl: Wow! I had to Google "nettles" 'cause I'd no idea....they actually sting? Oh, joy. Something else to look out for when vacationing..I don't think I've ever seen them before!

Gigi: Another twin-thing for you and I, unfortunately. And it would be nice...if just once in a while THEY could be the grownups for a change...and clean up after US. Think of how SHOCKED we'd be. As for the poison ivy, I'm even afraid to let Metro nose around in the bushes...'cause somehow, it'll wind up on ME!

kathryn said...

Tinkerschnitzel: YES! I used to LOVE running around in the summer w/no footwear whatsoever...the rocks, twigs, hot blacktop...it all never bothered me. I still prefer to be barefoot inside...but I've got flippies in strategic places to slip on if I have to go out where the dirt is. Fire ants HURT...don't they?

Sir Thomas: So I've heard! See? So WHY would anyone want to take the chance of having them invade your private parts?? I'll take a hammock...in a screened-in porch...with a chilled Corona anyday...

j.m. neeb: Oh, I'm sure the poison ivy will get you before the spontaneous combustion does. Funny you mention that 'cause Connor (13) wondered aloud why a particular (whole) watermelon I bought was so freakin' heavy...and wondered if something...unexpected might happen when he plunged that first knife into the rind. Interesting how kid's imaginations work, right?

kathryn said...

Wendy Ramer: Welcome! Ha! Yeah? Well, maybe if we can find one of those bubbles...like they make for hamsters (only slightly larger), I'd be willing to join you. Otherwise, we have to do the laundry...and pre-treat the stains...and get the twigs out of our hair...is it really worth it??

Draea Lael (Rose): Well, sweetie...it sounds like you've got some exploring to do to find out what the "now" you wants to do. It sounds like you work very hard 10 months a year being a teacher, so you need to figure out what activity would make you happy. What do your girlfriends/co-workers, etc do during their off time? Check the local paper for what's happening in your area....I dunno. Just a thought.

Lynn: Oh, GOD! HELL on earth! It's hard to believe that there are people who can rub it all over themselves and never have a problem. They should have a way to put ppl who've been in the woods in solitary confinement while they decontaminate them. Let's work on that...

Johnny Virgil said...

I didn't care much about where I sat outside until I got a deer tick in a rather....awkward...spot. Now the entire back yard is just a seething, writhing mass of blood sucking insects. It is dead to me.

kathryn said...

Kristy: Ha! So, do you think your childhood fears stemmed from your mom? Well, life-lessons, birth, boys, therapy and meds can certainly pave the road to a more "un-cluttered" view on life. Sometimes, enough is enough...and we need to just....be. Don't you think?? That's why they invented wine...and Xanax.

Oddyoddyo13: Ha! Well, I don't mind if it rains and my hair already looks like crap...then I really do let all the stress go. But the plant thing? I think that'll always be a problem for me. Unless I can hire someone to steer me clear of 'em. How much do you think a guide like that would cost??

Alicia: Oh, ew! And I wouldn't be thinking about the spitting....I would be thinking about the animals that had peed at the base of that tree. See? It's always something. But...what IS that w/guys and spitting?? So, tell! What was happening in the tire place? Was someone doing the horizontal hustle? Now I wanna know...

kathryn said...

Climb2Nowhere: Oh, so let's see if I've got this straight: I can have a dirt-filled, ant-crawling, grass-encrusted ass from sitting on the grass and that's okay...but it's the dirty feet that's gross? Even on the 3rd martini? I'm just verifying here....

TC: Hey, I think more drinking will more than likely lead to living more dangerously...that's a given. Lyme is serious stuff...and I hate having to worry about it. It's like it didn't exist when we were kids...

Heather said...

I still love to be in the rain. I was just outside in the rain taking pics. Thankfully I haven't lost that, but I have lost the love of sitting in the grass, climbing trees and playing in the mud.

kathryn said...

Johnny Virgil: YES! You GET me! I KNEW I'd find someone who could appreciate the sheer peril that exists a mere feet away from our safe, humble abodes! I bow to you for expressing it so well. It is dead to me, too.....actually, if only. There's too much living in that grass for my delicate parts...

Heather: My mom used to love to weed in the rain, 'cause they come out of the ground so much easier. I somehow think that's more a practical thing than a carefree one, though. I like the sound of the rain...does that count?

Wendy Blum said...

Oh, yeah. Never worried about any of that stuff. Loved to play in the rain and in the puddles in the street and gutters after the rain. And although, we weren't allowed to get into our beds without a bath, I know I didn't care if I looked gross no matter where I went. Though my mom always tried to keep us looking clean. In photos from way-back-when my hair is usually messy and my feet, in summer, bare and dirty. Did I care? Nope. I think as we get older we let others dictate too much how we should look. I work in a warehouse that is very hot in summer and very cold in winter. We usually look sweaty and dusty in summer. No makeup, cause it would melt off. Hair is most likely in some kind of pony tail or bun. Wear it down and sweat more! In winter we are so bundled up even the best wrapped Christmas gift isn't a match to beat us. So at work I've learned to not give a crap. There's no one to impress any way. We all look the same,lol.
But on my days off...Well then I get into prissy mode.

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