I was going to sit down and write a sonnet about hot flashes and how they signify the beginning of the end of one stage of life, with heat and energy bringing on the next phase. But then I realized that I had ended the first line with the word "wit" and the only rhyming word I could think of to adequately express how I feel about having a hot flash in the middle of Meijer with nothing but a paper napkin from Wendy's to mop myself up with in the third line was a word that I knew would make my mother pinch me really hard the next time I see her.
It didn't help that the Wendy's napkin had already been used as a hanky.
Generally, my hot flashes are triggered by stress, although sometimes, really spicy foods like jalapeno peppers can bring them on. Mostly, my hot flashes always seem to happen in stores, though. Great big stores, usually. The kind that are so large that the word SUPER generally figures in their names and you can see the curvature of the earth when you look down the middle aisle.
I don't know why super stores bug me so much. I think I just get overwhelmed by the fact that I could potentially buy shampoo, garden plants, furnace filters, a set of tires, a wok, butter, birthday cards, imported cheese and bath towels all under the same roof. It's too much. It's just too much. And the more time I spend in one of those places, the more money I spend and it makes me very nervous to see my cart piling ever higher with shampoo, garden plants, furnace filters, a set of tires, a wok, butter, birthday cards, imported cheese and bath towels.
This time of year is a great time to have a hot flash. Yesterday, after having to visit TWO big stores, I was a mess. A great big sweaty, sticky mess, which is one of the worst ways listed in my personal lexicon of Ways to Feel About Things. My hair, which is long and coarse and as dense as a clutch of barbed wire, felt damp. My clothes felt like they were made of plastic wrap. At about 4:30, I peeled everything off and put on my swimsuit, my mind entirely focused on the swimming pool that was calling my name.
For the first time since we joined the swim club, we went there entirely without coolers, tote bags, floats, or toys. We each grabbed a towel and piled into the van, sweaty and grouchy.
The pool water has never felt better than it did yesterday evening at 5:30. It was very cool, I estimate somewhere around 78 degrees. But as I plunged in, it felt like liquid silk moving past my hot skin. Despite the fact that I am roughly the size and shape of a manatee, the water makes me feel graceful and lithe. And cool.
The girls and I took our showers in the ladies' locker room and came home at 7:00. I was in my pajamas by 7:05 and came downstairs, barefoot, to start making the tacos. My husband came in from work and kissed my cheek, sliding his hand down my arm.
"You're so cool," he said in surprise. "That's how you usually feel in December."
"The pool re-set my internal thermostat," I replied.
"That's always nice. Good day to go to the pool It was a hot one out there today," he said with a sigh.
"It was nice. Pretty cold in the water, but, you know. Summery." I stirred some seasoned rice into the hamburger I was browning and added a fourth of a cup of jalapeno pepper juice.
"I thought jalapeno peppers made you have hot flashes," my husband said.
"Not tonight," I said, adding a package of Ortega taco seasoning to the skillet. "It was cool at the pool."
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