Category Archives: birthdays

As If The First Time Wasn’t Fun Enough…

I guess there are worse things, but I’m going to complain anyway.  Just.Because.I.Can.

I had my annual woman checkup last month you see.  And the gynecologist, she said, “We mail out letters now with the results of your pap smear.  If you haven’t received a letter from us in three weeks time, then give us a call.”

The three weeks?  It went by.  Without a letter from the doctor’s office. 

I was actually sitting at the computer thinking to myself, “Should I give them just one more day or should I call the doctor’s office now,” when the phone rang.  It was kind of like telepathy, only I messed the back end of it up, because while it was the doctor’s office calling, it wasn’t with news I wanted to hear.

“Hi.  Doctor Do-Over asked me to call.  Your pap smear results were unsatisfactory.  That means there were not enough cells for the lab to do a complete screening.  Doctor Do-Over would like you to come back in for another pap smear.” Can you believe my luck here?  Who wouldn’t jump at the chance?  I mean, the first one was just so much fun.  And now I get to do it again? Woo Hoo! Boo Hoo.

So now I have to schedule an appointment, take time off from work, drive an hour to the doctor’s office, strip from the waist down, lie down with my feet in stirrups, and let Doctor Do-Over scrape away at my cervix a second time.  I suppose I’ll have to do that, but I’m not all that confident she’ll do any better of a job this time than she did the last time.  And I sure as hell don’t plan to give her a third opportunity. I know they say the third time’s the charm, but come on.  

So I’m thinking, can’t I just do this myself?  How hard can it be? What do I need, really?  An old popsicle stick?  Too short you think?  We’ve got chopsticks around this place somewhere.  I could take a sample myself and mail it to the lab from here.  The great thing is, I’m NOT a doctor.  Without stirrups and a that shoehorn thing they pry you open with, I’m sure I’d scrape the hell out of my cervix, possibly remove the thing in its entirety, thereby ensuring the lab would have more than enough cells to get a satisfactory result this time around. I could save myself a lot of money on gas too!

At my last appointment, Doctor Do-Over was kind enough to inform me that since I recently turned 40, I’ve earned the pleasure of receiving annual mammograms.  She even filled out an order for me to go get one. What a birthday present! 

I bet your doctors aren’t this skilled or this much fun.  I bet they don’t give you gifts for your birthday, either.  So let me know if you want Doctor Do-Over’s number. If you’re planning a pick-up game of kick ball, I hear she’s the one you want on your team…



Filed under birthdays, do-overs, doctors, life


Wow.  So I’m turning forty in a few days.  40.  40!

But you know, I don’t FEEL forty.  And I don’t think I LOOK forty.

Except a few things that have happened over the past few days have really made me question how I am perceived by others.

There is this: A dermatologist gave me a prescription for Retin A to try and combat the oily skin I’ve had  I read in a magazine that there are things you can actually do now to try and reduce the oily shine besides wiping it off your face every half an hour, your carefully applied makeup being wiped away along with it.  So I decided to see a dermatologist.  And he said Retin A is the best thing out there for this, my shiny face. 

But when I dropped my prescription off at the pharmacy, the person behind the counter asked how old I was and then said with a half smile-half sneer on her face, “Well you know, your insurance won’t pay for this.  They don’t pay for Retin A for anyone over 35 because it was developed as an acne medication for TEENAGERS but older women started using it when they discovered it helps diminish their wrinkles…”  And she nearly harrumphed as she smiled at me in her pharmacy coat with her gray hair up in a bun.  I just stood there, nearly dumbfounded, until I finally managed to say, “Well, my doctor prescribed it for me, so I’d like to fill the prescription anyway.”

And then there is this: I was telling some co-workers about my son, and how he had taken our calendar off the refrigerator and written “START” in the box for June 1, and “END” in the box for November 30th.  And then he drew a line through all the days in between to show that hurricane season will be occurring during that time.  One of the co-workers, whom I don’t know very well, turned to me and said, “What does your son do?”

“What does he DO?”  I asked, perplexed.  “Well, he goes to Kindergarten.”

“Oh!” the co-worker said.  “I thought he was working or studying something in college…”

And then, possibly realizing he might have just insulted me, he backpedaled and said, “Or high school.  Do they learn about hurricane season in high school?  But, oh, I didn’t know he was in kindergarten.  Hmmm…” he trailed off.

And so I wonder, do I LOOK old enough to have a child in high school?  Or worse, college? 

Technically, yes, I admit it’s possible that I am old enough to have a child in high school or college.  I recently connected with some former high school classmates and many of them have children who are teenagers, juniors and seniors in high school, a few with children in college. 

That could have been me.  If I had had my son when I was 25, well, he’d be 15 now, and studying hurricanes in high school.  Maybe. If they study hurricanes in high school. Or, if I had had him when I was 20, he’d be 20 now himself, and studying hurricanes in college in between all the drinking at frat parties and chasing girls around campus.  Ahem…

But I didn’t.  I was 33 when my son was born.  He’ll be seven this fall.  He’ll be in first grade, studying hurricanes. 

And me?  I’ll be trying to cure this oily skin, skin that seems more fitting for a teenager, with Retin A.  And I’ll still be 40.  Whether I like it, or feel it, or look it or not.


Filed under birthday, birthdays, identity, Kindergarten, life


R.S.V.P. It’s French.  It means répondez s’il vous plait.  Translated into English it means get off your lazy ass, pick up the phone, and call the number on the invitation I sent you and let me know if you are coming to the party or not.  If I don’t answer the phone, just leave a message.

Okay…okay.. translated into English R.S.V.P. actually means  respond please.  But for some reason, it appears that people are completely ignoring the little note that says R.S.V.P. on their invitations. They’re not responding at ALL.  And I’m not sure why.

Is it because it’s French and not that many people in the good ole U.S. of A. speak French?  Well, if that was YOUR excuse, you can’t use it anymore.  I’ve just translated it for you and so now you know what R.S.V.P. means.

The same holds if you were going to say you don’t R.S.V.P. because YOU think it means REGRETS s’il vous plait and that you only need to call if you AREN’T coming to the party.  It doesn’t.  If I wanted you to only call if you weren’t planning on attending my party, I would have written the words “Regrets Only.”  But I didn’t.

And while I’m at it, let me also tell you that the date written after the letters R.S.V.P. means that you are supposed to call and announce whether you are coming or not BY THAT DATE.  It’s kind of like the sell by date on a package of ground beef.  Or the expiration date on your carton of milk.  You are supposed to do something BY THAT DATE.  When the date is linked to an R.S.V.P. it means you are supposed to let me know BY THAT DATE if you plan to attend or not.  It does not mean wait until the day after the party to say “Oh, by the way, sorry we missed your party, we went camping that weekend…”

And now, dear readers, I’m sure you are asking yourselves what on earth is Belle’s diatribe all about?  You might even be shrugging on your jacket this very moment to run out and check your mailbox again, just to be sure you didn’t over look an invitation from me.  Don’t worry.  You didn’t.  My anger isn’t directed at you.

It’s directed at THE PEOPLE I SENT BIRTHDAY PARTY INVITATIONS TO for Snags’ 6th Birthday.  And yes, I know his birthday is over and done with and that the party has already come to pass, but sheesh!  I realize I should let it go, but I can’t.  This is  STILL bothering me.

And it’s bothering a friend of mine too.  Natalie recently mailed out invitations for her daughter’s birthday party.  When we received ours, I picked up the phone to call and say that yes, Snags would very much like to come to the party and we were looking forward to it.  My friend then informed me that I was the ONLY person who had responded so far, and she was getting a bit worried.  Why weren’t people responding?  Had the invitations been lost in the mail?  Did people not like her daughter? 

I assured her that people loved her daughter.  Her daughter is beautiful, and smart, and friendly.  I explained that I had experienced the same thing over Snags’ party invitations.  I told her how I had sent out 15 invitations and only half that many bothered to respond. 

“So what should I do?”  my friend asked.

I suggested she give it some more time.  Be prepared, I told her, to feed and party with all the children you invited, but understand some of them won’t show up.  And they won’t tell you they aren’t going to show up.  And then, I went on, understand that some children WILL show up even though their parents haven’t called to tell you they are coming. And those children will likely bring uninvited brothers and sisters with them.  It’s a real mess, I agreed.  But plan for a full house and maybe half will come.  “You’ll probably have leftovers,” I told her.

I’ve discussed this issue with friends and co-workers alike.  I’ve asked them all what they would do, if they sent out invitations with a clear request for people to R.S.V.P. and the R.S.V.P.s weren’t coming in. Many people said they’d pick up the phone themselves and call their intended guests.  They would outright ask people if they were coming.  Others said they wouldn’t call.  They said they would hope for the best but expect the worst.

I think in the future I won’t write R.S.V.P. on my invitations at all.  I think I will come up with something new, an R.S.V.P. alternative.  I will write it on the invitations in fat red magic marker so it’s hard to miss. 

I’ve thought of a few already: 

C.A.T.M.I.U.R.C.T.T.P.O.N.B.4.12.O.S. (call and tell me if you are coming to the party or not before 12 on Saturday)


W! T.I.W.E.& S.D.S.A.O.Y.K.I.U.D.C.A.T.M.I.U.R.C.T.T.P.O.N.B.T.D.S. (Warning! This invitation will explode & spread dog shit all over your kitchen if you don’t call and tell me if you are coming to the party or not by the date specified).

Or, maybe simply:



Filed under birthdays, invitations, life, parties, R.S.V.P.