June 27, 2001
Controlling the Uncontrollable


"Well," David said, as I slid into the passenger seat next to him. "It looks like Mother Nature has decided for us, doesn't it?" And he flipped on the windshield wipers. The question had been, Do we bike-ride tonight? Or does Secra's impromptu *Vacation From Pain* continue for another day or two?

I brushed the raindrops off my nose and shrugged. "I guess we'll have to skip it," I said.


Ordinarily Monday is one of our regular riding nights. David has no family obligations that night ... and I'm generally recovered enough by then, from whatever hideous muscular agony I inflicted on myself over the weekend, to get back on the Schwinn and do it all over again. We usually ride over to the abandoned Navy Base and tool around for five or six miles, just enough to keep our muscles pumped and our motivation piqued. But the fact is that neither one of us is adequately equipped -- or, in my case, adequately equipped or experienced or willing -- enough to ride around in mud puddles.

Not yet, anyway.

So instead we stopped at the grocery store on the way home, and we picked up some fresh green beans and a couple of tiny, ludicrously expensive steaks, and we came home and spent the evening mostly-horizontal. I got a bed picnic out of the deal, and my poor abused muscles got an additional day of rest.

Thank you, {{{{{{{Mother Nature}}}}}}, for the extra day-off! You're a true friend!

      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

When we were picking a date to get married, way back in December, I sat down with a 2001 calendar and carefully, methodically plotted our payroll cycles ... our accumulated vacation time ... our astrological and biorhythmic forecasts ... long-range Pacific Northwest weather patterns ... everything, basically, except sea turtle migration patterns and global supply-and-demand balances ... all in an effort to pick the *optimum date* for our wedding. I was especially careful about researching my menstrual cycle for the next seven months.

For obvious reasons.

Or maybe not-so-obvious reasons. I was a lot less worried about ... well, YOU know ... than I was about those lethal 72 hours immediately PRECEDING ... well, YOU know. And according to my calculations, July 21st cleared the 72 Hours From Hell safety margin by a good two weeks. I probably wouldn't be killing anybody totally dead at my wedding.

What I hadn't counted on was Mother Nature deciding to vote herself into the Bridal Party.

At the risk of offering up more information than is strictly necessary here  --  particularly for the Testosterone Units in the audience -- let's just say that for the past six or seven months, pretty much nothing about my menstrual cycle has been "regular" or "predictable" or "more fun than a barrel of monkeys." I've been late when I was expecting to be early ... I've been early when I was expecting to be late ... I've had triple my usual reserves of energy one month, and felt totally depleted the next month ... I've had months when the whole thing was over in the blink of an eye, and other months when entire dynasties have been created and destroyed and resurrected again in the time it took for my fudking period to end.

In short: I'm in the throes of perimenopause. (Or -- as we fortysomethings affectionately refer to it -- "It's not MENOPAUSE!! Quit calling it MENOPAUSE!!")

The really sucky thing about all of this, though, is the havoc it has played with my carefully researched, meticulously plotted "schedule." All spring I have watched in horror as the estimated start date for my July period has skipped around, from the middle of the first week ... to the middle of the month ... back to the end of the first week/beginning of the second week ... to its current spot on the calendar, as of this morning:

July 21st.

Our wedding day.

Thanks a lot Mother Nature, you demented bitch. Who needs enemies when they've got you for a "friend"?

      *      *      *      *      *      *      *

Before you write to console me or laugh at me or suggest some weird scary medical procedure ... or to SCOLD me for not going on birth control pills last spring when I had the chance ... let me hasten to assure you that I'm actually semi-OK with this. David and I have talked it over. We're grown-ups. We can handle it. Everything's cool.

Besides: what am I going to do? Cry? Refuse to cooperate? Threaten to slap Mother Nature with a lawsuit? 

Ruin my own wedding by being a great big noisy baby about stuff I have absolutely no control over?

Here's how I see it. I have control over a certain number of wedding-related variables: what I wear, what I say during the ceremony, where I toss the bouquet ... whether I try to sneak out with the entire buffet after the ceremony or just the leftover wedding cake. But the rest of it is just plain out of my hands.

What I can control is the way I react to the uncontrollable stuff.

  • I can't control the weather in TicTac that afternoon ... but I can control how I respond to it. Sunshine? (We'll have a garden wedding!) Rain? (Indoors, with candles!) Snow? (Everybody into the IGLOO!)

  • I can't control whether or not The Relatives Who Hate Me will decide to make an appearance  --  my mailbox isn't exactly filling up with their response cards  --  but I can control how I greet them if they do show up. (Gosh it's nice to see you again. Thank you for the lovely case of antifreeze. Have you met my husband, Ю僱êrvØ¡? We discovered each other in an AOL Chat Room, we slept together the first night we met, and we both like to write about embarrassing bodily functions on the Internet! Can I get you some more punch?)

  • I can't control whether my fifteen-year-old son sneaks behind the hydrangea bush and has a cigarette before the ceremony ... but I can make sure he's wearing a TIE while he's doing it.

  • I can't control where our guests aim their video cameras while David and I are busy standing at the altar, saying "I do" ... but I can control the editing process afterwards, before we start offering copies for sale here on the website. ($18.95 plus S+H, available in VHS Format only, no C.O.D.'s please!)

  • And I obviously can't control my erratic and capricious menstrual cycle ... but I can control whether I pack enough St. John's Wort, $28 mascara, ridiculously-overpriced feminine hygiene products and Midol Extra-*Don't-Beat-Anybody Up-Until-AFTER-The-Ceremony*-Strength
    Formula to get both me -- and Mother Nature -- through the day in one piece.

    And with as little *bloodshed* as possible.

one year ago: one last blast
[of vacation aftermath]

throw a rock