Saturday, February 18, 2012

'Hormonal' Why, Whatever Gives You That Impression?

It can be difficult to determine what a woman means exactly when she says she is 'hormonal'. It could simply mean she has a headache, or is a little cranky... perhaps bloated and a little sad. You never can tell. Of course, it's a terrible idea to ask a lady to clarify what level of 'hormonal' she is.

"Hormonal, huh? Are we talking a chocolate cookie dough kind of night? Or a date with the exorcist?"
Bad idea.
It's always polite to respond instead with:

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Would you like me to rub your [insert body part here: feet, neck, shoulders, breasts, other bits]?"
Also acceptable:

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Would you like me to run to Krispy Kreme/Sonic/Baskin Robbins/The Cheesemonger at Scardello for you?"
This is indeed what a woman is looking for when she announces her mental state as 'hormonal'. You would only understand this if you had ever been a woman with PMS, tried to understand what that means by asking a woman with PMS, or if you had encountered a wild grizzly while wearing a suit made of raw pork belly. You can either give the bear what it wants, or suffer the wrath.

Sometimes, 'hormonal' is a less predictable form of crazy, bordering on psychosis. Let me preface the description of my day with the fact that its been a very long week with Bart's hospital stay, and I've slept very little. Nevertheless, in retrospect, I probably should have seen the warning signs early, took an Ambien and gone back to bed.

My Saturday:

1. I didn't sleep last night, despite being so tired I couldn't coordinate my hands to do simple tasks when I got home. I went to pour myself some wine, and started pouring about an inch to the right of the mouth of my glass. I watched in amazement as - for the second time this week - I watched myself pour wine all over the counter with zero control of my extremities.

Sudden lack of coordination: sign you might be hormonal. (Wine all over the counter also counts toward diagnosis, crying over said wine is a guarantee of the condition.)

2. Since I was up so early, I started doing laundry and washing dishes at 5:15am. Once a chunk of chores were off my list, I decided to go back and try to grab a nap before it was time to get Bart at the hospital. I laid back down and suddenly, off in the corner of the room, a tiny little grumble started repeating itself. I would barely have dozed off, and the grumble would wake me. It had been raining, the cat was annoying me, and I was so delirious, I didn't care where it was coming from until, in a fit of rage, I realized it was my own stomach and spoke to it in tongues, commanding it to LEAVE ME ALONE SO I CAN SLEEP! Only I was the only one who understood the message, because what came out of my mouth sounded more like WHY DOES EVERYTHING IN MY HOUSE, INCLUDING MY CATS AND MY BODY WANT ME TO BE UNHAPPY?!

Holding your biology responsible for your happiness: sign you might be hormal.

3. Since I was definitely awake again, and evidently hungry, I went to the kitchen and wrestled the pizza box out from the night before. I had wedged it in carelessly, and I knocked some pudding off the second shelf of the fridge. It landed on the island next to the bottle of wine - the one I opened so I could pour it all over the counter. I was suddenly unable to concentrate on anything else except for the life and death decision that I had to make that very second. Do I pick up the pudding - put it back in the fridge (or eat it along the way)? Or do I pour myself a glass of wine? I am essentially still up from the night before, plus it might chill me out enough to get some sleep, and I'm about to eat some pizza - where did the pizza go again? Why not? 2 minutes later, several slices of insanely salty & cheesy goodness, a glass of wine, and me were all snuggled back under the covers watching Mythbusters. The sun wasn't even up yet, it felt perfectly normal.

Rationalizing pizza and chianti as breakfast because the night and morning touch each other in a grey area: sign you might be hormonal.

I'd like to tell you that at this point, I admitted that today was going to be a problem and stayed inside, but tragically, that is not the end to my behavior.

4. While cleaning the house like a madwoman before Bart was discharged, I started a grocery list. I remembered a few things I wanted to get for him and was going to run out in the afternoon when he was settled. I should have foreseen complications when the first three items I wrote on the list were spicy mustard, fritos, and ice cream. As the day dragged on, the list got more insane by the entry. I was coming up with recipes in my head, when I would dream up something I didn't want to make because Bart couldn't eat it, I would modify it so he could. Next thing I know, my shopping list includes 4 stores, things like celeriac, and even a few appliances. Several hours later, I returned to the house with enough produce to stuff a tofurkey the size of my car, a few necessities, and some dangerous plans. Somewhere along the way, I had decided the veggie stock I bought to thin foods for him in the blender was substandard and I needed to make it from scratch. While I was making stock, why not make a ton and freeze it? While I'm making a ton of stock, why not make a soup for dinner tonight with the veggies from the stock? While making veggies in the stock for the soup, why not add some lentils, split-peas and barley for protein and make a cream of veggie soup instead?

Going to the store for yogurt and Dimetapp and coming home with an entire evening's worth of prep and cooking (with no room in the freezer to store the results): sign you might be hormonal.

5. The entire day was capped off for me a few minutes ago, when, after ransacking the kitchen looking for sweets, while eating directly out of the container of cookies & cream (too cliche to list as an actual sign of hormonalness), I got a craving so mad for chocolate that I tore apart the refrigerator before moving on the freezer, meticulously looking and eventually finding... behind the pedialyte popsicles... under the box of henna... in a frostbitten package that wasn't even sealed up properly... I found...

Two, just two - Thin Mint cookies. I could hear angels sing. Really, angels.

They looked like they had been entombed in the fortress of solitude for way too long. They weren't really a color anymore, just gray and fuzzy looking. They smelled a little like the hatch chilies they lived next to for a while in the freezer door. I thought about the worst-case scenario. Maybe I'll eat them and they're horrible, and I have to continue looking for chocolate. Maybe I'll bite into them and they are imposters, meant to look like Thin Mints, but actually tiny veggie burgers or the remnants of a chipotle paste I froze into disks. Before I could really reason with myself, one of them was in my mouth. I stood there before the open freezer, eyes closed, head back, chewing a Thin Mint that, by all calculations has to be three years old, covered in freezer burn, with only its single lowly companion in my hand. I popped that last guy in my mouth and savored the taste of a distinct remote possibility that the waxy cardboard I just ate was a Thin Mint. Nothing else mattered. I was victorious.

Looking for, finding, and then eating 3-year old girl scout cookies to satisfy the crazy inside you that is making you destroy your kitchen (and your waistline) all day? Proof you're hormonal. And not just kinda either, sister, you're full-on, grizzly bear, irrationally and incessantly driven - hormonal. Batshit pscyhotic hormonal is right around the corner.

I'd like to post pics and the recipe for my stock and soup, but I'm afraid to go back into the kitchen to grab the camera. I have to allow the estrogen balance to return or I might somehow get myself arrested in there.

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