Getting Dirty. Coming Clean.

With spring officially in the air, it simply cannot be avoided and as middle-class home owners there is no one around to do it but you. If it doesn’t get done, the neighbors will inevitably complain and start to hate you. The arduous, unavoidable task to which I am referring is springtime yard work. Pulling weeds, raking flower beds, planting, mowing and mulching. And no, I didn’t actually DO all of those things. I just helped out. A little. But somehow I find merely thinking and writing about it to be exhausting.

It is back-breaking, blister-inducing manual labor and if you don’t count housework like washing, scrubbing, sweeping, straightening and polishing — then I don’t do manual labor. It’s not that I think I’m above it. I’m just naturally lazy. Lazy and particularly fond of staying clean, pressed and relatively well-dressed. Yet even as I type this, a red, watery blister is pushing it’s way up through my irritated, over-worked thumb. Undisputable, irrefutable evidence of actual, physical work.

My dad has run his own landscaping business since I was young. Naturally, when my sister and I were big enough to operate push or riding mowers and other types of lawn equipment, Dad tried to put us able-bodied youths to work for him. My sister took to it right away and did this sort of work willingly… mowing, trimming, planting, weeding and the like. But to me, all of it seemed like a lot of hard work. Hard. Dirty. Work. I watched them come home day after hot, steamy, summer day drenched in sweat and coated with bits of grass, mulch, mud and the occasional outbreak of poison ivy. And I decided—rather quickly—Ummm… No. I don’t think so. Not for me.

I could usually be found at one of two places during the months of June, July and August. They were the Dairy Queen and the community pool. Therefore, upon turning 15, it made total and complete sense that I should—by any and all means necessary—work to secure summertime employment at these two fine establishments. So… while attending lifeguard training at the Y, I was getting paid to perfect the signature DQ curl atop cones, sundaes and banana splits. And I couldn’t have been happier.

Apparently, my ambition to perpetuate pleasure and never really break a sweat actually paid off! I was earning real money while working on my tan, sneeking bites from occasional Oreo Blizzard “mistakes” and talking to my friends. Everything worked out wonderfully as long as no one drowned and everyone received the correct amount of change with their Peanut Buster Parfait. Near as I could tell it was a win-win situation.

Sadly, I couldn’t stay a teenager forever. I managed to dodge the “dirty bullet” for awhile with my creative and fun-in-the-sun-vacational vocations but eventually the real world beckoned and I had to answer the call. I may have chosen a career that keeps me clean and seated behind a desk all day but that no longer negates the fact that NOW the yard is THERE. Waiting. And growing. Silently. Planning my Sunday afternoons for me for the rest of my foreseeable, capable existence. And my sister—with the green thumb she apparently inherited—certainly is not going to come and mow it, rake it, spray it, seed it or weed it for me.

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The Mysteriously Missing Section in the Cosmetics Department

There is a section missing in the skin care aisle of all cosmetics departments. I’m serious. Check it out next time you are in one. It goes straight from the teenage pimple creams, gels, cleansers, exfoliators, toners and masks right to the anti-aging serums, lifting lotions, wrinkle creams, eye illuminators and lip plumpers.

During a recent trip to the drug store, on a quest to find something that would clear up my skin, yet NOT suck out every ounce of moisture—thus causing my face to look and feel like an old catcher’s mit before I’m 40—I discovered this suspiciously absent section.

WHERE I ask, is the section for the women in between puberty and menopause? Are you with me on this, people? Because many of you are here with me now, or you remember having been here, or you will one day GET here. You’re barely beginning to see some laugh lines and little “chick’s feet” (not yet full-blown crow’s feet) yet you still break out once a month like you did back in high school. Now I ask… What is up with that?! I thought we outgrew acne and blemishes? But no… apparently these 2 delightful skin conditions are going to OVERLAP. Wrinkles PLUS acne. Score.

So I ask you, skin-care manufacturers, where are the products for me and my pals deeply submerged in the throes of the Thrisis?

Do cosmetic manufacturers think women go suddenly from sweet sixteen to senior? Because it sure looks like they do by simply cruising down the aisle. Their marketing message initially goes a little something like this: “Hey, look at you! You’re a teenager! You’re skin is disgusting! You suck. Use our product and you will have beautifully-flawless skin just like the pre-pubescent 11-year-old girl in this airbrushed photo.”

Then you walk a few paces, and the message totally changes. It goes a little something like THIS: “What-up Grams! You’re a hag! You have wrinkles, crater-sized pores, dark circles under your eyes, age spots, sagging lids and thin lips. You suck. Use our product and you will have beautifully, wrinkle-free, airbrushed skin just like the surgically-altered-mature-woman in this doctored photo.”

So I beg of you Roc, Olay, Garnier, Biore, Mary Kay, Noxema, Neutrogena, Clearasil, Clean & Clear and Oxy… please get together and create something for us Skinbetweeners,” because right now, as it stands… you are the ones who suck.