Perils of Pauline

On Wednesdays when it’s time to get my steps, my mind goes shopping for a topic for that week’s blog. Today my interior Time Machine took me back to Phoenix in 1980.

That’s the year the divorce from my first husband was finalized. He was living in Las Vegas with his mother at the time and was due to see the kids over Christmas vacation. Since they were still in primary school, I was hesitant to send them by plane. When my Mary Grandma, my former mother-in-law, invited me to come and stay, that’s exactly what I did.

One evening, she invited me to go to dinner with her while my ex took our kids and their two cousins to a drive-in movie. Since the drive-in literally shared a fence with Mary Grandma’s mobile home park, that seemed reasonable enough. She and I dressed up for our evening out while he and the kids went off to the drive-in.

When we came home, it was readily apparent that my ex had been imbibing in adult beverages while watching the movie, so I decided to take the cousins back home. I believe I already mentioned that Mary Grandma and I had dressed up that night—heels, hose, the whole nine yards. After dropping off the cousins, as I was leaving my sister-in-law’s home, one of my high heels caught in a crack in her driveway. Down I went. I limped back to Mary Grandma’s with a sprained wrist, a sprained ankle, bloodied knees and torn pantyhose. My ex thought it was hilarious. “I thought I was the one who was drunk,” he told me.” Grrr!

That was on Saturday night. On Sunday the kids and I drove back to Phoenix so I could be at work on Monday morning. The next two nights, however, I noticed that when I moved the covers, my sprained wrist hurt enough that it woke me up.

Within days of my husband moving out of the house, things had started going haywire. One of the items on the fritz was the toilet in the ensuite bath of the master bedroom. Sometimes it would flush; sometimes it wouldn’t. When it wouldn’t, all it took was a quick fist bump on the top of the flushing tank to get it going again.

On Tuesday morning, when the toilet didn’t flush, I whacked it with my right hand. The toilet flushed all right, but I ended up sitting on the toilet crying for the next five minutes because my wrist hurt so much. Once I dropped the kids off at school and preschool, I went to the office of one of my insurance clients. Dr. Ranjit Bisla just happened to be an orthopedic guy. He ordered an X-ray of my wrist. “While you at it,” I told the technician, “maybe you’d better X-ray my ankle, too.” He did, and that afternoon, when I picked the kids up from school, I had a walking cast on my left foot and another cast on my right wrist.

This was the old days. Pantsuits weren’t really standard office wear at the time. I went to work each day in heels and NoNonsense Pantyhose. On Wednesday morning, when it came time to get dressed for work, I was at a loss as to how to deal with wearing a skirt while also wearing the cast.

I was a single mom with two kids and no child support. No Nonsense Pantyhose were expensive. So when I’d get a run in one leg, I’d put the damaged pair aside in my underwear drawer. Then, once I had two damaged pairs, I’d cut the legs with the runs in them off and then wear two tops with one good leg each. That double pair of tops made my no-nonsense pantyhose truly no-nonsense as a guy who tried to pinch me discovered much to his dismay.

But that morning, I cut off the one bad leg well below my knee and the toes off mid-foot. Then, I stuffed the leg part into the cast from the top and the toe part into the cast from the bottom. Viola!! There I was decked out in appropriate dress-for-success fashion.

The next six weeks seemed to last forever, but I managed to lighten the load with humor. Whenever someone asked me how I got my pantyhose on, I told them either, “I put them on over my head,” or “I was wearing them when it happened.”

Because, as Art Linkletter used to say, “Laughter really is the best medicine!”