"Hedging" My Perimenopausal Stress

What, me perimenopausal?

By Donna Cavanagh • Guest Writer
Photograph: Photo by iStock.

This was a week of stress. I admit that I did it to myself. I started to think about work stuff and family stuff and then I couldn’t sleep, and then the next day I got more stressed because I was tired and well, you know how that vicious circle goes.  

I tried to de-stress with swimming, power walking and yoga, but still the stress and insomnia remained until last night. What did I do differently? I didn’t take a sleeping pill nor did I have my Jack Daniels night cap. No, instead, yesterday afternoon, I took out my electric hedge clippers. 

I know what you are thinking… “Uh oh, Should I be afraid?” Well, the answer is: Yes, you should be very afraid. Nothing good can come out of a situation that involves a stressed out, and most likely, perimenopausal woman who has in her possession electric hedge clippers!

I love my hedge clippers. They make a lot of bad things go away. This is how it works. First, I get out my two, 100-foot extension cords. Then, I survey the front and backyards to see which bushes and trees need trimming. Depending upon the severity of my stress, I can chop off one branch of a shrub or every freaking leaf that dwells on my humble half-acre of land. This was a day when I knew branches would be shaking with fear.

I started out with the idea that I would just trim and shape things up. This was the first trim of the spring, and how lucky were the trees and bushes to have their first haircut of the season in the hands of a sleep-deprived maniac.

I began in the front yard, where these red thorny bushes grow. I hate these bushes whether I am in a peaceful mood or an agitated state of mind. The people who owned the house before us planted them to keep people and dogs off the lawn. Yes, they were welcoming souls. Unfortunately, the thorns from these bushes wind up everywhere. If I walk out to the mailbox without shoes, I get thorns in my feet. If I park my car too close to them, I get scratched, and I bleed. They needed to go, and they needed to go last night.

So, I took my blades to them first. I was like a ninja warrior waving my sword in the air mentally envisioning where I would deliver my first blow. Yes, that was me. I was in that blissful zone, chopping and trimming and thinning. I was focused.

After the thorn bushes, I moved on to the boxwoods and then these piney-thing bushes I have yet to identify. I even found a stray poison ivy vine growing and I took that out too. 

“Begone, toxic weed!” I laughed aloud with a confident cockiness I had not felt in a long time. “You will not give me hives this year!” 

Well, to be truthful, the jury is still out on the whole hives thing. I did brush against the poison ivy before I whacked it, and I do get severe reactions, so if I have no new writing out in the next few weeks, you can pretty much assume that anaphylactic shock got me. 

After the front, I hit the backyard trees and shrubs. It was nothing short of nirvana. I could feel the stress leaving my body each time the clippers hit an unruly branch. It was when I sliced through the overgrown forsythias that I noticed how relaxed I had become. In fact, I realized I was singing.

Everything seemed to be at peace with the world again. I was happy; the birds were singing. I guess they could have been chirping out of fright. I can’t be sure, but I might have made a few homeless in my quest for neater shrubbery.

When I was done, I walked around my property to inspect my work. My house looked superb from the outside and now with the shrubbery so much shorter and thinner, more sunlight would be able to stream into my windows. I was excited.

Proud of what I had accomplished and now feeling so much more like myself, I poured myself a light drink and sat down on my back porch to admire my work. My husband came home about a half-hour later after umpiring a baseball game. Apparently, he noticed the neatly trimmed bushes right away.

“Bad day?” He queried.

“Why do you ask?” I answered.

“We have no landscaping left!”

“It will grow back.”

“Okay, then. Can you pour me one of those?” He asked pointing to the drink in my hand. “I’ll be down in a little bit after I shower and change.”

That was all that was said about the shrubbery that night. My husband has learned that when my stress and estrogen levels collide, it is best that he neither ask too many questions nor get too close to me and my friend, the electric hedge clippers.  

Donna Cavanagh is the founder of HumorOutcasts.com. Her latest humor book is Reality: Fantasy’s Evil Twin.

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First Published Fri, 2010-04-30 19:16

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