“Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do”

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This is my husband’s go-to phrase when I complain about the trials and tribulations of life, especially when I was out numbered by children, Larry was traveling nonstop, and my mom lived two states away. It got to the point where he’d abridge the statement to, “tough times don’t last…”

You can only imagine my unadulterated response? Yeah, it was primitive, unladylike, and definitely unrepeatable, so don’t ask.

I remember calling him to lament when the family van broke down once again, it was a brown and tan Ford Aerostar, could not have been uglier, we called her Reese after the peanut butter cups, she came with three rows of seats, and opposing slider doors. The good thing about sliders is the doors don’t get dinged when the kids pile out, but the bad thing is they get left open, which periodically drains the battery.

I could totally relate because much of the time I felt drained.

So one day when my battery, I mean the car’s battery, was completely dead, and I still had to chauffeur the kids to and from swim, soccer, basketball, etc., and my generous neighbor Bob was not home to lend me his car, I rang up Larry in desperation, who was vacationing, escaping, excuse me, working in Connecticut (could he be further away) and explained my woeful predicament.

His compassionate response, “sounds like you’re hosed.”

“I’m hosed am I?”

I had t-shirts made up that said, “I’m Hosed,” in bold letter across my breasts and I rented a deluxe Hummer for the rest of the week.

I’ll tell you who’s hosed.

Anyhoo, so recently I’ve been hearing the old adage, “tough times don’t last…,” and I’m not talking about reconstruction woes, something much worse has transpired, and with no viable options, Larry has reverted to this impoverished response.

If you don’t want the full and unabridged edition, skip to the end, because I plan on chronicling the series of unfortunate events in gruesome detail. Trigger warning, it’s a dreadful tale, and you might develop empathy pains, high blood pressure, and an addiction to wine. Read at your own risk.

I’ll paint you a picture as vivid as possible so you’ll barely have to use your imagination.

It’s our last day up at the lake, the guests have all gone home, the laundry is done, the kitchen is cleaned, the bathrooms are spit shinned, and my robo vacuum is on the move. The temperature is hovering around a hundred degrees, with humidity just over fifty percent, and we decide conditions are excellent for a impromptu boat ride.

Fortunately, or not, we are still able to get our boat out of the lift and into the water. The lake is so low this year, by mid-July we’ll run out of cable, and be forced to launch and recover the boat each time we want to use it. That’s a total hassle but you can’t be stranded without a boat in the middle of summer.

No. No. No.

Larry heads down to the dock and enters into a rather prolonged battle with an army of gregarious spiders. They hang out under the dock in bulk so when you lower it to get the boat in the water the spiders climb onto the dock and into the boat as if an undeterrable rebel force. Keep in mind Larry is not really a spider guy.

I see him out in the middle of the lake with an armory of wet rags trying diligently to knock the spiders off the boat. The problem is the spiders cleverly throw a web from the water and simply crawl back into the boat but literally there are hundreds of spiders and one towel raging defender, let me just say it’s not going well. It appears the spiders have the upper leg so to speak. Larry’s new strategy is to push as many spiders as possible into the water, then move the boat to another location, and repeat. It’s way funnier watching than I’m able to describe but my sense of humor is a little warped these days.

He finally returns to the dock all worn out but victorious.

My stomach hurts from laughing so hard but nonetheless Jim, Sue, Larry, and me manage to load up the boat with coolers, towels, and flotation devices, heading out to Buckingham to float in the cool water, sip a little wine, and shoot the shit.

It’s as if we’ve not a care in the world but this is about to change for one of us.

The water is extraordinarily refreshing, especially in this humid, hot weather. As time passes we decide we need to check out Konocti Harbor and Resort that recently opened up for guests. Apparently, there is live music and cocktails tonight.

After scrambling into our wrinkled coverups, and doing what we can with our wet hair, we head over to the new lakeside bar for a lookie-loo. By the grace of the lake God we score a table and enjoy a refreshing cocktail with the smooth sounds of an Acoustic Guitarist. We decide the music is a little too loud for our liking, but we’re old, and our ability to hear each other talk over all that racket might have something to do with it.

When the music becomes too much for our aging ears, we decide to boat over to Lakeport for Pogo’s Pizza, the perfect ending of a perfect evening. Yeah, not so fast my friend.

The lake is earrily quiet, the water is ours, and ours alone. Clear Lake is one of the richest lakes in the state when it comes to nutrients. That is one reason we have algae blooms as well as a massive amount of aquatic weeds. Some of the species of aquatic weeds have been in the lake for more than a million years. Can you imagine?

The most common weed is hydrilla, it’s classified as an invasive weed, and this year with the depth of the lake so low, the weeds are out of control. We made it halfway across the lake before the boat started overheating and Larry had to physically unravel the weeds from the prop, but we made it to the Lakeport docks and ordered a large combo pizza.

Thirty-five minutes later, as the sun is setting in the western sky, we’re enjoying the cool evening shade and a piping hot Pogo’s pizza. This is the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, it’s all about the crust, and the four of us are able to dust off a large combo in record time.

After we’ve had our fill we head back to Kono Tayee to enjoy the fire pit and a nightcap together.

Best laid plans…

We’re all lulled by the smooth ride home, I’m sitting in the back-facing seat next to Larry, with Jim and Sue leaning against the seats along the stern of the boat. As Larry makes a sweeping turn just inside the buoys by our dock, he decides to gun it (without warning), and as luck would have it an unexpected wave meets the bow of the boat as it’s entering the self-induced spin and suddenly we are airborne.

I fly a foot into the air, that’s saying a lot, I’m not exactly as light as a feather. Sadly what goes up must come down, and I slam rib first into Larry’s knee, the rest of me lands in a heap on the floor of the boat. There is a rather loud crack, horrendous moan, as the wind is knocked out of me. I can’t move or breathe or speak for several minutes. Not funny!

Jim says, “are you okay?”

I shake my head no because I can’t speak.

Sue says, “I heard the crack.”

Larry says, “you hit my leg, you’re fine.”

When I regain my ability to verbalize I scream, “what the hell Larry?”

“Nobody notices, only you’ve known, you’re not sick, not crazy, not angry, not sad ~ It’s just this, you’re injured.” Claudia Rankine

The searing pain is nearly unbearable, and I’m not a wimp, I gave birth to four children without pain meds. But this, this is cruel and unusual punishment for the crime of a pleasant voyage. I manage to stand when my ability to breathe returns.

Hobbling up to the house I land in a deck chair and remain there for the rest of the evening. As the skies darken so does my injury and by bedtime I can barely walk, sneezing and coughing are out of the question.

I spent the entire night moving from couch, to recliner, and back to the bed. I couldn’t get comfortable and by morning I was literally crying, “I can’t sleep, my ribs hurt, something is broken.”

Poor Larry was trying to close up the house, pack up the car, and deal with his injured wife. He kept saying, “you’ll be fine, it’s just a bad bruise.”

With me walking around braless, aimlessly moaning, “I’m dying, I’m dying. Tell the kids I love them.”

The ride home was exhausting, I had to hold the seat belt away from my rib, elevate my braless boob so it wouldn’t bounce on the wound. Try not to picture this in detail. I was a throbbing piece of agonizing flesh and I did not hide my displeasure well.

When we arrive home, I am unable to find a comfortable position, and apparently I became a little demanding?

We had a family dinner planned for tonight, so I sent Larry to the store with a lengthy list, after he spent four hours putting together his new Napolean barbecue. My daughters put together the salad and side dishes, Nic and Larry grilled, while I directed the clean up from my chair. I do what I can.

I’m finding out that I’m quite good at delegating, who knew, and I think it’s going to be this way for quite some time. There’s something beguiling about cracking a rib or two, you end up finding yourself in the broken bits, because what I was doing and where I was going no longer exists. It allows you the time to finally just be with out judgement or guilt. A new type of being is born, one whom is more fearless than ever, one who fully understands, “tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

Anecdotes:

  • “The Motto of Champions: If you are hurt, you can suck it up and press on. If injured, you can rebound and return bigger and better…and continue to inspire!” T.F. Hodge
  • “Meekness is to endure injury without resentment.” T.F. Tenney,
  • “Almost all accidents and injuries happen when an individual is not being present and not paying attention to what they are doing.” Tobe Hanson

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  1. Men are so interesting, aren’t they? It’s like they have these momentary mental seizures..like “Hey!!! Let’s gun it/blast it/whip it/crack it/smack it/throw it/eat it…” Just so fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh do I feel for you! There is nothing more painful than broken ribs! I hate to say it but it seems to take forever to heal. Yep I broke mine in my 20’s when drinking beer and sitting on a table while leaning against a door. Some idiot unlocked the door from the other side and opened it, down I went to the concrete floor. So yes, you have ALL my sympathy!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m feeling the empathy Diane! I can not believe how painful this is, I can’t get comfortable no matter where I flop, and if I sneeze it’s all over! I may never wear a bra again! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh noooo! I was sad when I got to the part about the lake being so low, but then the tale got much worse! I hope you feel better soon. Maybe we can cheer you up with some wine in a few weeks❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gail, this is the worst, I keep thinking I’ll wake up and it’ll be a little better? But no, the pain is consistent and brutal. This being my first rib injury I had no idea! Larry’s had several and keeps telling me it takes a long time to heal. Ugg, I look forward to some cheering up in a few weeks! Miss you guys! 💕💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim, I love the way you think! My revenge has a lot to do with my inability to do much and guess who’s picking up the slack? My sister advises milking it for all its worth! I’ll pass on the virtual snack, feels good just writing that, I appreciate the loyalty! Soft hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m finding out that I’m quite good at delegating, who knew, and I think it’s going to be this way for quite some time. Good for you! I hear broken ribs take years to heal (or at least that’s what you can tell the family, while you heal and regain your 100% but still continue to delegate!) In all seriousness though, I know that is a very painful injury and I wish you quick healing and lots of diversions to take your mind off the ouch! Praying for you, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mama Lava! I very much appreciate your prayers! And yes, I plan on developing my delegation skills, for quite some time. Diversions a great idea, but comedy is out, laughing is killer! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m hoping for some relief soon, it’s amazing how painful ribs can be? I’m actually flabbergasted! Thanks for the empathy, much appreciated! All my best, C

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  5. You have a robo-vacuum? I always wondered who bought those. 🙂
    I have never had the luxury of owning a boat. But what with armies of spiders, weeds in the propellor, and crashing into the dock, I don’t seem to have missed out on much! 🙂
    A great story as always, Cheryl.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pete you crack me up (no pun intended), from the entire story you zero in on the robo-vacuum? Let me defend my little guy, the lake house is located right on the beach, and the sand that gets dragged in is extraordinary. I have my robo friend running 24/7. Okay, boats are delightful most of the time, especially with conscientious drivers! Larry’s decision to goose the boat was unfortunate especially if you’re seated backwards! If you’re ever in the US Pete, you’ll have to plan to spend some time at the lake with us, and we’ll convince you about the joys of boating! In the meantime I’ll be delegating! Warmly, C

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Keith, thank you, it’s true, there’s something to be said about suffering in silence! Bahaha, I I don’t do the silent thing well! And I rarely ask for help but that’s all changing. It’s interesting the lessons learned about ourselves from injuries. There’s no disguising how I deal with pain – loudly! All my best, C

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      1. Cheryl, this corollary was not directed at you, it was at people who beat on their chests and tell us how tough they are – politicians, eg. Usually the ones who beat on their chest are the ones who will run at a sign of danger. There is an old saying, beware of the quiet person, as he or she is the one who does not need to brag. Keith

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  6. I agree, politicians are excellent examples of false bravado Keith, I hear you, the silent ones are often the most efficacious! I’ve seen this in schools, companies, even families. C

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  7. I feel for you, Cheryl–a whole lotta legs up on this particular ride, no? Don’t rule out the healing power of CBD lotion (PureKana is outstanding)–it was a godsend a few months ago when I fell hard on my rib running in the yard with the grandkids. And if you’re willing to put the “p” in patience, head’s up that it took over a month to fully heal (and got much worse before it got better). Take it easy, I do believe less treacherous retirement days are ahead.

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    1. Hi Mary Ellen, yes “a whole lotta legs” were up in the air at the conclusion of the ride! A total bust if you will. I’ll be on the hunt for CBD lotion because nothing seems to help but bags of ice. I didn’t realize you had a rib injury? I believe it is standard injury procedure to complain while you’re recovering. I’ve been hearing the recovery is lengthy and I’m busy retiring! What the hell? Thanks for the tip Mary Ellen. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow!
    I was all set to write about how amazingly well you were able to deal with adversity. About how you took the whole dead Aerostar fiasco and made it into a wonderful learning experience for Larry. Note to self….do not piss off Cheryl. After I finished chuckling about the “I am hosed shirts,” my mood became more somber when I read about the boating disaster. Life is miserable when it hurts to breathe. I am sure you have tried everything to relieve the pain including wine, hypnotism, acupuncture and even medical marijuana. A close reading of your description of the event left me wondering. Was this a true accident (God’s will so to speak,) or reckless boat driving? Since Larry clearly felt there was not much of an impact, I am surprised he didn’t make you get a bone density study to rule out frail and brittle bones (guaranteed to happen if this occurred in our immediate family!) I am withholding this post from my daughters, as they are looking forward to visiting, and I am afraid a post about a massive spider attack, a dried out barren lake with invasive (ne man eating) algae and a maniac boat driver might curb their enthusiasm.
    Great post.
    Anyway, hope you recover soon. Let us know if we can help.
    Better times are on the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike! Good to see you here and I need to clarify, my ability to deal with adversity is legdenary, but not in a good way, and to make matter worse, I don’t do pain well! I’m thinking I might need to resurrect those “I’m Hosed” shirts for olds time sake? I just ordered some CBD lotion, a friend said it was gold when she injured her ribs, any relief would be extraordinary. It was a true accident that resulted from reckless driving! Poor guy, he’s picking up all the slack, and then some. Good to know you’re keeping this tale from your daughters, no need to traumatize the guests! We want them to want to return again and again! I promise we’ll be on our “best behavior” Bahaha! Can’t wait to see you all, one the mend but complaining just a little, hugs, Cheryl

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  9. Wow. Great writing as always neighbor, but dang, Rib injuries are the worst. Been there, done that (twice… played semi-professional Soccer until my 27th birthday (known as ‘footie in blighty). . . I’m praying for quick healing for you which can be reached with the right attitude paired with proven therapies: Jim Beam on the rocks is one. Whaler’s original Hawaiian Rum in the 1.75L size paired with a gallon of P.O.G. (Pineapple/Orange/Guava) is another. Oh, btw, ‘wine’ (or beer, which I don’t think I have ever seen you consume) is ineffective here, must ‘up your game’ to the therapies suggested, or similar. Again, my deepest sympathies.
    One last thing; there is a phrase that Larry needs to learn, even at ’61’. Let me explain – Do you remember that white ’71 4 Speed H.O.455 Trans Am I used to own? That car had a hood scoop which was factory installed and actually was bolted to the engine, and protruded ‘through a hole in the hood, and that scoop had, in very small letters, the characters “H.O.455”. So, one day after visiting with Cindy’s aunt Gerrie in Southshore, we were on our way to Reno just outside of Stateline, NV in the gas station in Elk Point, filling the beast. A kid about 12-13, drooling over the pristine death machine, pointing to the raised intake that poked through the hood, asks me, “What does the H.O. stand for?” Before I could answer, Cindy, who had just emerged from the mini-mart and was getting back into the car said without blinking “HOLD ON”! Once I was back in the car I told her ” it stands for High Output”. . .She looked at me, glaringly and said “it stands for HOLD ON. It’s not informational, It’s there as a warning” to anyone who gets in this car”.
    From then on? whenever I was about to do something abrupt, stupid, or both in a gasoline-powered craft? I always honor her observation and bark “HOLD ON”. . .

    Larry’s in good shape, and a younger man physically, and much younger mentally than chronologically, and not likely to stop doing stupid shit for a few more years.
    As such, He needs to be glared at and informed of the correct protocols for the safety of all involved as Cindy taught me at 19. Simple as that.
    Again, Terrie and I are praying for your healing.

    CT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris, loved your comment, especially Cindy’s “hold on” advice! That would have been handy a week ago. I’ll pass the story on to Larry, maybe several times, as he seems forgetful when it comes to rules, red flags, and regulations! It sounds like you know something about this type of injury from your semi-pro soccer years! I didn’t know you played? Seems a little dangerous to me but your strategies for healing seems solid, heavily tested, and highly successful. I’ll have to print this out for easy reference. Time to acquiant myself with your friend Jim and the fruity sisters. Very refreshing indeed. I so appreciate the prayers and good wishes from you and Terrie, one thing I know, injuries bring you face to face with your maker because it seems as if it will take a miralce for me to feel well again. Here’s to our Lady, hope your 4th of July celebrations are safe and sane! Warmly, C

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The late Robert Schiller used this phrase on his “Hour of Power” Sunday TV broadcast many moons ago. I don’t know if he originated the phrase “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do,” but I remember Schiller and this saying to this day. I won’t say how long it has been.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, thank you, I never bothered to look up the origins of this phrase! Since Robert teaches economics at Yale I assume he was referring to the economy not distraught housewives! Bahaha! It is a memorable statement however it’s applied! Thanks so much for the comment, C

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