As I neared menopause, I desperately tried to ward off the approaching turbulence. I made excuses for the absentmindedness and denied the irritability. To those of you who are nearing the end of Aunt Flo’s now-unpredictable visits, take a little trip with me to what I like to call the menopausal playground.

There you’ll find yourself at the top of the senility slide, your fingers desperately clutching the side rails and your shoes braced to slow the slide into days of irrational anger and nights of debilitating hot flashes. Every inch of your descent down that slide is marked by another episode of short-term memory loss. (I think I’ll stop at the store for a loaf of bread…”squeak” go the soles of your shoes against the slippery metal slide…”What did I come in here for? Where did I park the car? Or did somebody bring me?)”

Perhaps you’ll spend some time playing on the menopausal mood swing-set, the chains cutting through the air with a swish. “Whee! Push me higher! Higher!” …swish…”Get your hands off my rear before I slap you with a lawsuit!”…swish…”Whee! Higher!”

When your husband comes in the door after work, he’d better do his best to guage conditions and take the emotional temperature.

“Here, Honey,” he’ll coo. “I bought you a box of your favorite candy.”

“Why, thank you, Sweetie. That’s so toughtful!”…swish goes the menopausal mood swing…”You know I’m on a diet! You just did that to sabotage me! You probably just wanted an excuse to visit that female clerk at the candy store. You’re having an affair with her, aren’t you?”

“You mean Edith? She’s 85 years old and has been married for over 60 years.”

“And how you do you know so much about her personal life?”…swish…”What was I talking about? Never mind. Supper’s almost ready, Darling. How would you like a nice pot roast smothered in mushroom gravy? I know that’s your favorite.”

“Mmmmm, that sounds great!”

“Well, we don’t have any!” you’ll shriek. “Do you think after I’ve been working all day I feel like slaving over a hot stove? You can eat a bologna sandwich and like it or lump it!”…swish goes the menopausal mood swing…”There’s homemade apple pie a-la-mode for dessert, Honey.”…swish…”Have we met, sir? You look vaguely familiar. Didn’t we once stand together at an altar in front of our friends and family and declare our eternal love? I know there was cake involved afterwards. I always remember cake.”

While clearing the table, you’ll cheerfully sing, “I’m in the mood for love (wink-wink), simply because you’re near me (nuzzle, kiss). Funny but when you’re near me”…swish…Slap! “Unhand me, you cad! How dare you take liberties with me! Is that all you ever think of, you animal?”…swish…”Oh, you’re home. Have we eaten yet? Am I setting the table or clearing it?”

I’d better get this column turned in before I miss deadline and my editor has a fit…swish…as if I care what that jerk thinks. He can just kiss my…swish…Boo-hoo, he’ll probably fire me and I’ll never get another job…swish…Does anybody remember where the boss’s office is?

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