“Do you want to see upset????”
I couldn’t help but remembering these words from a popular television show I’d seen years ago. The plot consisted of a man (a father and husband) trying to cope with his wife & teenage daughter’s PMS. Since women’s cycles tend to run around the same time, he was living in a house full of emotional roller coasters and sensitive feelings.
In an effort to try to calm the storm, he made the mistake of using the words, “Don’t get upset.” Big mistake!
Each time, both mother and daughters looked him square in the eye and said, “Upset? Do you want to see upset? Do you really want to see upset?”
At that point, our bumbling character knew enough to back down because he really didn’t want to see upset. Instead, he looked at his watch, realized what day of the month it was and said, “Why don’t you go eat some chocolate and we’ll talk in 5 days.”
I have to admit that thinking of this episode helped me smile and stop being really UPSET the last time the bumbling man in my life (my Dad) didn’t have enough common sense then to open his mouth when I was experiencing PMS.
But first, let me set the stage.
It had been a long week filled with PMS symptoms. Mood swings, constant exhaustion, the feeling of being overwhelmed, and worst of all, the dreaded HOT FLASHES.
In fact, the entire week leading up to this day seemed like one giant Hot Flash. Just going through my normal morning routine caused me to become overheated and feel stressed.
Even though it was late Fall, and my Dad and brother swore it was cooling down, in my world it was Phoenix, Arizona on the 4th of July. All week long we were having the battle:
Dad: “Aren’t you cold with the air conditioning on?”
Me: “No, not at all.”
Dad (a few minutes later): “You have to be cold, it’s freezing in here.”
Me (by this time not only hot in temperature, but a little hot under the collar): “No, I’m seriously comfortable."
Dad (an hour later): “We got to turn that thing off, I’m going to freeze.”
Me: “Eat something”
Then we turn off the A/C and open every door in the house.
Of course, having all those doors opened created a draft.
My reply: “Deal with it. You can dress warmer---I’m already dressed like I’m in the Bahamas.”
And the week went on with me walking around in shorts and a tank top trying not to pass out while he was saying, “It’s cold in here”, while he’s dressed for Fall.
Of course, this wasn’t the only symptom I was experiencing. I was also very, very, very, very tired. (I’d add another “very” but I don’t want to be dramatic!)
It felt like it took double the energy to do everything---like there was an elephant standing in my way and I had to move it before I could get anything else done. (That wasn’t an exaggeration; it really did feel this way.) Still, life doesn’t stop for PMS, and neither could I. So all week long I was trying to get things done, but all the time forgetting things, dropping things, and working on projects twice as long as they should have required. Still, I attempted to soldier on!
That’s when “the incident” occurred and the crazy lady came out of her cage.
It was a quiet morning, and I was trying to do some filing and general office work. However, when I went to the laundry room closet to grab an empty file, I was attacked by a swarm of fruit flies.
It seemed they were everywhere in the closet---tiny, flying gnat-like creatures invading my usually bug free environment.
Now, I want to point out that even though I admit to being off-kilter with PMS, I did not immediately respond in panic. (Trust me, no one was more surprised them me.)
I did ask the guys to help me clean up the mess; but I did it nicely (really, I was nice, at this point I wasn’t exhibiting signs of “upset” at all)
I calmly found the source of the issue (One of the onions in my onion and potato bit was rotting.)
Bravely, I removed the onion.
Despite my overwhelming desire to throw up from the smell, I cleaned the onion/potato bin and I started empting the closet to clean up the mess.
Then I started having a hot flash.
Even though I was dressed for summer, I was sweating a construction worker pouring tar on a road crew.
Getting hotter and hotter in this little room, I started to feel panicky as little bugs were now flying toward my sweaty hair and face.
Now I was UPSET. As I continued to empty the closet, I was discovering that the pesky bugs had infiltrated plastic containers, pots, and lunch boxes that now needed to be washed. Every time I took more out of the closet more tiny buzzing fruit flies seemed to be coming toward my overheated, sweaty face.
Even though I was on the brink of crazy (or tears), I really was trying to hold it together.
That’s when my Dad entered the picture.
First, he pointed out that there really weren’t that many fruit flies. (Well of course he felt that way; they weren’t attacking him because he was a hot mess.)
Then he decided that the best way to eradicate them was to vacuum them up.
Here’s a tip: Even though this seems like a good idea---it isn’t. First, the noise of the vacuum cleaner makes the bugs go crazy and fly out of the limited space they are inhabiting and try to escape by flying to another part of the house. Secondly, the vacuum cleaner made the small laundry room hotter---that was seriously the last thing this crazy, PMSing lady needed.
So now, the fruit flies are flying all around the room, I can literally feel the sweat running down my neck, I feel like the room is closing in, and I have no idea how to solve the problem.
Oh yes, folks, I was UPSET.
That’s when my Dad earned his status as bumbling, insensitive male when he said, “You’re overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing.”
And then, I swear for a moment, time stood still.
The room became deafeningly quiet.
I didn’t speak a word---instead, I just looked at him the way a bull looks at the matador holding the red cape. With the loudest silence ever, I walked out of the room thinking, “Does he want to see overreacting?”
Now it wasn’t just the hot flashes causing me to be hot. Now my temper was boiling.
Did he seriously think that the appropriate answer to give a crazy, hormonal woman experiencing a hot flash while she is being attacked by a swarm of fruit flies was, “You’re overreacting?”
Just in case there are any dumb men out there reading this, let me clue you in:
The right answers were, “Don’t worry, it will be alright.”
Another acceptable answer would be “I know how to take care of this.”
The heroic, knight in shining armor answer would have been, “You go cool off, I can tell you’re not feeling well, I’ll take care of this.”
But no---instead, I got “You’re overreacting.”
Then, to make it worse, after 5 minutes of my receiving the silent treatment while I helped clean up the mess, he said it again!
Rather than following every sitcom character’s pattern of saying something stupid that made a woman angry and then quickly apologizing, my Dad stood by his story and accused me of overreacting again!
Well, that ended the silent treatment!
Now I had a lot to say.
Suddenly a flood of overreactions and upset came out starting with “You’re so insensitive” and ending with “And I’m not talking to you anymore until I cool off!” (Not sure what was said in between---it probably didn’t make much sense anyway)
Then I went to my room to cool off and Google, “How to get rid of fruit flies.”
It was while I was there, cooling off (literally and figuratively) and finding a solution to the problem, that I remembered the scene I described earlier from a television show. Hot flash ending now, it made me laugh.
With a roll of the eyes, I left my room and returned to help fight the fruit flies. I built a vinegar trap and killed all the little bugs that flew to the window trying to find a way out of our crazy house. (I guess they didn’t want to live with a woman with PMS either!)
Over the next few days, the fruit fly problem disappeared, and my PMS symptoms went away. Once again peace and harmony was restored to our home. At least, for a few weeks anyway.
The funny thing is that just a few days before I’d been talking about some travel plans I had and my Dad said, “That’s not good timing, you’ll have PMS and not be feeling well.”
Even though he was right, I was shocked that he knew when I would be under the weather. Even more, if he knew, why didn’t he just go with it instead of arguing with me the whole time?
I guess it just all boils down to this: Unlike our sitcom friend, my Dad really did want to see “Upset.”