New wrinkle right on time for big party

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Editor's note: This column originally was published on Dec. 12, 2000.

I found my first serious wrinkle on Saturday -- the morning of The Other Half's 30th birthday.

It's on the lower lid of my right eye. At first, I thought it was a bizarre, wayward stroke of mascara or brow pencil or maybe just a spot where I didn't properly blend my foundation.

But no. The foundation simply wasn't shoved down into this massive crack in my face.

I've always considered my lack of wrinkles the one advantage to being fat. As a Weight Watchers buddy so eloquently put it: "Hey, you don't see any wrinkles in inflated balloons, do you?"

Now I don't even have that going for me. My wrinkle also is paired with my monthly breakouts, which means I'll be buying eye cream and zit cream on the same shopping trips.

So Mr. Half was getting a year older, and I was getting wrinkles. It's the story of my life.

I blame stress. I've abandoned my morning anti-stress ritual, recommended in my gift copy of "The Woman's Comfort Book." It's the one where I put my head under the womb-like sheets, hug myself and chant: "It's going to be a great day."

First of all, I couldn't really chant at any volume because Mr. Half works evenings and doesn't wake up until a few hours after me. So I was barely whispering my chant, an activity that didn't fill me with resolve to make my day great, considering I was starting it by looking at my husband's ratty sweat pants, hugging myself and suffocating under the weight of my comforter.

Also, I felt ridiculous. I'm going back to the book to look for an anti-wrinkle ritual.

For the past week, I'd been stressed about throwing my husband's 30th birthday party, which involved inviting his immediate family and my grandparents for their first meeting ever. It also meant cooking for nine, and I haven't cooked one item in the past three months that didn't involve reading directions off a cardboard box.

Mr. Half was oddly calm about the whole thing -- the family, turning 30, his laugh lines, etc. Then I noticed he was drinking quite a bit of orange juice that day, and the vodka seemed to be disappearing.

But it all went well. Everybody seemed to enjoy their tacos. I followed the directions off the cardboard box very carefully.

And our families seemed to meld well. My grandfather, who hates crowds, positioned himself in front of the television and quietly nursed Sprites all evening. And my grandmother, a very outspoken retired nurse, asked my extremely shy and conservative sister-in-law -- a new mother -- only twice about breast-feeding.

So it's all over, but my wrinkle remains. I've been checking it every morning and evening. You might say I'm obsessed with it.

Did I mention I turn 31 next week?

Heidi Hall is managing editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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