Monday, May 3, 2010

Elevator Observations: Keeping The Proper Focus

Auto-focus: It's magic!

I put on a knit top one morning and looked at myself sideways in the bathroom mirror. There was once a time when I never had to do the double-take. Pre-babies, my waistline was not my problem area at all. Fitted shirt? Bikini? Unforgiving knits? Bring it on, baby.

After having kids, that all changed. While fortunately, I managed to get the baby weight off, I have decided that post-baby bodies are sort of like sausages. Sure, you might get the extra pounds off and have the same amount of meat in the casing, but it's all squeezed into different places.

So here I was, doing a literal "gut-check". . . . trying to decide if this shirt was a yay or a nay. Admittedly, my take on the mummy-tummy varies from day to day. Some days I check myself out first thing in the morning and say, "Girlfriend, you look good for almost forty with two little kids!" Then, on other days when I'm, say, doing "planks" in my Body Pump class at the YMCA, I catch a glimpse of the weak-muscle-baby-abs aftermath in the mirror and shudder. (Seeing the twentysomethings next to me with their untainted, rock-hard cores of steel doesn't help, either.) That said, a second opinion is often necessary since I essentially vacillate between thinking I'm super hot or super not with nothing in between. Luckily, I have my very own Judge Mathis living with me when I need a quick small claims verdict rendered. "Hey babe!" I called out to Harry from the bathroom, "Can I wear this?"

Somebody doing the dreaded plank exercise

Harry has been with me long enough to know exactly what that means. Without so much as a "wear what?" he leaned back from where he stood in front of the ironing board, craned his head into the door frame of the bathroom, and squinted his eyes. "Yeah, you can probably wear it," he finally answered, "but you're definitely gonna have to focus."

Focus. "Focus" is our code word for holding in/sucking in things that might otherwise be mistaken for a bun in the oven or severe gas if you aren't careful. "I think this one might require more than just focus," Harry has often said to me as he packs his shirts for our annual New Year's Caribbean vacation. As many fathers reading this know, mothers aren't the only ones with the baby-weight and sausage phenomenon. Those sympathy pounds wreak havoc on the male belt size, too, and definitely affect a dude's ability to tuck in a shirt for sure. (That is, without some serious focus.)

And so, for me, "focusing" has become the prerequisite to non-empire waisted post-baby styling. Honestly, I think it applies to even the svelte-est moms--unless of course you're like, Demi Moore or that woman with like five kids and six-pack abs that hosts Dancing with the Stars. Most of us have to focus for at least 20 of the 24 hours in a day, depending on what we're wearing and where we're going. (I am actually convinced that Heidi Klum is not skinny at all, but is instead a master of focus. . . .but I digress) And yes, before you ask. . .some days, you just don't feel like focusing. Man, and I can't tell you how great a good ol' A-line no-need-to-suck-anything-in dress can feel on those unfocused days! But, for this day, I decided to go ahead and focus, and headed to work with the knit shirt.

After a fairly easy commute coupled with good parking lot karma, I grabbed my lab coat from the back seat, threw it over my arm and dashed into the hospital. I slipped into the elevator with a fairly buxom lady that appeared close to my age. She looked me up and down quickly before speaking. Here we go.

She pointed at me and mouthed an ah hah. "Yeah. . . . I seen you on Fox 5. You do good on there."

I smiled cheerfully and thanked her for the compliment. "Why thank you-- I appreciate that." We rode in silence for a few milli-seconds, which I knew it would be short lived.

"You got kids right? I heard you say on Fox 5 that you got kids." I kind of liked the way she said "Fox-Five" like it was one word.

"Yes, ma'am. I have two boys," I replied with a proud nod, "Three and almost five." Then I remembered where I was. The Grady elevator. I braced myself for what would come next.

"Oh. I was thankin' that you look good to have two babies." Whew, a compliment. I stand corrected. I was sure this was about to be a classic Grady elevator unintentional insult.

"Wow, thank you. You know, the closer I get to forty, the harder it is to stay in the same size! Especially after children."

"Girl, I know tha's right!" We both laughed and gave each other a high five. Then. . . .that's when it happened. An "only at Grady" moment. She (I am NOT KIDDING) patted me on my stomach. Did you get that? Patted. Me. On. My. Stomach. That's when the laughter ended.

"Yeah, girl, all you got left is a little pooch. You look good, though, girl for two babies. I be watching you on Fox 5 thankin', She look good to have babies." She cannot be serious. I really, really wanted to un-hi-five her. "But girl you know what the key is? Body Magic. You heard of the Body Magic?"

Seriously? Seriously? Did she really just annihilate me in the Grady clinic elevator? And wait--did she just pat me on (what I thought was a pretty decent looking post-baby) stomach--and then refer to said stomach as a "pooch?" Now THAT was low.

She went on. "Yeah, girl, Body Magic is the bomb." Please stop. Stop it now. "It really do make you go down two sizes." Wait. Is this really happening? She is not giving me a Body Magic info-mercial on the Grady elevator. Wait, do I really need a magic girdle? Damn. And can I just say for the record that I have no idea how she designated herself the pooch-police--although, from looking at her, she definitely had a clear pooch point-of-reference spilling over her jewel encrusted belt and tight blue jeans. Ugghh. Seriously? Seriously.

"Uhh. . .errr. . ." I was speechless. I mean, what do you say when in two seconds you go from local TV quasi-celebrity to being patted on your stomach and having it referred to as an (albeit little) pooch? A pooch? Really? And Body Magic? Really? Wow.

Thank goodness the elevator doors flew open. She spun on her heel and waved goodbye. "Keep doing your thang on Fox 5, doc," she said genuinely, "and for real, don't forget what I said about the Body Magic." Oommphh. Kidney blow! I watched her disappear down the hall and around the corner, and I was still speechless and still perplexed at her self-appointed authoritative insight on pooch-reduction (which clearly she did not think applied to herself.)

Suddenly, I was flooded with plenty of witty comebacks, but by then, it was too late--she was gone.

"Uhh, do YOU have on the Body Magic?"

"Yeah, girl. You DEFINITELY would know a pooch."
(or if I really wanted to get even)

"Congratulations! Do you know what you're having?"

Regardless of how obvious it was that my assailant was either a.) a hypocrite, b.) blind, c.) mentally ill and on her way to the Psych clinic, or d.) all of the above, I knew it was official. I had officially lost focus. Not even twenty minutes after arriving at work and my focus was already gone. (Usually losing focus doesn't happen until after a carb-heavy lunch.)

I called Harry at work later that morning to tell him about my assault in the elevator. He found it hysterical.

"What the. . . Body Magic? Whaaahh? What is that?" He was gasping and laughing so hard he could barely catch his breath.

"Apparently it focuses for you," I retorted. All I heard on the other end was "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah" or what the texting generation calls LMAO. "Uhh, look here, smarty. . . .they also have Body Magic for men." He laughed even harder at the very suggestion of that and then abruptly stopped.

"Wait, you looked it up?" he interjected, "What--were you gonna order it??? Babe! You ordered the Body Magic?!" His voice trailed off into what was now full-on juvenile cackling punctuated with his signature "Whooooooooo!" (or what the Generation Text would most certainly qualify as "ROTFLMAO.")

That's when I decided that it was good that this had happened because I was definitely overdue for a funny blogpost. And so, at the risk of revealing to all of you that, yes, I received a belly-pat and girdle recommendation on the Grady elevator by a perfect stranger, I decided that it falls into the category of suffering for the arts. (Kind of like how Usher makes better music when he has a horrible break up or a divorce, or how Mary J. Blige made such great CDs back when she was miserable.)

So, thank you, crazy-Body-Magic-lady. And thank you, too, little pooch. I couldn't have done this without you. Oh, and for the record: No. I did not get the Body Magic, thank you very much. For now, I think I'll just stick with my planks and work on my focus. :)

(As it turns out, sale of this magic girdle is a multi-level marketing thing,
so perhaps it was NOT my pooch at all, but instead just a business move--right?
At least, this is what I've told myself.)

Grounds for Divorce:
A Man-Girdle? This is just wrong, dude.


  1. Oh my goodness, I am laughing SO hard at this--especially when you wanted to un-hi-five her!! (ROFLMAO!!) I don't have the excuse of having had kids (yet! hopefully soon), but this weekend I was in a vintage store and the cashier said to me, "We have baby stuff in the other room." And it totally, totally ruined my time there, and I was thinking of alllll kinds of things I could've said to her in return.

    But then later, I was complaining to my husband about it and he looked at me and said, "She didn't say they had baby stuff, she said they had LADIES' stuff." So I guess it's a good thing I didn't have some snappy comeback on the spot.

    Too funny! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  2. This is HILARIOUS-I'm laughing so hard, I'm crying. I can't believe that happened-thanks for the laugh!

  3. OMG Kelly! Your husband is surely a keeper as it was absolutely his job to make certain that you did not go on through your day thinking that saleswoman had alleged you to have a "bump." He totally gets 100 husband cool points for that one! :)

  4. This is pretty funny. The things people say!! A child asked my husband the other day why did his tie look shorter and then said that it must be because his stomach had gotten bigger!!!!

  5. I had a patient the other day ask if I was "expecting" and when I told him "no, I'm not married and I have no kids" he says, "well a pretty thing like you shouldn't have a problem finding someone"
    Nice try buddy...not gonna make up for you asking if I was pregnant and not a great way to start of your nurse's night!
    Thanks for sharing the laugh and story. haha crazy people.

  6. I stumbled across your blog a few months ago and decided that since I love your writing so much I had to start at the beginning. I figured I couldn't comment on these "last year" posts but this was too good to be true. These Body Magic ladies don't mess around. I work at a church in children's ministry and was GREAT with child last year and no lie- a woman comes up to me and asks me (yes, at church after she's just dropped off her own children!!) if I had plans yet for how I was going to "focus" after I gave birth. She then proceeds to pull out a catalog sheet of products and slips me her business card. You know, so I can call her after I the baby and she'll "hook me up"! Ha!

    Love your blog, it is truly incredible to see a physician care about not only their patients but mentoring the next generation of doctors like you do. Thanks for sharing your heart!


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