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Tale of a Tailbone

Or, How I Learned to Live with a Pain in the Ass

While packing for a road trip to a conference in Ojai, California, I worried about waking up in time to pick up Kelly and Yuliya in the Bay Area by 7:30am. Which meant leaving Sacramento at 5:30am. Which meant getting up at 4:30am. Which meant getting up five or six hours earlier than I normally do.

So I fretted and packed. And ran up and down the stairs fretting and packing. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I ran halfway up the stairs, did an about face, took a step back down the stairs and slipped on an imaginary banana peel and fell hard and square on my ass, emitting an involuntary wind-knocking grunt and my husband came running out of his office to the top of the stairs.

“Are you OK?” he asked. “What hurts?” He begins following me around the house as I woozily keep trying to pack.

“Are you sure you’re OK?” the husband-turned-doctor keeps asking. “What did you hurt, exactly? Besides your pride, I mean.”

“My ass hurts,” I said. “My ass definitely hurts right now.” Then my head hurt like when you shake your brain too hard. Great! Now I have a concussion. Aren’t you not to supposed to fall asleep when you have a concussion? How long before you can go to sleep? I need to go to sleep. I have to get up at 4:30am!!! Did I mention that already?

“I hope it’s not a broken tailbone,” Dr. Husband said, still sticking close by, “because that takes two years to heal and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Well that didn’t sound good, so I decided right then and there not to have a broken tailbone. Because that would suck. And I had to finish packing and try to fall asleep before 2am and try to get up at 4:30am.

Then my back hurt. Then my neck started hurting. As my husband dispensed ice and Advil, I mentally lobbied against concussions, whiplashes and a broken tailbones. Was I even going to be able to move in the morning?

I set three alarms hoping one of them would wake me up and I managed to get out of bed (and yes, it was a pain in the ass, ha. ha. ha. you’re sooooo funny.) and out the door and into Dublin just after 7:30am. By then, my tailbone was definitely not broken but definitely very bruised and everything else was okay.

On the way down south, we stopped at Apricot Tree in Firebaugh on I-5, which if you’ve never been, you should at least check out their 500+ lunch box collection. (That’s Yuliya in the red.)

apricot tree, lunch box collection, firebaugh

I wrote a blog post back in 2009 with many more pictures about this place entitled, “Some Restaurants You Don’t Go For the Food. Ever.” Needless to say, we didn’t have lunch here.

Anyway after 400 miles of great company and Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling audio books and great ass-pain, we arrived at the Blue Iguana Inn in Ojai where we would be attending Creative Alliance ’12, a very different conference with about forty-five women.

blue iguanna inn, ojai

While we unpacked, my two roomies announced that their Aunt Flo was currently visiting both of them.

You know who Aunt Flo is, right? I lovingly refer to it at the Monthly Curse of the Great Red Bat. They asked me if Aunt Flo was in my house at the moment. They were looking at me expectantly, almost hoping it was true. Because you know, they say when women live together their cycles align.

What a bunch of crap.

I told them I wasn’t due for at least a week, and we were only going to be there for three days, so no, it wasn’t happening. They almost seemed disappointed that we weren’t going to be “blood sisters” for the weekend.

Creative Alliance ’12 (the brain child of Andrea Fellman and Lee Vandeman) was not your grandma’s conference. There was no “Expo Hall” crammed with a Times Square-like swag-bedecked crazy house of sponsors. There were no “keynote speakers”, no big cocktail parties, no cocktail dresses, and definitely no high heels.

Instead of Powerpoint presentations, conference rooms, and out-cuting each other with the latest fashion, we gathered on the grass in yoga pants and flip flops in beach chairs.

creative alliance, beach chairs

It hurt to sit down. It hurt to stand up. Unfortunately, this weekend entailed a lot of both and these low chairs were a challenge.

People kept asking me all weekend, “How’s Your Ass?”, as if a bruised tailbone improves by the hour, or they just liked saying “how’s your ass”. Nevertheless, my answer was the same all weekend. It hurt, man.

This Creative Alliance thing however, was so awesome, in terms of really connecting with other like-minded women, that it was worth the ass pain. Truly. The absence of high-school cliquey-ness was a relief and opened the doors to create authentic alliances, just like the brochure promised.

One afternoon, we visited downtown Ojai.

Ojai California

We ran into some fellow bloggers at the Casa Barranca Wine Tasting Room, one of whom inevitably asked, “How’s Your Ass?”

ojai, wine tasting, casa barranca

Sherri, Nichole, Laura, and Rachel.
Sherri and Rachel were the primary ass inquirers during the weekend.

I brought Lacy with me and she did the rounds with the paparazzi and the celebrities. Here she is with Eileen.

And with Kelly, Yuliya and Rachel:

creative alliance, ojai, lacy

We conferred in such beautiful surroundings. Here, let me show you:

Creative Alliance, womens conference

We brought our chairs everywhere:

Creative Alliance

This is one of me and Jessica Bern, apparently deep in the middle of solving the problems of the world:

Doesn’t it look like that? You know how they have those long shots of the President and some other world leader walking alone together in the distance, intimately contemplating complex global issues? Yeah, that was me and Jessica.

One night while bringing my plate of chocolate cake and a glass of wine to the dinner table, I managed to twist my ankle in some uneven grass and went down hard on my knee, half of the contents of my glass sailing onto the table and another girl’s sweater. It was red wine. And it was a nice sweater. I saved the cake, though. Completely unharmed.

Speaking of sweating, I stood by, waiting for the sweater’s owner to come back so I could break the bad news and get beaten up some more. I imagined a scene where she would return and chairs would be cleared and everyone would circle around us to watch a cat fight.

They had told me it was “Beth’s” sweater.

Minutes that felt like hours passed before Beth walked up.

“Uh, are you Beth?” I asked. I hadn’t even met her yet, so this would be our first encounter.

“Yes…?” said Beth.

“Um…I hurt your sweater. I’m so sorry! What can I do?”

“Oh, don’t worry about it.”

“No, you don’t understand, it’s red wine.” I’m nothing if not a glutton for punishment.

“It’s no big deal. It’ll come out.”

And then she scooped up her sweater and disappeared.

While she was gone, we discussed the possibility of my having a neurological condition causing me to fall down at least twice in as many days.

Beth came back, said she got it all out and sat down with the rest of us.

I thanked her for being so nice about it and she acted like I was crazy. Crazyness, as you know, is another neurological condition. I was so worried that she would hate me, but she could not have been more generous.

I love Beth.

And I worry too much about what other people think of me. I’m sure there’s a diagnosis for that, too.

Meanwhile, I refused to believe I had a brain tumor and kept watch for anyone else tripping and while I didn’t wish for it, I was relieved to see several people “almost” trip as well, but I was the only one to actually “go down”.

Later, I noticed my ankle had swollen up, so I added “sprained ankle” to my list of injuries and back in my room, swapped the ice pack between my butt and my ankle.

On the last day, we were visited by the Klean Spa Mobile Mixtresses, who came out to the Blue Iguana from Burbank and made custom scents for us. I could totally see doing something like this for, say, a bridal shower.

They’d mix scents and we’d sniff and they’d add a little of this and we’d sniff and then they’d add a little of that and we’d sniff the coffee grounds because we were sniffed out (they also suggest smelling your shirt to cleanse your nose palette, or whatever it’s called) and then we’d sniff some more and they’d add something else until your custom scent was complete. They add it to their records and I can order their products with MY custom scent. How awesome is that?

With the label maker in her hand, my personal Mobile Mixtress, Jennifer, asked me to pick a name for my scent. I racked my brain. I wanted something that would remind me of this awesome weekend I spent with forty-five women, connecting with them, getting to know them in this lovely setting. Women who opened my mind with their ideas, who inspired me with their own actions, who encouraged me by laughing at my reading during the Say It Salon on the last night. Women who may very well be my friends for life. I wanted a name that summed up this experience, this Creative Alliance, in a thoughtful and sentimental way.

And then it came to me and I asked Jennifer if my selection was okay, and she said yes and made it so:

 

* * *

P.S. Guess what showed up 5 days early while we were still in Ojai. That’s right. Aunt Flo. The cursed monthly red bat. My roomies were vindicated. Also? The 9-hour drive back up north was just as uncomfortable as the drive down for my posterior, and getting in and out of the car was a very slow affair.

pea soup andersens, santa nella

A pit stop on the way home in Santa Nella

P.P.S. It has been two weeks since I bruised my tailbone and thankfully, the pain has changed from major discomfort and inability to sit for more than three minutes into more of a sharp, wedgie-like sensation. So, at least there’s that.

 

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36 Comments

  1. Ben Swilley says:

    As you grow older, you will better learn the true meaning of the old admonitions, “Take care of your ass, cover your ass and watch your ass.” One of them even has a commonly used acronym (CYA) for cover your ass. Unfortunately as you grow older you won’t be able to run up and down stairs. You’ll be creeping up and down stairs. You can still fall and it will hurt old bones and body even more so your best bet is just to be more careful and CYA. You were lucky you had quite a few people wishing your ass well and hoping for your ass to have a quick recovery. This kind of lighthearted and humorous interaction with others released endorphins in your battered bottom and helped you heal faster.

    1. Margaret says:

      I’ve seen and have even used the “CYA” term, Ben. And you’re right about having to slow down and be more careful and take care of these old bones. Thanks for commenting! :)

  2. Beth Avant says:

    I love this. You actually made me tear up a little. I was shocked you were surprised by my reaction… I’ve spilled red wine on so many things I seriously didn’t think twice. I love you too and was SO thrilled to get to know you…

    1. Margaret says:

      Awwwww…
      The thing is, I am so mortified at the thought of conflict and how awful that would have been at a conference and so often I see people have a cow, I was very grateful you were cool about it. :)

  3. My husband broke his ass — literally — in December 2006, at work right before we moved into this house. Apparently he fell on the concrete floor at work but never told me. Then he re-injured it while we were moving because our help never showed up and, well, I’m no good at manual labor.

    I took him to the chiropractor about two months later when he wouldn’t shut up about the pain. They took x-rays and there it was: a broken coccyx.

    He was told there was ONE medical remedy for this and it involved having a doctor stick a gloved finger or two up his ass and manipulate the bone back into place. Or he could live with the pain and hope it got better eventually.

    Guess what he chose? LOL

    According to my husband, your other half is correct. It did take approximately two years for the pain to subside.

    As for everything else? Bad things come in threes, don’t you know?

    By the way, I call my period “the bitch is back”, like the Elton John song. However, I really like your description. It’s much better than Aunt Flo or Cousin Red.

    1. Margaret says:

      I’m just thankful I didn’t break my ass. At least I’m assuming I didn’t break my ass, as it’s not debilitating and it’s gotten better, but still hurts some.

      1. My husband’s wasn’t debilitating either, it just hurt like a bitch. The only way to know for sure is to get an x-ray. LOL

        1. Margaret says:

          uh-oh. So I may have broken my ass….

  4. Jayne says:

    Ojai was where I broke my neck. But it sounds like you had fun. Busted ass and all. Jessica was there? Yet another event I never heard about. Maybe I live in a cave after all.

    1. Margaret says:

      I thought you lived on the top of a hill with a fabulous view of all the caves. :)

      1. Jayne says:

        That’s true. Maybe I should come down off the mountain once in a while.

  5. Amy says:

    I’m sort of sad I didn’t know I could ask you “how’s your ass” all weekend.

  6. Lisa says:

    Soooooo…how’s your ass?

    1. Margaret says:

      a little better, thanks for asking. :)

  7. Ann Imig says:

    Great to see you, Margaret. And to listen to you read.

    1. Margaret says:

      It was fantastic seeing YOU again, Ann!

  8. Lisa Rae @ smacksy says:

    I’m sorry for you and your ass but so glad you both were there with us. I believe due to the nature of those low-to-the-ground, orange beach chairs, each of us had her ass in a sling that weekend. Ahem.

    1. Margaret says:

      Nice one, Lisa. :)

  9. I am so sorry to be laughing THIS HARD at your pain, but between your broke ass, swelled ankle, Aunt Flo, and ruining a sweater with red wine – I cannot control myself!!

    1. Margaret says:

      Thank you, Meleah. I knew I could count on you to laugh at me. That’s why I love you. :)

  10. sueann says:

    Oh dear!!! You definitely had your share of woes for the weekend! And on the conference days…,bummer!!
    And of course Aunt Flo made her appearance…I mean look how your weekend was going anyway!!!!
    Ha
    Feel better
    Hugs
    SueAnn

    1. Margaret says:

      Yep. It was definitely just one of those weekends, SueAnn.

  11. I have broken my tailbone twice. It’s very painful and takes a long time to heal. There really is no treatment since they can’t put your ass in a cast. I’m sorry you are going through this.

    1. Margaret says:

      It’s not fun, that’s for sure, but if I can get a blog post out of it, it makes my ass a little happy.

  12. Nicky says:

    “…and definitely no high heels.”

    *stares at computer screen in shock and horror*

    1. Margaret says:

      Okay, except for you. You could have worn heels. Do you have any that look like flip flops, though?

      1. Nicky says:

        Surprisingly enough, yes.

  13. Pricilla says:

    You have a donkey? And you didn’t tell me!

    1. Margaret says:

      Oh, did you want an introduction? I could do that.

  14. I am officially menopausal, according to my hormone readings, and have not been “visited” for over a year–so guess what happened to me in Ojai? Related: guess why I don’t let anyone call me “Flo?”

    Sorry about the sitting, but I love your recap of an amazing weekend!

    1. Margaret says:

      OMG! I didn’t even think of that. Oh dear, now every time I see you, I am going to try not to call you Flo. I apologize in advance if it ever slips out.

  15. Paula Wooters says:

    I feel your pain, Margaret… even if your tailbone wasn’t actually broken. In fact, I’m beginning to think we might have been separated at birth, what with all our injuries on top of injuries! I think I probably broke my tailbone at one point… sharp shooting pain up my spine every time I leaned back the wrong way… and it lasted for about the requisite two years. (However, since I yanked the works almost 20 years ago, I’m afraid I can no longer be blood sisters with you. Gosh darn.)

    1. Margaret says:

      Hee hee. We shall be bone sisters then. Or something like that.