Legs, Marriage Proposals, and Tuscan Suns

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.

I sit on my bed and hold half a pair of red stiletto heels I’ll  probably  never  wear.  They  have  these  great  little  ankle “collars” on them and strings that twist and tie much of the way up my calves. And, like several other fabulous pairs of shoes I own, they’ll never see the light of day.

Flying By Night novelAs much as I hate to admit it, I have to face the fact that I’ll never wear heels like that again. Something about them aggravates my old fencing injuries and my knees hurt so bad that I can’t walk up the stairs at  work. I’d recovered from my achy knees last Fall after six weeks of physical therapy and continuing a daily regimen on treadmills, recumbent bikes, and leg presses. But I’ve botched my exercise plans in the past two months, got- ten off my schedule due to problems at work, and I can tell, oh, I can tell.

Last time  I  was  single,  my  legs  were  my  best  asset though I  think a couple of men would have begged to differ. (Hmmmm.  Must   stop   smiling  now.)  Mini-skirts  and  short dresses were standard fare until I was at least thirty, even though my ex never seemed too happy about the way I dressed. Some- where along the way, I stopped wearing thigh-bearing fabrics.

This time, this singledom, I’m more inclined to sandals and flow-y skirts. The last time I wore heels on a date, The Heel walked too fast through the live music bar we were at and I got left behind trying not to  fall flat on my face. I looked darned cute sitting there in my animal print stiletto sandals but they just weren’t meant for sprinting across wet  hardwood floors after my oblivious date. The best I could muster was a fantasy about slipping one off and pummeling him from the other side of the dance floor so he’d take me home with a spike heel sticking out of his ear. That or impaling his crotch.

Ah, but I have more rational fantasies now. Like getting my legs back in shape. I put down my yummy shoes and head back to my construction chores.

Even with the bike and the treadmill in the workout room I’m creating in the spare bedroom, it’s the leg presses that are a must to keep my knees from hurting. So now I’ve bought a home  gym  that  said  some  assembly  required.  Yeah.  Define “some.”

Piece parts have filled three rooms for six weeks. Not good odds, but my teen and I are within a couple of hours of having that monstrosity finished. Maybe even tonight. I’m tired of banging my hands with slipped ratchets, perching on ladders, and pulling on cables. I refused to pay an equal sum to the price of the machine to have it assembled and installed in my home, especially when I was told that it would take only a couple of hours to put together. Yeah, for an army of how many?

I should have known, too, when the instructions plainly said that it’s important to keep a positive outlook while assembling the machine. What kind of advice is that?          Probably something their customer service team slipped unnoticed into the  shoddy  instruction  package.  As  for  the  blueprints  we’ve been following, just be glad it wasn’t for a bomb or we’d all be toast.

It doesn’t help that I get yet another marriage proposal while I’m  literally on top of the machine with a cable, screw- driver, pliers, ratchet,  and a couple of nuts and washers that sound like gunfire on the metal below every time I drop them— which is way too often. My funky-music text message alarm is going off in the next room, and I’m trying to figure out how to put everything down and scramble for my phone.

Not that the marriage proposal is for me. Who the hell proposes by text message anyway?

Apparently a lot of people. Thanks to a weird glitch at Google, my private cell number is now listed on a webpage for Alltel Messaging,  and  every time someone goes to the search engine so they can find out  where to send a message from online, they send it to me, not to their sweethearts. They forget to type in a number at all but immediately type a message and hit send—and it sends right to me, any time of day or night. Some of these proposals are blushingly erotic (and so unfair!) and others are sweet “You’re-the-one-I-want-for-a-wifey” messages. They’re mostly anonymous, too. So I have no idea who they are and wonder if they’re silently waiting for an answer and how many will never get that answer because they didn’t follow up on their missing text messages.

But to add insult to injury, I get to pay for all these messages that  are sent to me from all over the country, and I’ve completely  stopped   getting  any  legitimate  messages.  Alltel merely suggests I increase my texting subscription to make the costs more palatable.

Meanwhile, I get to deal with someone else’s romantic fantasy. Man, I think the Universe is enjoying this!

So to give my wrench-weary hands a break and research the Italian countryside for my novel that’s due on the first day of September, I sit down to indulge myself in one of my favorite movies, “Under a Tuscan  Sun.” I’ve watched it many times since Melissa recommended it to me  last year with the words, “You should watch it because you’re in the same  situation of starting over, but please don’t think I’m telling you to move to Italy.” It’s a beautiful movie that touches me on so many levels and it’s a permanent part of my DVD collection. By the end of this showing, I’ve got the setting for the inn in my novel well- declared in my mind, but I’m also smiling  and thinking about how dead-on the advice is in this movie.

So yeah, I’ll get this home gym put together and work on my knees. And I’ll laugh over some of the text messages and wish others were  mine. And I’ll wear fantastically sexy high heels again.

Only I won’t wear them “out.” I’ll wear them to bed.