The Pandemic Allowed My Inner Hermit to Shine, and My House to Grow Dustier

The COVID-19 pandemic messed with our minds and bodies. As news of more cases were reported in nearly all states, there was a sense of pandemic panic. Toilet paper flew off the shelf – like that roll of Charmin was going to improve your odds of survival. It was a respiratory virus, not gastric. People got antsy. The world got quiet. We hunkered down with loved ones, or pods, to allow for some interaction. Many parents became teachers. Strange times.

Restaurants were shuttered. Businesses turned to remote work and Zoom meetings. People either felt stir crazy, or settled themselves into being at home full-time. Were you team Social Butterfly, or Team Hermit?

By nature, I lean towards hermit. Sure, I can talk a good game, but I am primarily a socially awkward creature. Maybe it’s a part of decrepitude aging, but in 2020, staying home worked for me. Mr. Lehnhoff already did all the shopping (he’s a consummate shopper control freak). I am not a big shopper, unless I can do it online, when my physical appearance suffers from what I a as ‘benign neglect’.

Since Mr. Lehnhoff is still working, I have the entire day (and house) to myself. I find I like the quiet and lack of human interaction far more than I thought I would.

But then came the first lockdown. March, 2020. Mr. Lehnhoff was permitted to work from home (because he’s the oldest codger employee at the company). Luckily, that ended after a couple of months. He returned to his co-workers at the office. His return to the workaday world couldn’t come soon enough!

When he was home, his constant presence cramped my style. Gone were the days where I lazed around until a half hour until his expected return at the end of the day. I managed to accomplish quite a bit in those 30 minutes. I almost redeemed myself as being competent in the domestic arts.

You know what’s really weird? Since there are so many 30-minute periods in the day (like 47 more of them), you’d think that I have ample opportunities to get things tidied up, right? But no! There’s something about the bewitching half hour before a spouse returns home that makes my productivity soar.

I’m all about mastering the scurryfunge. Go ahead, look it up. I’ll wait.

During all of the remaining 30-minute blocks of time in a day, I continue to work at the speed of a sloth. My attention to details is nil. I am distracted by all manner of bright and shiny, hey look, it’s a teeny, tiny power drill bit under my shoe that’s preventing me from walking another step toward the kitchen and domesticity. I think I need to go scope out Facebook.

He may have expected me to prepare him additional meals while he worked. Didn’t I make dinner most days? What does he expect out of me, manual labor? Where’s Local 223 of the Wife Union? I need an arbiter! He’d occasionally suggest cleaning tasks I could complete (as if that would happen).

All of that was a LIE. By 2020, I wasn’t doing much housework at all. My body had betrayed me. Shakira sings that hips don’t lie – well, let me tell you, my hips had become so painful that walking more than a few feet was excruciating. Bending over was impossible. Standing for more than a couple of minutes filled my lower extremities with severe pain.

Mr. Lehnhoff bought me the Cadillac of walkers: The Rollator. I could sit and roll around the kitchen and get chores done. I could roll down the hall and get to the bathroom, bedrooms, or office. I felt like Cinderella in her pumpkin coach (except for the housework part).

I The Caddy

I also used the Caddy as a regular walker. I loved the hand brakes! The seat was also high (and firm) enough that I could get up and down more easily. Even today, I still use it as my kitchen chair.

Chronic pain drained the joy out of my life. I was miserable, day and night. Anti-inflammatories could only do so much. My femurs rubbing on my hip joints sounded like castanets. When I went to Dr. Rude, he wanted to give me opioids. I refused his offer. He asked, “Why, do you have a drug problem?”

“No, and I don’t want one.” I dumped that quack and found a new doctor who listened to me. She got me a referral to a local orthopedist.

I first visited my orthopedic surgeon in March of 2020. In fact, it was the day the lockdown first began. I felt like I had some hope – it wasn’t all bad news.

Then, my surgeon dropped the hammer – he required me to lose a shit ton of weight before he’d even approve me for surgery. Impossible No small feat when you’re unable to exercise.

Never mind, it WAS all bad news. Lose weight while I could barely walk? Bone-on-bone arthritis (severe, according to the doctor) in both hips. I perfected a wobble-limp-lurch gait AND could have won the Guinness book of world records monthly for 2020 AND 2021 for number of F-bombs uttered in a 24-hour period. Pain ranged from 8 to 10 on the scale of 1 to 10. I was miserable. And slow. For the most part, I was a lurching, grumpy jerk.

I completely understand how chronic pain can cause someone to give up all hope. I was almost there myself.

Stay tuned. Did Kim lose weight? Did the doctor scoff at her paltry attempts at weight reduction? Did Mr. Lehnhoff run away, tired of my constant bitching and moaning?

Find out in Part Two of this fairy tale/medical drama.

[Queue dramatic music]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

I Love (Most of) My Epic Dreams

I have begun sleeping like a champ. I’ll have a future post about how I’ve kicked insomnia’s ass.

My sleep at night was extremely spotty. But I typically fell asleep at movies in the theater. It’s dark, it’s cozy, and I was out like a light. I didn’t attend movies alone because I might need my seat neighbor to nudge me or whisper at me to stop snoring. Suffice it to say that I have slept through parts of all of the Disney/kid movies I attended from 1980 to the early 2000s. I’ve even dosed off during movies aimed at an adult audience. It never bothered me – I figured a quality nap was worth the price of a ticket.

Kim 2.0 has a more normal sleep schedule. Lately, I’ve developed a nasty habit of waking up before 5:00 AM; an ungodly hour, if you ask me. I cannot be completely sure, but this wakefulness coincides with Mr. Lehnhoff’s wake up time. He turns on every light in the bedroom and is not the quietest at getting ready for his workday. Perhaps it’s coincidental, like the fact that I must discuss serious world events with him when he’s trying to drop of to sleep at night. It’s not like I do it to annoy him, but he is a captive audience when he’s laid out flat under the covers. It would be unwise not to take advantage of having his undivided attention when his brain activity is waning. Lord knows what manner of things I could talk him into at this crucial time. He’s apt to agree to most anything just so I’ll shut up and let him sleep.

But I digress. The subject of today’s post involves my dreams. Almost every night, I am witness to (and starring in) Technicolor sagas that, were they to be Hollywood screenplays, would be sure to garner a fistful of Oscar awards. The somnambular extravaganza of a few nights ago involved me cooking a fine repast for an unknown family holiday dinner. This family drama/holiday romp/agricultural experiment gone wrong involved a roast chicken.

It was not an ordinary roast chicken. No, it was a multi-winged fowl, those little appendages appearing all over the breast side of the flesh, looking like so many crooked elbows displaying an attitude of disappointment at their physical appearance. Oh, the shame!

Anyway, I put that aberrant creature in a pre-heated oven set at 510 degrees, “just to crisp the skin”, as I later explained to Mr. Lehnhoff. I had no more than turned to start on the side dishes (mashed potatoes, to be sure, and the usual array of tasty vegetables. Desserts were lined up on the countertop, making me think that I’d rather skip the mutant chicken and go straight for the pastries, when things went horribly wrong.

My sugarplum reverie was disturbed by a curious sound coming from the oven. I swear I heard clucking, followed by several loud thumps akin to heavy footsteps.

Turning toward the sound, I saw the gas range taking hulking steps across the kitchen floor, the oven door flapping open and closed, open and closed. The range began spinning in circles in the middle of the room.

Did I shirk away in fright, and make my way to the nearest exit? You’re damned right I did. I ran to the nearest neighbor’s house, looking for advice and refuge. It seemed that our two incredibly attractive (and imaginary) young children had also taken refuge at the neighbor’s house. The 1970s-era Colonial furnishings are as I remembered them when this family lived two houses down the street from my childhood home – decades before I knew Mr. Lehnhoff, and frankly, the state of Missouri, existed.

Don and Maryann, the home owners, had not aged a bit. Clad in Brady Bunch-era clothing, they were just sitting down to a scrumptious dinner. The aroma of the food was intoxicating, and I immediately remembered that we three interlopers had not eaten. I was disappointed when I realized that their 1970s hospitality did not make an appearance in 2021, so we went home without a morsel.

We returned to see Mr. Lehnhoff standing in the kitchen, the oven, now stationary, its door ajar, and he was holding the roasting pan that contained the charred remains of the poultry freak of nature.

Mr. Lehnhoff, giving me his best “Dad look”, shouted, “This is DINNER? It’s all WINGS! You know I HATE WINGS!”

With that utterance, my brain immediately shifted to the Chinese restaurant scene in The Christmas Story, and I started singing “Jinger Berrs”.

End of scene.

I’m sure this epic would have continued had Mr. Lehnhoff not begun his noisy and well-lit morning routine.

And last night? I dreamed of an extended family wedding held on a rollicking cruise ship.

I have all the movies I need to watch inside my head.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Let WordPress for Dummies be My Guide

I feel like such a noob. I used Blogspot, beginning in 2009. Ages ago. I could add widgets, edit some HTML, and pretty up my blog to suit me.

WordPress has a bit of a learning curve. And by ‘bit’, I mean curves like Lombard Street in San Francisco. So many twists and turns!

Lombard Street, by Peter E. Lee

I have no idea how to do more than typing a paragraph. And even that is hit and miss.

I know that, eventually, I’ll figure it out. But as I age, I am realizing my brain takes a bit more time to process the instructions and turn them into actions. In addition, so much time on the Internet has caused my attention span to lack patience – I want immediate gratification. I bitch at the microwave for taking so long to reheat food. I bitch at my cell phone if it doesn’t load apps or search results in a nanosecond.

Even with this book to aid me.

Maybe what I mean to say is I’m a brain-addled bitch. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Focus, Kim, focus. Oh, have I mentioned I’m easily distracted?

Anyway, I hope you’ll have patience with me as I navigate the world of WordPress’ themes, widgets, and page customization. If any of you have tips, I’d appreciate them (and give you credit in future posts as this page becomes the communications masterpiece it is meant to be). Or something like that.

Buckle up. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride for a while.

NOTE: Yes, I do read other blogs. And when I find out how to add them to the ‘Blogs I Follow’ heading on the right side of the page, I will.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments

I Can Only Do Awkward Introductions, So Here Goes

How I imagine an in-person meeting will go:

Legend: Me – Kim (me) Any text in italics indicates self-commentary. Doesn’t everyone silently talk to themselves?

The Masses – you. I am going to re-create what I imagine your response(s) will be. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Me: Hi, I’m Kim Lehnhoff. I am 64 years of age, and am married to Mister Lehnhoff. I have wrinkles, a bit of gray hair, and two 2021 model titanium/ceramic/resin hip replacements. TMI?

The Masses: Hi, Kim! Nice to meet you! I am (state your name).

Me: Oh, no! Names! I never remember names! Don’t all of you introduce yourselves now – it’s MY post, after all. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll come back and leave comments, and we’ll be besties and we can see what we have in common, and how I can convince you to see things my way. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Years ago, I blogged at The Ratio of Failures. It has been retired, and is no longer available for viewing. My lawyer advises me to say nothing further about this subject.

The Masses: What kind of content can we expect from you at Flirting with Normal?

Me: Damned if I know. I plan on writing about my life, my family, and my interests. Topics will include:

  • My hobbies (reading, writing, my mediocre crochet abilities), and annoying Mr. Lehnhoff
  • My lack of focus about all chores in the domestic/housekeeping category
  • My love of my family. I bet your family is filled with miscreants and weasels. I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about – spouse, kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.
  • Some items on my bucket list
  • Weird shit I argue about with Mr. Lehnhoff
  • Maybe we’ll discuss current events or maybe we’ll keep our pathetic opinions to ourselves, shall we?

Me: I figure we’re done here. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll all come back for all the fun! I’m sure you’ve all exited the building by now, like it’s on fire.

Me: Oh, just in case you didn’t know, I am quite fond of sarcasm and/or hyperbole. I also know next to nothing about WordPress, and would appreciate any tips you could give.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Coming Soon!

Photo by Skylar Kang on

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.

Isaac Asimov

I have had a dearth of that type of thinking lately, and my fingers turned twitchy in anticipation. I hope you’ll join me as I create/discover/rehash/whine/bitch/crow and brain dump through the keyboard. I’m so glad to be back at it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment