The good news is my legs are
no longer pasty white. The bad news is pink is painful.
I made a strategic error
yesterday. Me, who routinely tells my children to use sunscreen, forgot to take
her own advice.
I view my painful, bright red striped legs, and think, “Angie,
Yesterday Keith and I took
our first beach trip of the 2012 summer season. The beach was calling his name
and he was eager to answer its call.
He gives me the stink-eye when
I stop to chop celery. I’m still trying to lose weight and know that sunbathing
is strenuous work and I will probably work up an appetite so wanted to bring
food that won’t sabotage my diet.
He can’t understand why it
takes females so long to get ready. He grabs his swim trunks and towel and is
good to go. He wisely bites his tongue and putters in the garage while I get
Even after losing weight this
year, I dread being seen in a swimsuit. My twenty-year-old swimsuit died two
years ago and hasn’t been replaced. It’s painful to see my lumpy reflection in the
mirror and I hesitate to inflict this seen-better-days body on people who go to
the beach to relax, not be scared.
I borrow Erica’s swimsuit. A
ten minute search finally locates my black swimshorts in Christina’s laundry
basket, wet from yesterday’s canoe trip. Drying the shorts takes another ten
At last we are on the way. I hesitate
to ask, hoping Keith has a few more molecules of patience. “Can we stop at
“Well, it is lunchtime.”
“Fine.” (Insert irritated,
impatient martyr’s voice.)
Erica and I split a footlong Weight-Watcher
approved Turkey Breast sandwich on 9-grain Wheat bread. Forty minutes later we’re
at the beach. There are closer beaches but Cornucopia is by far Keith’s
To save time I apply 50
SPF sunscreen in the car. I thoroughly cover the front and sides of my aging
body, intending to do the back when I get out of the car.
Our corner of Lake Superior has not fully recovered from recent storms and
flooding. Small choppy waves slap the shore and leave an unattractive two-foot band
of floating debris. First-time visitors to Lake Superior might assume the lake is always brown and cloudy and
full of debris. They won’t know the lake is normally clear and beautiful.
It’s a little windy. We choose
a spot and settle in. I sit in my chair covered with a big beach towel. Keith
doesn’t care that it’s cold. He’s determined that no matter what, it’s summer
and he’s going in the water.
I can’t get warm. Rather than
a swimsuit, I should have worn sweatclothes. I spread my towel and am happy to
find that it is much nicer down on the sand out of the wind.
Sadly, I forget to put sunscreen on my back side. So while I’m contentedly enjoying the warm sand, reading Coop by
Michael Perry, the sun broils my hinter regions.
Thankfully we don’t stay long.
Keith doesn’t want to press his winter-white body’s luck during his first
summer beach excursion. We leave relaxed and refreshed after an hour of beach
Three hours later Keith
says that I’m sunburned. I don’t feel sunburned so shrug off his comment. While
grocery-shopping, I notice that my legs are sore but I’m on a mission so don’t give
it much thought.
Back home, I finally pay attention
and am horrified to see a bright pink uneven stripe down the back of my legs. I wonder if it’s a bug bite and maybe a
life-threatening infection is running down my leg, until I notice the stripe
stops at the swimshort line.
I am dumbfounded to be
sunburned. Me, the sensible, cautious, careful one, who always slathers
sunscreen on anyone who will let me, has done the unthinkable. I have the
world’s wonkiest sunburn. I can’t figure out why I have a pink skunk stripe.
Then I remember putting
sunscreen on in the car. Which means the front and sides got covered, but not
the back. I must not apply sunscreen evenly because the sides are jagged and
uneven. There’s also a few white spots in a sea of pink. The good news is SPF
45 works. The bad news is it only works where it is applied.
The pain increases throughout
the evening. I didn’t know ankles could get sunburned. Keith applies lotion and
says that it has little particles. I’m still reading Coop and not paying
attention until I accidentally touch the lotion which feels
suspiciously like face scrub. Keith looks at the bottle again and sees that
it’s labeled “Body Cleanser.”
The poor man has no way of
knowing how to decipher female lotion and potion lingo. My legs start to burn,
only this time from the cleanser. I quickly shower and return for round 2.
He balks when I suggest Bag
Balm. Bag Balm is used on cow’s udders but also works great for diaper rashes
and dry hands. He generously slathers my hind quarters and I sigh in relief. I
can only lie on my front or side but it feels better. Keith complains that I
My back side is very soft
today. The sunburn is less painful. I move slowly and wear loose clothing. Hopefully
Bag Balm washes out of our sheets. I
will never go to the beach without using sunscreen again.
If you see me moving slowly
and notice that parts of my body are pink and I smell like a cow, you’ll know
P.S. Keith - When a woman’s
in pain, she shouldn't have to worry about her husband having fun at her
expense. You’d better sleep lightly if you don’t delete the I-phone picture of
my burned Bag-Balmed backside you took last night.