It all happened so fast.
One moment I was my regular self, basically easy-going but cyclically emo and tense. It was knowable – annoyingly predictable. The next thing I knew, I had to make pickles. Garlic dill pickles, with all the cucumbers I harvested from a few days ago, using a recipe that would require SAT level math skills, and they had to be created that minute. One more moment and all the cukes would simultaneously turn to slimy mush and all would be irreparably lost.
Welcome to menopause. Apparently, it’s all about pickles.
Sterilizing the jars and following the steps involved in canning (something I’d never done until this week) was as suddenly impossible and unreachably insurmountable as the project was necessary. I needed help.
I yelled for Tom. He had all manner of Important Chores and Tasks to accomplish but I insisted that he drop everything to assist in the pickle project. I was great company: irritable, sarcastic and touchy. The answer to every reasonable question he asked me was an exasperated “I don’t know.” Let’s face it – I didn’t even know why I had to make pickles at that precise moment. He jettisoned his evening’s plans. He dropped everything. He helped. He cracked stupid jokes. He ignored my evil side eye. He ignored the heavy sighs and gritted teeth. He just sterilized jars and kept up a running commentary.
I had to make the brine. I did a test run last week (refrigerator pickles, not canned), and the brine was way too salty. Ok, cut the salt in half, no problem, right? But I quadrupled the recipe. So that means to cut the salt in half, you have to double it… right? Yeah… but my brain exploded because… did I quadruple the recipe? How many cups of water did I just put in? Wait, did I add the vinegar once or twice? Menopause is well known to cause forgetfulness and issues with concentration and focus but like holy shit: I JUST DID THAT 5 SECONDS AGO AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DID.
The pickles are seasoned with garlic, dill flowers, hot red pepper, whole allspice and mixed peppercorns, in a vinegar and salt brine. How bad could they be? The cucumbers are organic, grown in the greenhouse where I earn my keep. Rationally I can rest assured that they will be fine. But rationality, rather like my periods, seems to be a thing of the past.
Buckle up, I’m telling myself. This is going to last as long as it lasts and be about as much fun as a roller coaster ride: as much fun as I choose to make it. I can white knuckle it through and be pissed I bought the ticket, or pray, sit in the front row, and throw my hands up in the air. Either way we’re riding it out. Self-awareness, a sense of humor, and a barf bag are probably the tools I need to make it through.
Pickles. Apparently that’s what menopause it all about.