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Really This Post is A Cry For Help

There was a time, not long ago, when I could put my feet behind my ears and walk across the kitchen floor using nothing but the strength of my giant arse cheeks to propel me forward.

Take your time to paint that mental picture, I'll wait.

Sexy, right?

But since my back injury last year and the repair this past January, I'm about as pliable and bendy as a cement block. Even Jumby, who has spastic Cerebral Palsy and routinely imitates an unbendable wooden plank, is more flexible than I am.

My new reality is he sits and chews on his toes and I tell him to stop showing off.

Oh, how the flexible have fallen.

These days I'm lucky if I can put my own pants on, one leg at a time without toppling over like the wood pecked poplar tree out back.

Since I'm not particularly in pain any more; it only hurts when I breathe, I count myself lucky because it could be worse. At least that's what my surgeon says, and since he keeps threatening to rip out my spine and beat me with it if I feel sorry for myself, I choose to believe him.

But things aren't all rosy.

I can't cut my own toenails. When I was a child I used to sit on the couch and chew them off as my parents groaned in disgust but these days I would happily settle for making do with a pair of nail clippers. Or a hack saw if I had a steadier hand.

Instead, I'm forced to watch them grow and at night, as they scrape the sheets and take large chunks of skin off my husband's legs when he's home, I swear I hear them mocking me.

Their whispered taunts haunt me as do the yelps my husband yips out when ever I accidentally slice him with my deadly toes.

(Yes, I know, I'm killing any sex appeal one post at a time. All in the name of keeping it real.)

Heaven help me, I don't want my feet to look like this.

No one thinks about toenails when they contemplate back surgery. When you are flat on your back, counting the cobwebs, waiting for the pain meds to kick in and praying for your back to ease up on the aching, your toenails never once cross your mind.

Toenails are completely taken for granted in the grand scheme of things. That is until they start to rub holes in the tops of your shoes. And I'm here to tell you toenails are life's deadly weapons that the world needs to be more concerned about.

So last night, I had my children pull of my socks, hand me the nail clippers and watch as I attempted to contort myself into a position to reach the damn things. I briefly contemplated paying someone to make this their problem, but I'm still haunted by the memory of my last pedicure experience and quite frankly, I love humanity too much to burden them with my bare feet.

(My sympathies to all the nail technicians in the world who make their living carving off the dead skin cells off other people's feet.)

I'm sure the sounds I made as I bent and reached were not dis-similar to the sounds a dying elephant makes right before he goes to the peanut playground in the sky.

My children watched in horror as I cussed repeatedly and accidentally nipped the top of my big toe on my right foot. While they ran for tissue to staunch the blood I reassured them I was fine. "Don't worry about it! The couch is navy blue. It won't show the blood!"

"Doesn't that hurt Mom?" My daughter asked incredulously.

"Nah, it's the numb foot. I can't feel a thing. You could saw off this entire foot with a butter knife and I wouldn't notice."

It was right about then both Fric and Frac remembered they had homework to do and spent the rest of the night hiding in their bedrooms, trying to avoid the carnage.  I tried to woo them back with promises of an unending cookie supply and an eternal gas money fund but apparently, they'd rather pick up the carcasses of dead animals than help their poor crippled mother with a toenail problem.


While my foot is numb, my back certainly isn't. Pain shot up and down by spine until my eyes almost crossed, and still my toenails remained a crack addict's dream. A flexible crack addict's anyways. Hard to snort coke off of long nails if your feet can't reach your nose.

In the end, I gave up. I quit. That's right, I stand before you all and admit my defeat. I can't cut my toenails. It hurts too much.

And according to my children, there isn't enough money in the world for them to do it for me.

Which leaves me with two options, either suck it up and get a pedicure (which would also mean shaving my legs because let's face it, I would already be dealing with the judgmental silence of forcing someone to deal with my razor toes, my ego would likely shatter if they commented on my leg hair,) or walk barefoot down main street and hope a homeless person is hungry enough to want to earn money to chip off my problems.

Either way, my dignity is in tatters, my back is aching and there isn't enough nail polish in the world to make my feet look cute.

Suddenly, the inability to swiffer the floor using nothing but my bum cheeks seems insignificant.

I really miss being bendy.

Some people dream of climbing mountains or swimming across oceans. Me? I dream of having longer arms and bending far enough to trim my toes.

Grace. They say it's in the small things. I say it's in the toenails.

I wonder if my husband would still think I'm sexy if my feet looked like this?

« It's A Bird! It's A Plane! It's Jumby! | Main | Chewing Off My Gag Order »

Reader Comments (47)

"...and hope a homeless person is hungry enough to want to earn money to chip off my problems."

Thank God "to earn money" was in there.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBackpacking Dad

Feet are rather icky and toenails much worse. Sorry to hear that they are so long and nasty - rather reminds me of Hubbers' feet!

How many homeless you have to woo in before one takes you up on the offer?

oh my god, i dont know where you found the photos but *gag*

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermelanie

Oh, how I laughed and laughed at that first picture. :) Here's hoping your back heals soon.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPattie

If that isn't a no arguments excuse for weekly pedicures, I don't know what is!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

You're so right bringing sexy back one post at a time. Have you tried smearing dog food on you toes and maybe Nixon the world's best dog will take care of them.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhabanerogal

Sweet Jesus!!!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Suck it up and go get a pedicure. Nevermind the hairy legs, some guys get pedicures and its doubtful they shave their legs. Or perhaps you could hire a man servant to cut them for you? If you pay him to cut nails, you could include commenting on the goddess you are as he does it.

All else fails, scrape your feet through some peanut butter and sit outside until the raccoons finish the job.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

Roflmbo ummm Hun I don't even touch my mom's feet. I loathe cutting my own nails seriously.. Wouldn't your hubby trim them for you?? I guess not lol.. unless you remind him that you could get reckless one night roll over andaccidentally be upside down and cut his throat with your toenails. and no one would hear his screams..

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAngel

I'm not scared of ANYTHING but shopping cart heel, road rash, and toenail clippers. I will spend hours filing them to perfection to avoid ever clipping them. Just thinking about clippers is making me sweat and my stomach cramp. *shudder*
PS. How does the lady in the last photo WALK??

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I am in the middle of lying on my back waiting on the pain meds to kick in (but I'm reading blogs instead of counting cobwebs) AND I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT MY TOENAILS!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMandee

My mom has a serious back injury and the same problem as you. She also had a bad experience with a pedicure and is freaked out at the thought of another. She finally caved when I took her to my salon (love them and I can reach my toes I just choose not to).

You just need to find the right salon and you'll be all better.

Also? You're not supposed to shave before a pedicure. You can cause little microscopic abrasions that can invite infection in. So go in all your hairy leg glory and know that you're doing it for the health of everyone involved!

That's what I do!!

Also, those nails are nasty. At my son's field day a lady had fingernails like that and I nearly barfed. If I'd seen toenails like that??? BLECH!!!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteph

how did she get that toe ring on her toe in the first picture????? did she put it on way before the toenails grew?? did she have to carefully put it over that gargantuan toenail onto her toe? inquiring minds need to know these things...

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

call the hospital and ask for a RN trained in footcare :p they may do them "under the table" heheh you know where you usually put your feet?

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKyooty

You could make friends with your local pedicure lady and explain your situation to her and let her know you don't really want the whole pedicure- that you just want to come in once a month and get your nails clipped. They would probably charge you $5 instead of $50 for a pedicure. That way you won't have to beg your children or mame your husband. Just an idea. That's what I would do.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Brister

In the spirit of oversharing, I wasn't able to cut my own toenails for over a year due to pregnancy wacking out my pelvis. I know the pain. And the humiliation. Maybe you can have Alberta Health supply you with a home nurse to come in and cut those nails. Could happen.

Oh...and those pictures will haunt my dreams.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn

I just had back surgery in April (L5 and S1, fusion, rod and screws and bone grafts and another surgery soon for the L4 disc) and I know what you are going thru, numb foot and all! Luckly, my husband sucks it up and helps me cut my toenails, even tho my legs have remained unshaved since the day before surgery!

I don't feel sorry for him, either. Is that wrong? Oh well, I don't care! :o)

Sorry you aren't bendy like gumby anymore! Hope the pain goes away soon!

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobyn

Step One: Turn on the belt sander.

Step Two: Turn sander on side.

Step Three: Don protective gear

Step Four: Slowly, and I mean slowly move nails until they make contact with sander.

Step Five: You probably should not do this, but if you do use a sander with a built in dust bag for easy clean up.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mom(aka Amy)

You need to get yourself to an old lady's supply store. They totally have long handled toe nail clippers. I know cause my grandmother had them.

I never actually SAW her use them, cause EW OLD LADY TOENAILS, but I am sure they were fairly simple to use.

See, I am all about the helping and no mocking. Except in my head.

See, I'd just offer my husband a trade of extra naughty things in bed of he trimmed them for me. It's kinda win win for you and well, my husband would do it.

Years ago, I had a pretty little pink manicure set with a battery operated gizmo to tend to various beauty needs. Now, in my older and more practical years, I like useful things that can multi-task. I have a cute little Dremel that takes care of a multitude of nasty little tasks - such as cleaning bathroom tile grout, and filing my toenails. It makes short work of sanding down calluses too. Surely, somewhere in your stash of tools or craft gadgets, you have one lurking somewhere. Just stay away from the wire brush - don't ask.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I'm getting a pedicure this weekend. I havent' been able to cut my own toenails since the car accident. (Who knew using the loss of your rt arm when you're rt handed would affect your toenails?) In any case, I've had 4 years to come to terms with someone else having to do this for me. Although I must say, mine are looking like dangerous talons lately ....

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTwenty Four At Heart

My mom & my aunt go to the clinic for their toenail care day once a month. Neither of them are as flexible as they used to be either, because of old age.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarole

This reminds me of when I was a small child travelling by bus across beautiful BC with my siblings. A less than savoury character sat down next to my painfully shy intorverted 8 yr old brother and asked him for a match. Of course, he just hid his head but my uncle had the pefect retort, "yeah, your teeth and my toenails!". Sorry, that was random! Good luck with getting help.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIslandmom

Hurt back & still smart-alecky! God bless you girl! Get well soon...

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMario Braganza

These may not be the most glamorous items, but they are an alternative to pedicures. They can also be used to torment children (or husbands).

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Blagh. Go get a pedicure. I don't like them either -- it feels wierd to pay somebody to cut your toenails but guaranteed -- they've seen worse. I got one just before my first waterbirth when I couldn't reach my toes. And I'm glad I did because I spent a lot of time looking up at them. Yes, I put that mental picture out there -- YOU posted those awful long toenail pictures.

If you go to a beauty salon in Chinatown or Bonny Doon Mall you can probably get palm trees and jewels on your toenails. That would look great with your roadkill earrings. Do it.

June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

Haven't posted in a while but thought I might give some advice. The obvious one is to lean back on a comfy couch, stick one foot on a right stool (a little higher than your butt, but not much- should be comfortable) and cross the other leg over above your knee. You'll be leaning back so it shouldn't hurt your back, but toenails will still be accessable. However, if your back is bad enough that you cannot do this, especially if you have nerve-ending issues, forget about going to a salon. People with severe diabetes need to go to their doctors to have their toenails clipped. When I was a kid, we used to tease my uncle by calling him lion feet and tyrannotoes. This was before the diabetes set in. Now, he goes to his doctor regularly to have them trimmed. But yea, I share your opinion about other people cutting my toenails- they are generally careless and painful from my experience. Call up your doctor, explain the situation, and ask if s/he would be willing to help you out. Hope this helps.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBroklynite

ok those long handled clippers that Katy linked look a hellava lot scarier than getting a pedicure again. and don't worry about shaving your legs. I got one done once where I hadn't shaved in awhile and they dont even say anything. lol. Just go get a pedicure. :) And ENJOY it.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Would it be wrong to say that the idea of you rolling around on the floor like a Panda trying to cut your toenails seems strangely alluring? Could do without the photos though...just finished lunch.

Give some thought to sharpening your toenails so they can cut a man's throat. I hear they do that it prison.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris Nelson

As a person in the same boat as you, I have found the only way I can do my toenails is, while standing, put my foot on the tallest chair I can, and bend the short distance to my toe and clip the nails as fast as I can before the back gives out, then I come back later and throw on a quick coat of polish, clear polish w/ a lil sparkle. That's as good as it gets. Good luck to you.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermissy

Please, pedicure or force the children to help. I hate pedicures but I believe I would have to break down in this situation.

Sheets are expensive.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkaren

I just did two little mouth vomits looking at those photos. Hideous. Sorry Tanis - urgent measures are required. P.E.D.I.C.U.R.E.

We'll all kick in.

June 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBush Babe

I just take my grandma every couple of months or so to see the foot dr so he can cut them cuz-EWW. I love her but there are still some things I just can NOT do! LOL! Good luck! (((HUGS)))

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCollette Palmer

I think you shoud make Boo do it.

After my husbands back surgery, I cut his toenails. Eeww.

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatootes

Okay, you're getting a pedicure for your next birthday.

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMom101

Where do you get pictures like these????!!!

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKim

i used to have to cut my grandmother's toenails. too awful for words! so i feel your pain. really, try to find a good salon - pedicures can be fabulous. (and i'm very ticklish - nearly kicked the first girl in the head.)

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEricka

Dude I would suck it up, take a couple of pain killers to mellow you out first and then head to the beautician and get the whole lot done at once. Pedicure, waxing the works. You'd only need to go every couple of months! I did that after some nasty abdominal surgery and I couldn't reach my feet. I hate pedicures too but the pain killers I took incidently before I left really helped matters heh

June 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

Twoi wordsz:

Stationary beltsander

ZOk, maybe that is three but woodowrkers use beltsander as one like mutherf87er.

You get the idea.

I am sure that hubby has one, and maybe he has a metal one instead, even better.

Just fire that sucker up, and GENTLY and I do mean gently, slide your foot one toe at a time into the dentifrice gnawing device. The small toe might get bloody a bit, so keep a roaring flame handy to singe the capillaries off.

Do once every 3 weeks.

I have had two back surgeries, L4-5 twice. I know the feeling, and so has my wife, hers L4-5 and then L3-4. So we each do the others, cause nothing says I love you than a good toe job.

That and a hummer.

Or so i hear.


June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLarryLilly

Dear Tanis, I tried to send you a hug on your next post, where you and Jumby fly ... here's a hug from Ontario. K xo

PS: my mom has the same back problem. She has a slipped disc and the docs want her to have surgery but so far she is resisting with physio and bunches of Celebrex. Hang in there.

June 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarissa

I would do the pedicure. Take a pain med, plug in your music, relax, and envision yourself elsewhere. Then... because if it's really as bad as you think it is... give them a little extra in the tip department. They will be sure to remember you, and it won't be for the "eww" factor... it'll be that you appreciated their services.

June 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

My dad goes to his regular MD's office to get his toenails trimmed about every month. Granted, it's a nurse that does the work, but still... And just be glad yours grow in a relatively normal fashion, I once had a friend who had to have his toenails surgically removed, permanently.

As a side note, I've been wondering for a while, what post I would finally be brave enough to comment on... I think this proves I'm at least as weird as I thought I was. ;-)

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen in KS

Why oh why dies that person in the first photos have a toe ring on?

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

Good lord, you gotta put up a warning before you post pictures like those!

June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDaddy Geek Boy

honestly, get a pedicure!! for all of us whose husbands are laid off and cannot afford our own! do it in the name of sisterhood and all that is holy!! :)

June 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterheather

"I wonder if my husband would still think I’m sexy if my feet looked like this?"

Nope, pretty sure he wouldn't.

June 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGunfighter

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